Comic Workshop: Superfrat

The flow of suggestions for reviewing is pretty much constant. Some times it’s as high as one per day so you can imagine how many I have in the backlog. What many don’t realize is we don’t interview just any strip out there. Typically Midnight and The Geek pick one they’ve already been reading and like. That doesn’t mean they can’t read through a suggestion and put it on the show, but that’s some of the more rare circumstances.

To help stim the tide building up in our inbox I am slowly going to review this every week, but with a twist. A good number of these are not necessarily strips that I would like or go back to. Instead I will read through and point out what is good and what could use improvement. First on the list is Superfrat.

The story about a frat house full of super-powered brothers. Each brother with a different power as a result of a meteor hitting the house, but each one an archetype we all hate in fraternity brothers. At the beginning this strip starts strong, if not a little immaturely. There’s an arc over the pledges being forced to clean up an indestructible turd left in the toilet. Almost a neat way of telling the readers to not expect “just another superhero” comic.

From there it sort of goes down hill as we find each character are extreme versions of bad archetypes. Starting a strip unexpectedly left me a little upset to find everything else was what I would expect, from the pretty boy player, to the over zealous black panther descendent. We have the pot-head Rastafarian, beer guzzling slob, berkley freedom fighter, a goth so angst he follows every fashion, and the brainy but sexually repressed geek. By the time I made it to the end the only ones I liked were the president and the two pledges, but that may be because they were the only ones that required me to figure them out instead of guess from their art.

The strips strongest appeal was the art. The style is reminiscent of both the old school comics and newspapers, with enough maturity where I could probably recognize the comic outside the site. The arc with the pyramids was a good use of MPH and I thoroughly enjoyed the Dick Masterson in a weird “I hate this guy” sort of way. But it was during the pyramids arc that things start going down hill. Second panel of the second strip was an exact copy of the third panel of the previous strip. All they did was replace the words.

From that point on more and more artwork is reused to the point where I stop being able to tell what day I’m on. This becomes such a problem Tony and Chris begin to make fun of themselves with such strips as this. As it progresses it comes to the point where we lose all stories, and that’s where it finally recovers from it’s split personality. So from June 18th, 2007 to April 9th, 2009, I have no idea what’s going on. I’m so lost I almost couldn’t finish the strip. After the 9th, it becomes a once a day gag strip without any point, which is so much better then where it started then at least a place for it to park.

Advice would be to add a little more depth to the characters or stick to a specific subject for each static strip. For instance drug references stick to Mistah, politics to the invisible f’er, etc. The whole point of static strips is to be predictable to begin with but through the reader for a loop at the end. The whole spider trap trick.

Also stop regurgitating the same old comments from everyone else. At the very least take those and add you’re own at the end. The strip where Dick Cheney talks about Wolf Blitzer no longer being cool is so much better then putting Jon Stewart’s words down. Chances are most of the readers who are still around will have already heard it. Oh, and has Chris gone on vacation? Why are there so rarely any new art work any more?

Bottom line this strip starts well, gained a split personality, and recovered after spending some time in a round rubber room. Now that it has recovered it has potential to grow to a strong political satire strip. Only time will tell.


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