Friday, June 03, 2005

Holy F*ck! Super F*ckers came out!

James Kochalka's Super F*ckers came out this week, and based on all the good buzz it's been getting, I bought it. I was only 7 dollars, and I figured "I owe it to my blog-reading public to pick this book up and expound on its virtues so that they (my blog-reading public, that is) can know if they need to run out and buy it!" That is what I figured.

Well, save your money. Super F*ckers is not good. I have learned my lesson with Owly, since I have spoken to others and apparently I'm part of the 1% of the comics-reading public who doesn't love it, so if you bought Super F*ckers, I'm not going to say it sucks and make you feel bad. But I am going to explain why it's not good in the context of asking if anyone likes it and why.

It seems to me, as a person who reads a lot and writes quite a bit (okay, I've only been published once, in a teeny-tiny magazine in Erie, PA, but I still write a lot) that there are two things that make a story worth reading. Stories can have both elements or only one, but they have to have one, or what's the point? Those two things are:

A story needs to entertain, or it needs to make a point. The reason I don't like Super F*ckers is because it does neither. I would like to know what the point of it is. I suppose if a story has neither, it really ought to be jaw-droppingly funny, and maybe that's what Kochalka is going for here, but it's just not funny. Here's an example of what I suppose passes for humor in this book: "..." You know, I don't want to give any examples of what passes for humor in this book, because it's just ... blech. I guess the closest parallel to this book would be the movie Clerks, but that was jaw-droppingly funny, and it had, you know, a little bit of a story arc. I'm just really wondering what the point of this book is.

Okay, it doesn't tell a story. Or if it does, it's a stupid story. A bunch of foul-mouthed whiny superheroes are hanging out insulting each other, getting high, trying to get in each other's pants, and holding try-outs for a bunch of loser superheroes, all of whom are, well, useless. If it's trying to make a point, what is it? That superheroes are stupid? Great, join the club. I know superheroes are stupid, but guess what? I LOVE THEM! If you hate superheroes, don't write about them. Maybe other point is that superheroes are assholes. Who cares? Do I need to read about that? I didn't like Planet of the Capes for the same reason - I didn't think the point needed to be made. At least that book had a story - I didn't like the story, but still.

I simply don't understand the buzz over this book. Maybe the people hadn't read it yet. I don't know. I really, really hope it's not simply the fact that it is an independent book, because that would be a shame. Indy books can be lousy just like mainstream books. I hope it's not because people can say, "Hey! I can read an indy book that makes fun of superheroes, so that makes me cool!" I don't know. I really want someone to explain to me what I'm missing with this book. I'm totally serious. I want a reasonable defense of this book, because I'm baffled. Please help me!


Blogger Christopher Burton said...

Indy books can be lousy just like mainstream books.

I'd go so far as to say that there is a greater proportion of Indie books that suck than there are mainstream books that suck. Don't get me wrong. I don't differentiate between the two by claiming one is better than the other. A good book is a good and a lousy book is a lousy book regardless of the publisher. I think there are more sucky Indie books because Indie publishing is largely the minor leagues of comic publishing. Boot camp. A training ground for creators who are developing their skills. And that's not bad. I'm glad we have it. The cream always rises to the top.

There are some mainstream comic creators that should probably go back to the bush leagues. They are soulless hacks at best. They got their gig because of who they know. They produce a lot of sucky comics. In general, I'm looking at you, Marvel, although you're not getting off scott free, DC. Heh. Scott Free.

I can't comment on Super F*ckers because I haven't read it.

6/04/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Yeah, I agree with that, it just seems like occasionally, people like something just because it's indy - and that phenomenon is NOT limited to comics. Call something lousy if it's lousy, not because "the man" produced it.

Since I wrote this, I've read a few more good reviews of Super F*ckers. Please help!

6/04/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger layne said...

I flipped through it and wasn't impressed. I don't understand the buzz around Kolchaka.

6/04/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Puffy Treat said...

I loved Owly, but I hate this Kolchaka project.'s not if a book's Indy that determines whether or not I like it. I like Owly because I feel it has an uplifting message and art that evokes classic picture books.

