Books I Read: Superstar: As Seen on TV

"He's Earth's greatest hero. As long as his ratings hold up." (from the back cover)

Cody Bridges is Superstar, a hero who relies on voluntary bioenergy contributions from the public for his power. It's not really ratings-based, though that makes a good blurb, it's that the more people like him the more willing they are to donate.

In lesser hands than Kurt Busiek's, this story would be about the technology and how it somehow went bad. But this story is about people: Cody's just a regular guy with a family that frustrates him and a job that gets him down sometimes. It's a good intro to Busiek's style of everyman hero, and if you like this you'll probably like "Astro City" too.

Stuart Immonen, whose work I praise often here, is one of those artists who makes the work look effortless. It really isn't, of course, and the sketchbook section in the back of the book is a really good example of that, showing how many iterations it took to get Superstar's jacket to look right. (As you can see from the cover, he figured it out.)

The tone is light but not whimsical: not as serious as Busiek's "Shockrockets" or as deep as "Astro City". I enjoyed the characters and the world, and it's too bad that this 96-page story is all there is. ("Superstar" was originally published in 2000, so it doesn't seem the creators have any plans to go back to it.)

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