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Introduction by Alan David Doane
When AdHouse Books announced Project Superior, I was a bit apprehensive. An anthology of superhero stories from some of the biggest names in alternative comics? It could be great, but so often anthologies are a disappointing mix of tossed-off throwaways from big names and less-than-great material from unknown creators. Additionally, the older I get, the less interested I am in stories about people from other worlds or people altered by radiation, and as God is my witness, if I never see another comic about spandex-fetishists who can shoot rays from their hands/eyes/asses, it will be too soon. Enough, people! When it comes to superhero comics, really, if I'm gonna look, you gotta show me something new.
I don't know if Project Superior quite goes that far, but with an intimidating A-List roster that includes proven artcomix talent like Jeffrey Brown, Martin Cendreda, Tony Consiglio, Farel Dalrymple, Mike Dawson, Paul Hornschemeier, Jasen Lex, Jim Mahfood, Brian Maruca, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Jim Rugg, Rob Ullman and Brian Wood, it's no surprise that I found myself excited about the possibilities; for the most part, the book pays off.
Superior is a large, beautifully produced volume filled with many different takes on the tropes and traditions of superhero comics. Martin Cendreda's superteam piece sets the tone for the book with its seriocomic look at the politics of the group dynamic, while Jeffrey Brown's absurdist take creates a wild world all its own. Street Angel creators Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca's Afrodisiac story is perhaps the highlight of an already-excellent volume, a note-perfect homage to 1970s Marvel that once again proves that Rugg and Maruca can really pull off anything they set their minds to, something that readers of Street Angel are already well aware of. Jasen Lex's Amphibian shows Lex refining the unique and compelling photo-and-art style he used in Gypsy Lounge: Lunchtime Variety Criminals (one of the best superhero graphic novels of the past decade) to good, psychedelic use. These are just some of the many highlights in the book; honestly, there is such variety, that the old cliche about there being "something for everybody" might, in this case, actually be true.
There is so much in this volume, in fact, that we've decided that no one review could do it justice. Comic Book Galaxy's PROJECT SUPERIOR Project features a team of reviewers each weighing in on the work. I hope you'll enjoy reading the thoughts of each of our reviewers, and be sure to check out other reviews and resources on our final page.