The Adventures of a Superhero Girl is “a funny, human look at how we deal with the craziness of life and dreams and struggle, all dressed up in a cape and a mask and the joy of leaping over tall buildings and biffing some monster clear over the horizon,” wrote Kurt Busiek in his introduction to Faith Erin Hicks’ quirky, satirical genre-bending graphic novel. And Superhero Girl is all that, although she doesn’t have a tragic origin story, or a regular archnemisis in which to engage a heated battle. What Superhero Girl is is a normal, everyday, girl next door who happens to be strong as heck—she does laundry at her local laundromat, checks out books at her local library, talks to mom about mundane issues, has an inferiority complex when it comes to her brother, struggles to form her own identity in the bigger world. Besides fighting space monsters, kicking ninja butt. And guiding old ladies across the street. And rescuing cats stuck in trees. And trying to fit in to parties where all she wants to do is punch the next guy that stands before her. Totally normal. And she gets critiques about her normality by Joe Blow citizens, much to her annoyance and chagrin (got that, Trump? She takes it like a man…sort of).
The Adventures of a Superhero Girl is offbeat, playing off the superhero trope like mustard off the hot dog. At the same time, this graphic novel has all the classic hallmarks of a work by Hicks—sweet and charming, appealing in the way she captures the thoughts and worries and dreams of adolescents—but also quietly effective in its subtle observations on society as a whole. Whether she means to or not, Hicks makes a statement on how our consumption with occupation and stereotypes leaves us unable to appreciate or see the bigger picture. Besides, the subject matter that Hicks’ tackles makes this graphic novel just as relevant and appealing to adults as it is for older teen audiences.
The Adventures of a Superhero Girl, Dark Horse Comics, $16.99 hardcover, 9781616550844, http://amzn.to/2mVrISd