Friend of Dorothy #1
If you’re into webcomics, you may be aware of Brian Anderson’s “So Super Duper,” a series of comics that are in the process of being serialized over at Newsarama. Brian is an out-of-the-closet gay comics creator, and most of his comics reflect that — they’re unapologetically pro-LGBTQ, but with a strong core of humor and an appreciation for the absurdity of modern gender/sexual politics.
So this is his new comic, written by Brian, with art by Neftali Centeno and colors/letters by Falecia Woods. The lead character is a teenaged kid named Scott-John who’s just swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills that he probably shouldn’t have swallowed. He’s drifting off and dying in his sepia-toned bedroom when there’s a sudden explosion of Technicolor, and there’s a big, buffed-up guy wearing a lot of pink who revives him, introduces himself as Gorlindo the Good Witch of Oz, and tells him that he’s being appointed the Friend of Dorothy, the new protector of Oz. He gets a costume, some ruby combat boots, and gloriously, a gigantic axe, which gets an immediate and extremely enthusiastic workout when a bunch of demonic scarecrows crawl in the window and attack him. His new companion, a talking black dog named Dodo, tries to explain some stuff and gives him his first broom (leading to a funny moment where we learn why guys should be careful riding through the air on a flying broom). Next up, Scott-John has to go fight a munchkin. Hopefully, that won’t be too difficult, but I’ve got my doubts…
Verdict: Thumbs up. Very fun and funny story, with a nicely realized hero. Ya know, the story concept is pretty clever — writing about gay self-acceptance using the story elements of a movie beloved within the global gay community — but I’m really most impressed with the characterization work here. Gorlindo is pretty overwhelmingly camp, but Scott-John is, in comparison, almost sedate.
It’s a big difference from Psyche, Anderson’s hero in “So Super Duper,” who isn’t just out, isn’t just camp, but is flamingly camp, even more so than Gorlindo. But Psyche and Gorlindo are extremely self-confident and comfortable with who they are — Scott-John, on the other hand, just tried to commit suicide. His self-confidence is probably a heck of a lot lower, his own acceptance of his sexual preference may be less than 100%, and there’s a decent chance that he worries a lot more about fitting in with other kids at school than in standing out from the crowd.
Which isn’t to say that Scott-John is entirely closeted either — his bedroom walls are decorated with posters of modern gay icons like Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, and he owns a picture of himself with his boyfriend. We don’t get a lot of info about his background, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s fully in denial about who he is — probably just confused, unhappy, and wishing people at school didn’t hate him for no reason — like, you know, 98% of modern teenagers.
And really, that’s why I enjoyed this comic so much — Scott-John feels like a real teenager with his own unique worries and difficulties. He’s not High Camp, and he’s not Midnighter/Apollo grim-and-sullen, which seems to be the current comic industry model for gay male superheroes nowadays. He’s a great character, and that alone should make the series fun to read.
There aren’t that many print editions of “Friend of Dorothy” around, but you can buy a copy over at IndyPlanet.
Batman and Robin #14
Robin is trying to beat the Joker to death with a crowbar, but even handcuffed, shackled, and bludgeoned, you can’t count the Joker out too easily — Robin ends up with a small dose of Joker Venom in his bloodstream, and Joker uses the bombs in Damian’s utility belt to escape police custody. Batman and Commissioner Gordon fight off a bunch of Dollotrons, but Gordon ends up getting captured by Dr. Hurt and Professor Pyg. Gordon’s been dosed with a viral narcotic designed to be perfectly addicting, so that anyone affected will be a slave of Hurt’s, willing to do anything to get another hit. While Dick tries to retrieve Gordon, some of the criminals in Hurt’s crowd have started to be overcome by lethal doses of Joker Venom in their popcorn. When Batman gets knocked in the head by Gordon, that leaves no one free to stop Dr. Hurt — no one but the Joker.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Really ratcheting up the tension, and it’s kinda cool how… almost-but-not-quite heroic the Joker is in this. And I gotta say, I’m loving Frazer Irving’s painted artwork — really gives the story a great look and feel.
Green Lantern #57
While Hal Jordan and Larfleeze try to get the Orange Lantern entity, Ophidian, out of Hector Hammond, Carol Ferris is in Las Vegas trying to track down the Predator, the Star Sapphire power entity. The Star Sapphire central battery is still not producing enough power, and the other Star Sapphires hope to enslave the Predator to power their battery. The Predator, however, has his own plans to return to power, manipulating an obsessed stalker into allowing him to possess his body. Will Carol and Hal be able to capture the Predator and round up Larfleeze, who thinks Vegas is the most awesome city in the universe?
Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice punch-em-up combined with great Doug Mahnke artwork. And as always, the presence of the infinitely greedy Larfleeze helps make even good comics much, much better.
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