Hero Hourly, a miniseries that begins tomorrow through James Patrick’s 21 Pulp publishing company, has garnered some buzz of late. The new company claims that their books are “comics for a new century.” Hero Hourly sees a world where one can monopolize what it means to be a superhero, turning it into a menial minimum wage job that requires its employees to take a serum that gives one super powers long enough to combat crime from 9-5. But as far as this first issue is concerned, that trivialization of the superhero genre is its only creative bone, it seems.
The book does touch upon some serious economic issues many face today. A good education, excellent grades, and fare skin don’t exactly ensure that your life is paved for you in this day and age, as it is so easy to believe. Our protagonist, Saul, finds this out the hard way, after leaving college with a smug smile on his face. He doesn’t get the job he thought he’d so rightly nailed. In the end he finds his way to Hero Hourly, a crap job with even worse benefits.
Despite the comically sardonic tone Patrick employs, the writing’s ability to capture you any further falls entirely flat. The dialogue is, across the board, extremely crass. Crass to the point of offense. More often than not, f-bombs make up a significant percentage of the word count per page. It becomes unrealistic to the point where I’m almost entirely removed from the narrative. It seems, at times, these moments are substituted in for jokes that wouldn’t have enough oomph or brazenness to be funny – but these substitutes only make for humorless, shallow moments.
The book also has a handful of typos and missing words, beginning (sadly) as early as the second panel. This could have been easily fixed had an editor gave it a pass over.
The artwork is well done, in most cases, most especially in the anatomy of its characters. In respects its cartoon appearance, the characters all look and hold themselves realistically. The juxtaposition of the noble hero of the guidebook with those of the hourly wage is pretty great. Sometimes, explosions in the background look awfully sludge-like which was odd. Altogether consistently good work on the artist’s behalf.
But Saul never felt like someone I’d actively enjoy reading about, either in his smug youthful arrogance, or as a loser who slaves to save others. If Hero Hourly is the face of comics for a new century, I don’t think I’m sold on the future of the industry. Hopefully the actual story progresses as the miniseries continues.
This advanced review of Hero Hourly #1 is courtesy of James Patrick and 21 Pulp.