The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks tells the story of Superhero Girl, a young superhero going through everyday life, whether it is dealing with critics from the town, shrinking her cape in the laundry, fighting monsters, or trying to make small talk at a party. The story follows her through events in her life, whether it be big or small, and see her react to the mundane or extreme happenings of life, in a very well written, and greatly drawn way.
The book is a fantastic read, and if you have the chance to read it, you should totally pick it up. Faith Erin Hicks does a great job realizing her characters, and made me feel immersed in the universe she created. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time, the characters show heart, and have a great sense of humor. Many might look at the book and think that it is just a parody, but they would be wrong. It is so much more than that. The characters aren’t just cardboard cutouts, they are well written and all show great emotion. When Superhero Girl goes through tribulations, both grandiose and small, she shows that she is a person. She worries, she gets angry, she gets frustrated. She isn’t a stone cold, stoic hero. She is a person just trying to help. And that is what makes her character so compelling, relatable and interesting to read. And the story is genuinely funny. The humor does not consist of just making a reference and hope you laugh, the story makes itself funny with clever dialogue, great characters, and engrossing scenes, and those who happen to know the tropes of comics will find it that much more funny. And when it does make a reference, it is really well placed, and actually really funny. The art is really good as well, with great emotion and characterization throughout the book. You can feel the heart put into the project through it’s endearing art and well written scenarios. The Adventures of Superhero Girl is a humorous, endearing, relatable, and just overall great read that I think perfectly balances it’s elements of everyday life and the elements of the superhero genre. If you have a chance to pick it up, you should act on it. It’s a really good time.
To me, I think that the song Anna Sun by Walk the Moon could match up well with this story. With the song, the mood I get is happiness, or optimistic. It’s the kind of song you would have blaring at maximum volume on a radio. It makes you feel human, alive, and ready for your next challenge. It reminds you of happiness. And it maintains this tempo and mood, even with lyrics like, “this house is falling apart.” It brings out optimism in the darker times of life, to me at least. It is like a hand raising your chin up even when you feel down (“we got no money, but we got heart”). I got the same type of mood out of the book as well. When going through ordinary things in life, Superhero Girl makes these events earnest and optimistic. You root for her and feel for her when she goes through something bad, and you want to see her succeed. You feel good and ready for the next chapter. And there are two lines in the song that made a distinct connection to the character to me; “We rattle this town, we rattle this scene,” and “We’re gonna rattle this ghost town.” Throughout everything in the song, the narrator reminds us that he will make a mark on this town. He wants to be remembered, and he will be happy doing it. He will do his thing. Same goes for Superhero Girl. Throughout all the tough times, she reminds herself the reason she wanted to be a superhero in the first place. She loves it. It makes her happy. She will be a respected superhero. She just wants to be happy helping the citizens of her town, on her own terms. While reading the story, this song kept popping it’s way into my head.
Notes/Moments (*SPOILER ALERT*)
This section is to point out some cool or noteworthy moments that happened in the book and why they are cool or noteworthy in detail, so if you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to hold off on reading this section just yet.
– In the story there were a lot of great, small moments that I really appreciated for their endearing qualities. For example, when Superhero Girl runs into a ninja at the grocery store and remarks that she doesn’t like seeing people from work when grocery shopping made me smile. Little real moments in the surreal make this book great. Or, it is one of the many reasons why it is great.
– One point of characterization that I found really well done was when Skeptical Guy (later found out to be Shaun) remarks that Superhero Girl isn’t a “real” superhero, which puts her in an existential crisis and kind of ruins her day. A small comment hurt. The scene got to me. It was so real and relatable. Again, one of the best parts about the book is how it mixes emotion and relatability with the superhero genre. This quality could also been seen in many other parts of the book, like the scene when she is talking with her mom about the troubles of finding an archnemesis, or when she finds trouble making small talk at the party she goes to with her roommate. It is such a good quality to the book.
Guest reviewer: Nick