GNOME

GNOME
Written and Drawn by Dave Dwonch
Published by
SuperReal Graphics

Andy thinks his life has gotten simpler when he inherits his uncle Lewis’ house in a bucolic small town. He’s away from the city, the lovely Marybelle not only bakes him cookies but also takes a liking to him, and he might even be able to get a job. But what he doesn’t know is that his uncle was a practitioner of the black arts, and he has unleashed a horrible other dimensional beast that will destroy the world if Andy can’t stop it. Fortunately for Andy, he has one thing going for him: it turns out that the original garden gnomes were actually a class of great warriors turned to stone until the world needed saving. And now, the final living gnome has taken up residence in Andy’s front yard and begun to train the boy how to be a warrior that can save the world.

GNOME marks SUPER REAL maestro Jason Martin’s first effort at publishing someone else’s work besides his own, and it’s a pretty charming effort. The idea behind GNOME is pretty cute, and it works: only one of the poor bastards is left because of the tenacity of teenagers that like destroying the statues in peoples’ gardens. The rest are phonies made because someone liked how the original warriors looked. It’s actually quite tragic the way Dwonch describes it on the page. Dwonch also does a nice job in growing his characters; it’s halfway through the book before Andy gets a clue about the Gnome and the danger, giving him plenty of time to develop on the page, and for his relationship with Marybelle to develop as well. He also leaves it wholesome enough that GNOME remains good for readers of all ages.

The weak spot here is the art. Dwonch’s work is inconsistent, and his panel-to-panel storytelling isn’t particularly strong. That makes the motion and action feel pretty static on the page. Still, it is very typical for a beginning graphic novelist to be stronger in one area than another, and there’s plenty of room to grow. On the whole, GNOME is a decent start.

Marc Mason

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