Monday, November 16, 2009

Pulps vs Supers and Why Atomic Robo is the best comic in print.

Yes I was among the people who tweeted about Robo which lead to this article. But I'm not really talking about the article itself but one of the comments to it:

Dolphinandrew wrote:

Sounds good. But I don't really see how it doesn't fit the description "superhero comic".It sounds very superhero-y.

And based on the description given in the article I can understand his confusion, which brings to mind the fine distinction between pulp fiction and superhero fiction. Superhero stories, in broad terms, are about costumed, superpowered, individuals fighting crime incognito, while pulp is more broad including S&S fantasy, lovecraftian horror, noir detective, and over the top two fisted action. Sure, Robo is more resilient than the average human, but Indiana Jones got dragged behind a truck for a mile without so much as a bruise, and he can heft a Buick, but the stories in Atomic Robo aren't about his powers it's about crazy awesome adventures and larger than life situations.

While I'm on the subject I may as well review the first two volumes of the series. I could talk about clever dialogue, endearing and interesting characters, great layout,and art that reminds me of the best of Mike Mignola and Genndy Tartakovsky, but anyone who knows me knows when I recommend something I do so by listing all the Awesome shit that happens in it so lets roll with that.

Volume 1:

* Robo blows up an immortal Nazi occultist while dragging a squad Nazi infantry
* Hurling Buicks at giant ants
* Steam-powered pyramid with a solar powered death ray, staffed by mummies.
* Robo, stuck on mars for a year without anything to do for year spends his time using rocks to spell out "Stephen Hawking is a bastard" so large its visible from orbit
* Nazi cyborgs, lead by a cackling mad scientist
* Edison summons the ghost of Rasputin to discredit Tesla

Volume 2 (set mostly during WWII):

* Dieslepunk mecha
* Slavering, mad, genetically engineered super soldiers
* Train-top fight
* Incomprehensible Scottish commando kicking 17 kinds of ass while dragging a disassembled robo
* A freaking weather cannon
* Giant enemy crab
* 60 ft tall robot created by north koreans invading Seoul

Yeah, the comic runs on mad science and coolnees cranked to 11, and I can't wait for volume 3.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tvtropes has ruined my life I waste altogether too much on that site. when i could be wasting my time watching cartoons or something. Also most of the tropes have crept into my regular vocabulary, making it awkward for anyone not familiar with the lingo.