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Archive Binge: Captain Stupendous

G D Penman By G D Penman Published on April 4, 2016

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Captain Stupendous, previously known as Captain Excelsior before legal trouble, is the perfect antidote to all of the dreadfully serious superhero films that are being churned out at the moment. It was written by Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame and illustrated by Chris Jones, who's unique style really exaggerates all of the dreadfulness of both the characters and the setting to its absolute peak.

The story is about a middle aged superhero, the titular Captain, who's ex-wife is getting remarried, prompting him to spiral even further down the slippery slope into madness and mayhem. Along for the ride are his children Ward and Tesla, both super-powered in their own right but dealing with personal crises of their own. Burgeoning homosexuality and a lack of a prom date respectively. Next we have his terrible superhero friends who give him catastrophically bad and mutually conflictiong romantic advice. There are also his clairvoyant ex-wife, who predicted their divorce back on their wedding day, her new husband, a perfectly normal person, his ex-mother-in-law who knocks back Vicodin every time the wedding is mentioned and one hell of a lot of prostitutes and perverts. Oh and his other son. Not-Ward...uh... Ron? The one without superpowers. Who even cares about him?

Captain Stupendous takes all of the potential bad points of living in a world with super-powered egomanics and emphasises them to their natural extreme. Super-court takes any testimony from mortals as hearsay. If you can't get a date for prom then threaten to kill everyone with lightning. There isn't a moment goes by that you aren't reminded just how awful every single superhero is. Humour is always going to be subjective. As far as world building and story goes Captain Stupendous is doing everything right, but I can't tell you if you will find it funny or not. If your sense of humour veers towards the sick you will probably be alright. If the idea of a kitten getting killed as a punchline makes you quiver in horror you are probably not going to love the number of times that happens in this story.

If you can get past how terrible everything is, Captain Stupendous is a lot of fun with a sharp wit and the kind of running jokes that would make many stand up comedians deeply jealous.

G.D. Penman writes about queer monsters for a living. He is the author of Call Your Steel, The Year of the Knife, Heart of Winter, Apocrypha and many other books. He is also a full-time freelance ... Show More

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