Weak As I Am

Fan art / mini-review time!

I finally picked up a copy of Weak As I Am by Nigel 'Spleenal' Auchterlounie at the Sunderland Comic Con. I'd read the story when Nigel had first published an early version of it online and I'd been impressed - impressed enough to want to obtain a slightly beautified but mainly similar print version. Why? Because it's mint.

It's an indie superhero story. That is to say: IT IS A SUPERHERO STORY. It's not a spoof (though it's very funny), it's not just using superhero motifs in a more personal story (though it does have a grounded sense of humanity in its everyman main character who accidentally gains superpowers, plus it ditches all costumes, codenames and other such nonsense), it genuinely has a load of awesome super-powered stuff going on.

And the thing is: I usually do not think superhero stuff is awesome. I find that it's often tired, empty showboating, mired in continuity knots. Weak As I Am manages to keep all the potentially cool stuff (including varied powers, complex superhero-superhero and superhero-society dynamics), drop the baggage, and inject vitality, wit, and humanity, telling a story that clearly feels part of the superhero tradition whilst at the same time standing apart from it.
So I did a drawing of two characters from the book - Durmot and Gary, they are (literally) super friends. Durmot is made of stone and has a non-Newtonian field (maybe that's what that blue stuff is, not just poorly-rendered blue sky, ahem), and Gary has a variety of superpowers including super-strength and speed. There's a whole load of other super-powered characters, and even when they only have brief 'screentime' due to the blazing pace of the book, there's a definite sense of character and identity to all of them.

The art style (and central character) continue from the equally excellent Speenal, and, while there's still much of the same humour and ingenuity, in Weak As I Am the humour is occasionally dialled back to allow for some moments of genuine drama.

I think, as with all indie superhero comics, there's a risk that the 'indie' readers don't give it a go because it's superheroes, and the 'superhero' readers don't give it a go because it's indie. And that's a shame, because I genuinely think both groups (well, y'know, everyone really) would get a lot out of this.