[an error occurred while processing this directive] Celebrating Five Years of Pushing Comix Forward [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] Superf*ckers #1
Written and Drawn by James Kochalka
Published by Top Shelf Productions, $7.00 USD

Describing Superf*ckers is simple, it’s the story of a team of rude, crass super-powered kids. It’s Teen Titans, or better yet, The Legion of Super-Heroes on crack, really. It turns out that some of them like to go the Major League Baseball route and take an enhancement drug (humourously named Xaxxax) to make them super. The team is holding tryouts Wednesday, but today is Tuesday, so when kids begin lining up outside to be first, well, fights break out left and right.

It’s obvious from the get go that Kochalka is all-too-familiar with modern superhero comics; on the very first page, where the copyright indicia is, in lieu of Superf*ckers #1 it says Superf*ckers #271. I’m not sure if that’s meant to show that the team has a history, or if Kolchalka is hoping that he’ll be having a bit of fun with some fanboys in the far distant future trying to track down the very first issue, but it doesn’t matter, because it works quite well in both situations.

The book has trace elements of some modern superhero books that have tackled “mature” themes (read: juvenile, vulgar, and ironic ), most notably the Milligan/Allred X-Statix book from Marvel. But, where Milligan and Allred were bound by Marvel’s self-imposed censorship, Kochalka is free to pretty much do as he pleases, and the results are marvelous, pardon the pun.

He has assembled an astonishingly different cast of characters to flesh out his story. Though they’re all on the “juvenile” side when it comes to their humour, each one feels like their own person, which is astounding in and of itself, given the endless parade of clones dominating mainstream superhero books. However, one character seems so far from juvenile that it makes the actions of Kochalka’s super heroes even funnier by comparison, and vice versa. We’re never given a name, but he’s a Gollum-like creature that lurks outside the team’s clubhouse, and he’s hopelessly in love with one of the girls of the group. His almost-Shakespearean dialogue makes for a welcome and hysterical change of pace from the consistently potty-mouthed Superf*ckers. Along with his faithful companion, Tumor (who can only ever seem to say “Gronk”), he plots ways to show his love. The irony being that he is essentially the villain of the piece, if for no other reason than he is the direct opposite of the heroes. If the heroes are foul-mouthed children who fight incessantly among each other, do drugs (the drugs being the droppings of teammate Grotus…) and essentially don’t do anything remotely wholesome, then by contrast the villain would be a noble pure-hearted person doing the right thing, perhaps just the wrong way. The perfect example being his decision to write his beloved a love letter; he has a sharpened stick with which to write, but no ink, so he jabs the stick into his companion, drawing blood to use for ink. It’s charmingly evil and heart-warming all at the same time.

While I did find Kochalka’s pseudo-villain to be the most interesting character, the team members are not without their charms…sort of. Actually, their lack of anything remotely resembling charm is the most lovable thing about them. At first glance one might see them as a send up of superhero books, but once you get into the book it doesn’t feel like that at all. He never makes fun of the superpowers, per se; instead he seems to be genuinely having fun with these characters through the personalities he’s given them. In fact, some of the powers given to the characters are as original as anything you’ll ever find, specifically Vortex, who has captured a moment from his past in a bottle, which could spell the end of mankind if it breaks.

The front and back inside covers are peppered with various bits of humour as well. We're introduced to the teams leader, SuperDan, who along with fellow member Percy is trapped in Dimension Zero, patiently waiting for his cohorts to rescue him. And the "Orange lightning-Superfucker of the Month" gag is sure to bring a chuckle or two from those who can appreciate a more low-brow sense of humour. And I must admit, Jack Krak's summation of the next issue had me laughing hysterically.

The art here is as fantastic as the writing, and made infinitely more enjoyable and attractive by the vivid colouring and Kochalka’s child-like lettering, which is always endearing. His simple style adds to the comedy he is trying to achieve, seeing such youthful character acting so rude and vulgar towards each other, it just plays wonderfully against the stereotypes we like to imbibe on our super heroes.

The fact that he has created a book chock full of characters you should rightly hate, but can’t help but cheer on is a testament to his story-telling abilities. Superf*ckers looks to be one of the better capes books hitting stands for the near future, certainly more enjoyable than anything that’s coming out of the Big Two at the moment. It’s the perfect marriage of cute and disgusting, and should be on the reading list of anyone looking for a more…mature comic to engross themselves in. 5/5

-- Logan Polk


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