Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Comic Book Focus: Superstar: As Seen on TV

Writer:  Kurt Busiek
Penciller:  Stuart Immonen
Inker:  Wade Von Grawbadger

For a short time, some writers and artists banded together to create the Gorilla Comics line.  Among the creators were Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, Kurt Busiek, Stuart Immomen, Karl Kessel, and others.  I really liked what they produced.  Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, it did not last.  One of the titles that I missed was Superstar:  As Seen on TV by Busiek and Immomen.  Their Shockrockets was a great title that I enjoyed. 

Superstar is the story of a hero whose powers increase with his popularity.  Even though he does not necessarily want to be in the limelight, he has to put in public appearances, etc. to keep his power supply replenished.  This one shot establishes the character, his supporting cast, the rogues gallery, and his world.  It may be a one shot, but you come away feeling like you have read this character for a long time.  Busiek is a master at characterization.  Although Superstar takes place in a bitter hypocritical world, Busiek brings out the core concepts of the classic super hero.  The best comparison I can give is a Peter Parker/Spider-Man type character in the original Booster Gold series.  Most of the characters are self-centered and are looking to make a fortune but the main character has a passion for doing the right thing and helping others that is refreshing to read about.  I would love to see this character be brought back for a regular series.  Of course he defeats the villain at the end but suffers many personal defeats once the battle is over.  The last two pages could have shown a depressed victimized hero but Busiek took it a different direction and shows that no matter what the circumstances are, a hero can keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

The storytelling methods he employs are similar to his Astro City title.  The main difference is he shows a little more of the hero/villain battles.

Stuart Immomen and Wade Grawbarger turn in some great art.  It is a perfect combination of realistic and classic super hero art.  It is the same style they used in the Shockrockets book.

My only complaint about the title was that we only every saw one issue.  I hope that someday the creators will return to follow the further adventures of Superstar.

Highly recommended.

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