Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hell Yeah...superheroes and the world of super-tomorrow

I've been fooling around on the Mike Allred message board for a few years now. Through it I've had the fortunate of meeting some incredible comic folks, taken part in some shameful internet debates, and helped deliver the virtual baby of an Australian author of one hundred one-page stories. (the baby thing isn't true but the rest is, unfortunately) It was one of those incredible comic folks who contributed to a certain eye-catching comic released this last week.

Teaming up with wonder-scribe Joe Keatinge, Andre Szymanowicz provided the nifty artwork for a new kind of superhero series, Hell Yeah. The title has the same attention-grabbing quality as the hit book Kick Ass (a hit in sales but certainly not in quality content, says only me apparently), but unlike Millar and Romita's bloody work it isn't a book about mega-violence and intense adult content. Hell Yeah features superheroes, yes, but these aren't your average vigilantes who adventure night after night to save mankind or to fuck shit up. Taking over the world in a manner similar to the Canamits from the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man," the heroes, who first came on the scene to save a seemingly ordinary soldier during the Gulf War, have made it possible for everyone to prosper and have neat powers. The whole world over has apparently become super in only twenty years time. Of course by the book's end the reader realizes that as nice as this might seem there is of course something very wrong.

This book would appeal to fans of stories which deal with hero-worlds where everyone has some incredible ability but something is horribly wrong in the higher echelons of society. It's not a new idea, but the story has potential to go off in one of a number of surprising directions. At this time, with only one issue available, it is of course too soon to tell. I'll definitely be picking up issue two.

The artwork is highly stylized, which is something I love to see in any comic. The medium needs more artists like Andre who embrace the story and deliver it to the reader through THEIR pencil, pen, and/or brush. There's no phoning it in or attempting to borrow the look of some other comic book artist. Mr. Szymanowicz holds up his end wonderfully from the first page to the last. The only issue I have is with whoever set the artwork for print. There are pages where you can see pixels on the edges of Andre's line work. Sloppy job, Image editors!

I'll admit that the story is not my cup of tea, but I believe that there is a huge audience for this kind of book. They need to know about it, and they need to support it. Hell, there's even a page featuring Jonathan Ross! Out of five I'm giving this book a four. Good job, Mssrs. Keatinge and Szymanowicz.

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