SUPER REAL

SUPER REAL
Written and Drawn by Jason Martin
Published by Super Real Graphics

Reviewed by Marc Mason

You’d recognize them immediately, as our airwaves are currently infested by them: vacuous 20-somethings looking for fame at any cost. They have no talent. They have no intellect. They have no moral compass. All they have is the drive to make themselves known and to make some bucks along the way. Thus, Jason Martin’s SUPER REAL, which started out as a parody back when the issues first began shipping four or so years ago, now looks like an oracle instead.

This being comics, though, Martin’s cast of characters have entered the reality TV arena in order to received super-powered enhancements along with fame and cash. Strength, adrenaline, hearing, vision… human attributes taken to the extreme are given to these five, but the question isn’t whether or not they’ll use their powers for good… the question is really whether or not they’ll be sober enough or clever enough, or stop fucking long enough to use them for anything at all.

Jason Martin, you see, weeps not only for the future, but also for the present.

I’ve been following this book since Martin produced his first preview issue and was selling it at San Diego, and it’s been interesting to see how it has evolved. At times, I felt like the parody aspect was completely overwhelming telling the story, and at other times I was more concerned about the digressions the plot was going through as Martin did a couple of special issues meant to build interest in the book. But overall, the one thing that always worked was Martin’s commitment to the work. His art, very rough in the beginning, smoothed out. The writing got a little more clever. And he stuck with it. In an era where Diamond minimums are dictating what comic shops can carry, and not quality, Martin busted his hump to reach a finish line and do it his way. That is something I can applaud.

Is SUPER REAL perfect? No. Does it have a transcendent moment? Nope on that one, too. What it does do, though, is entertain. It asks you to sit down, relax, shut out the lunacy of everyday life, and have a good time along with its creator. Over the last few years, and during the reading of this collected edition, that’s precisely what I did.

SUPER REAL VS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY

SUPER REAL VS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY
Written by Jason Martin and Drawn by Various
Published by
Super Real Graphics

Jason Martin’s reality TV-meets-comic books SUPER REAL takes one more digression before getting back to its regularly scheduled storyline in SUPER REAL VS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY. Last time out, we got the weak SUPER REAL VS THE COMICS BOOK INDUSTRY, and it looked like Martin had perhaps gambled away the goodwill he was building for his nifty little indy book. Frankly, I questioned whether or not the ongoing book could survive a second digression. But give Martin credit: MOVIE INDUSTRY is a huge improvement over COMIC, and it fits better with the actual main book, making this feel less like a lark and more along the lines of something reasonably useful in the process of the main plot.


This special features four guest artists helping Martin tell the tale: Dennis Budd, Jerry Gaylord, Dan Mendoza, and Josh Howard. As you might expect, Howard’s (DEAD @17, CLUBBING) the best of the guests, but Mendoza shows some real promise in his segment. The story itself is pretty thin, something to mostly hang the title gag on: the five reality superheroes are sent on a training mission that involves them playing out scenarios from some of their favorite films. These include RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, KILL BILL, STAR WARS, and TRANSFORMERS. Kinda pedestrian choices, but Martin gets major props for throwing CUBE in of all things. That alone gets him a pass on the writing end.

SUPER REAL’s charm has always been the cheeky attitude displayed not only by its characters, but by its creator in his work on the page. SUPER REAL got its start as an indy book in search of distribution, and that distribution didn’t come quickly. But Martin has persevered and done things his way, even when they could have blown up in his face. That’s why he has my respect, and why I’ve kept supporting the book.

Marc Mason