Hero Town #1A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
Costumes! Color! Powers! Nazis! Dinosaurs! More costumes! Homeless! Hitler!
Heroes? Towns? I'm not sure they were in this. I saw a lot of bustling, brightly colored superhero types, but the story never really delved into any of the numerous Marvel and DC knockoffs that flooded into scenes as quickly as they washed away. This comic was a stuttering mess of mesomorphic clowns and robots that were near perfect visual replicas of ED-209 from RoboCop... except piss yellow.
Chris Perguidi contacted me to review his comic and I happily accepted the responsibility of helping promote work where worked needs promoted most. When Mr. Perguidi sent me a review copy of his book he mentioned some grammar errors on the bio page, and right there I should have known what I was getting into. I'm not at all about holding small oversights against an indie studio's work, but Hero Town's transgressions went beyond the ambitious, off-putting bio page where the creative team uses words like "genius," "pimp" and "king" to introduce themselves to the world. I'd be hardpressed to find a more unprepared comic for publication.
The story begins with a clusterfuck of superhero types battling around a homeless man who narrates the situation. Without much grounding in the current world we're launched into a flashback in 1940s Germany, where we're told that the rise of the superhuman is intimately intertwined with World War II. In this world, Adolf Hitler created the ultimate being, an Aryan of mass destruction, and the Allies responded with a series of supers of their own. For a couple beats I was with the story, but it suffers from being a comic about two of the most worn subject materials in the medium, and possibly fiction -- superheroes and Nazis. It adds nothing to the long traditional mix of the two that Captain America mythology hasn't already touched on in some capacity. Sorry if that's off-putting to anyone but it's true -- superheroes and Nazis have been beaten to death by writers in this industry. One is sickeningly real, one ridiculously fake, but as an incoming creator you should stay away from them unless you have a uniquely great story to tell.
I still don't know what to do about this comic. It's so over the top that it's starts to border parody, but then tries to achieve some type of dramatic narrative at the end. There are some moments and lines that deserve a nod, but that's all they are, a fluttering idea or piece of dialogue surrounded by chaos. None of the numerous characters really raise interest, and the art is a hard swallow. Allan Angel shows a glimmer of talent, and is a very hard worker with the complexity and intricacy of his panels, but the anatomy is grotesquely poor. I can't say that Angel is without skill, but fundamentals are lacking here and it shows on nearly every page. It honestly looks like two artists worked on the book as some of it is clean and inventive while other parts look severely underdeveloped. One sequence features Hitler among many mustached German scientists and it appears Adolf's facial hair grows as the scene does. Another downside of the issue: it had me feeling bad for Nazis.
Allan Angel gets no help from the coloring job, which turns the comic into something like a kid's coloring book. Perguidi World Wide went for powerful, solid tones. Over and over. While it fits the subject, it looks slipshod and overstated. Somehow they managed to make a chrome colored costume. Yep, it looks as bad as you'd expect.
The frosting on the cake is that the cover says "Htown," not "Hero Town," which is the title. As sleek as the logo looks, it’s deceptive as there is no mention of any type of town in the text.
Despite all this, I still might have suggested to give the book a try just because it's indie and well, it's hard to be a dick when someone approaches you personally to review their comic. However, the bio page, paired with one of the post-story pages which hyped Integrity Comics and revealed a clothing and toy line, grated me in ways that I could only communicate in a personal, informal setting. Confidence in yourself and your creations is essential to making it in the world, but making boastful claims, acting as if you have a surging fanbase and trying to sling merch while somehow repeatedly screwing up capitalization of your own names is putting the cart miles ahead of the horse. Story comes first. There's a reason Grant Morrison can act like a rock star and Alan Moore gets away with being a grump.
On the whole, the comic cannot warrant me giving it high marks on any level. The story is lacking any original appeal aside from a record for the most nonsensical grouping of brightly colored characters in thirty-odd pages. Future and current creators: please don't read this review and be hesitant to send me a copy of your comic. I love reading independent stuff and letting the world know if it's good or not. But before you send that baby out, make sure it's exactly how you want it to look. Make sure it says what you want it say. Make sure it doesn't suck. And please spell there/their/they're correct in the actual text of your comic.
Still interested? You can pick up Hero Town at Drive Thru Comics.
Jamil Scalese is just like you -- an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.