Super F*ckers #1

By James Kochalka
32 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

James Kochalka is one of the modern kings of alternative comics; his books range from autobiographical (American Elf), to nature versus technology parables (Monkey vs Robot), to children’s stories (Pinky & Stinky), and anything else Kochalka can dream up. Now he’s tackling super-hero comics… and trust me, they’ve never looked quite like Super F*ckers.

Tomorrow is the latest Team Try-Out Day, and all sorts of new super-heroes are lining up and getting ready to show their stuff. What better way to get rid of some the potential competition, though, than to have a big ol’ fight with all the other applicants? The fights are already going on inside the clubhouse, though; this team of heroes seem more interested in their internal fights than ones that may happen against bad guys!

Super F*ckers is for all intents and purposes Kochalka’s take on books like Legion of Super-Heroes, with groups of teenaged super-heroes that have formed teams to fight evil. What’s so great about Super F*ckers, though, is that Kochalka’s characters act like real teenagers. They fight, they bicker, they light up, wonder who likes whom, and then they fight some more… all without having to leave the clubhouse! To be fair, though, there’s more than just that as an attraction to Super F*ckers. Kochalka’s created some really clever character concepts (amidst a host of Legion knock-offs), like Vortex who has an earlier version of himself in a time pocket contained in a bottle, or the girl who has to brush her hair 1000 times to charge up her energies. Kochalka tosses out ideas left and right with impunity, almost disorienting the reader with the assault of silly, crazy things on every single page.

Kochalka’s art is, ultimately, Kochalka’s art. If you’ve read his books before you’ll have a pretty good idea already if you enjoy what he does. It’s a simple, stripped down style, with little more than outlines for things like hair and limbs. It works, though; reading Super F*ckers, the simple art acts as a direct contrast to what’s going on in the story. If someone like Jim Lee or Bryan Hitch was drawing the book, the words and actions of these characters probably wouldn’t have nearly the same effect because you might expect something harsh or gritty. Instead we’ve got some adorably sweet art with eye-popping colors coupled with one of the heroes admitting that he’s used his computer-driven gauntlets to pleasure himself. Like any good cook will tell you, there’s something about combining sweet and sour tastes that just gives the resulting concoction a real punch.

I’ll admit it—Super F*ckers isn’t a book I’d want to read every month. As a several times a year journey into insanity, though? Yeah, I’m definitely up for that. This is one of Kochalka’s crazier books, and it makes me laugh… a lot. Those who prefer their memories of earlier, simpler times untarnished might want to steer clear. Those who like Kochalka when he’s mixing up crudity and humor, though, will definitely want to check this out. It’s so wrong that it’s right.

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