I still got more gift recommendations for the comics fan in your life. Today, we’re going to look at PS238.
“PS238” is comic book created by Aaron Williams, creator of the fantasy spoof “Nodwick” and writer of the recent Wildstorm horror title “North 40.” It’s currently published by Do Gooder Press. I’m a huge fan, as you might be able to tell by reading through my archives.
Imagine you live in a world with superheroes. If they’re anything like the ones in the comics, they’re always falling in love with each other and sometimes even getting married to each other. Every once in a while, one of them will have a child. So what do you do with an eight-year-old with the power of an Asgardian thunder god? Send ’em to a school where they’ll eventually end up incinerating their classroom in a temper tantrum over not getting to use the green crayon? No, you send ’em to PS238, the School for Metaprodigy Children.
Constructed three miles beneath a normal public school, PS238 is designed to teach superhuman children how to use their powers and how to maintain a secret identity. Since many of their classes are taken alongside normal children and teachers, the kids are required to pretend to be perfectly normal kids. For some, this requires only a change of clothing — others need elaborate holographic disguises. When it’s time for metahuman-centric classes, the kids are transferred by high-tech conveyors to the subterranean facility, where, on an ideal day, the kids learn a little more about what it means to be super. Of course, on most days, simple mayhem breaks out.
The comic features a rotating ensemble cast of teachers and students, including Principal Alfred Cranston, a former holder of high office who resigned under mysterious circumstances to head the school; Cristina Kyle, formerly known as Micro-Might, the only teacher at PS238 to have teaching experience prior to the opening of the school; Vashti Impiria, who used to be known as the magic-wielding Spell Syrin; Herschel Clay, the school’s director of maintenance, who used to be a powersuit-wearing hero named Mantium; Captain Clarinet (Ron Peterson), a shy but immensely strong kid who would prefer to spend all his time playing his clarinet; Suzi Fusion (Suzanne Finster), a bespectacled six-year-old who throws radioactive temper tantrums; Zodon, an evil genius whose countless schemes have prompted the school to fit him with devices that, among other things, convert his tirades of profanity into rousing show tunes; Tyler Marlocke, a completely normal kid whose superhero parents are solidly convinced that he’ll be manifesting powers any day now (and who, despite his lack of powers, is now fighting crime in secret as the football-helmeted Moon Shadow); and many, many more.
“PS238” is very light-hearted and fun — Williams has a pretty good grasp of what makes kids and superheroes funny, and he does a great job of combining the two, as well as crafting interesting and distinct personalities for the major characters. The kids aren’t written as short adults — they’re children, through and through. Zodon acts like the most mature of the kids (despite being the youngest), but that’s because he’s hyper-intelligent, evil, and makes cutting remarks about everyone. The rest of the kids freak out when they lose their capes, get afraid of heights, look forward to macaroni pie day in the cafeteria, and try to make friends with older snooty kids. Trust me, if Superman and Spider-Man were eight years old, they’d act just like these kids do.
The comics are collected into a number of trade paperbacks. They’d make great gifts for younger readers, teachers, and any comics fan who enjoys fast and funny superhero comics.
PS238 by Aaron Williams. Go pick it up.