I don't like this Kolchaka thing because I get enough cynical, ugly, pointless super-hero-suck snark from Marvel and DC.

6/04/2005 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chad said...

Your review makes it sound like Millar's Authority without the pretense of plot. I think I can safely skip this.

6/05/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I'd go so far as to say that there is a greater proportion of Indie books that suck than there are mainstream books that suck.

I disagree completely. DC and Marvel put out book after book after book and they're completely terrible, except for maybe one or two. Just utter pandering drek. Most of the other companies are trying to do the same thing, even when they pretend that they're not. Just more genre horseshit designed to appeal to the same old nerds. Now, I'd say most indie books are bad just like most mainstream, but I don't think mainstream will really benefit from a percentage comparison.

As for a defense of Super F*ckers, it was my favorite book of the week. It was gleeful, fun, and didn't take itself too seriously. The characters were vivid and different enough that you could tell who each was without caption upon caption of "Hawkman blah blah blah." Further, it appealed to my sense of humor by not giving a shit IF it appealed to it.

It's not going to appeal to everyone, but most good things don't.

6/06/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Eliot Johnson said...

I think you're missing the point of Superf*ckers. It's the exact opposite of "cynical, ugly, pointless super-hero-suck."

Kochalka doesn't hate super-heroes. Actually, I don't know that, but if he does, it certainly doesn't come off that way in this book. This book is not meant to be taken seriously at all or as a message about mainstream super-heroes. It's just supposed to be fun (as is almost all of Kochalka's comics and music). And funny, but that's secondary. Yeah, it's not side-splitting by any means, but it's funny at times.

Kochalka's artwork, too, is gorgeous. It's especially nice (and rare) to see it in color like this. This book is probably not up to Kochalka's usual standards, but that's just a testament to how good his stuff usually is. And for anyone who doesn't understand Kochalka...every bit of Kochalka's work (be it art or music) has the initial intent of being fun. And it almost always is. Which is why I love his work. Then, you have further layers...from thought-provoking (Magic Boy & Robot Elf) to satirical (Peanutbutter & Jeremy) to touching (The Sketchbook Diaries at times) to hilarious (Monkey vs Robot book and album). But, James Kochalka is awesome because his work is fun.

But, yeah, it's not for everybody. And the percentage of DC/Marvel books that suck is much greater than the percentage of indie books that suck. But, yeah, most indie books suck just like most DC/Marvel books suck. I think Dark Horse has the best lack-of-suckiness percentage, though.

oh yeah, and superf*ckers is definitely not for everyone.

basically, I totally agree with Mr. Rice, but I had to gush a bit over Kochalka.

6/06/2005 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I enjoyed the book, but I can certainly admit that I am a fan of Kochalka's work.

As Joe mentioned, like a lot of art, he does not appeal to everybody.

And that's totally cool.

I really like his art, and I did not take offense by the story (I think he was being less cynical than you do).

So...well, I liked it.

But I can certainly see why his art might not appeal to some folks, and there definitely IS a close line between "good-natured different take on superheroes" and "mocking the genre."

I think he stuck to the former, but I can see how you saw the second.

I understand, also, that it is not because you, like, love superheroes so much that if someone does something different with them, you freak out.

I know that is not the case, because you read plenty of non-superhero stories.

This particular comic wasn't your bag.

No problemo.

6/14/2005 02:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I guess I can understand why Kochalka's stuff doesn't appeal to everyone, so it comes as no surprise at all that so many people should hate it. But I will say to anyone that likes him, and is even minutely happily familiar with his works, then you'll like Super F*ckers. I thought it was great 'fun for fun's sake'. You can tell Kochalka got a kick out of making it.

6/14/2005 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Nik said...

Wow, you got singled out by Kochalka himself on the Comics Journal message board! Score for the critic!

(And I liked SF*, I have to admit)

6/16/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it.

6/21/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super F*ckers was fun, you are not.

6/21/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Issue 3 just came out, or #277 as it says on the cover. It's the best issue yet!

6/18/2006 08:31:00 PM  

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