Heroes and Villains: ‘Crowded #1’, ‘Humans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice’

It’s social media and superheroes in this week’s installment of Heroes & Villains!

CrowdedCrowded #1
Christopher Sebela (W)
Ro Stein (A)
Image Comics

Boy, social media is THE WORST, eh? Unless you got to this column from my Twitter or Instagram…then welcome! 

Out today from Image Comics, Crowded takes a look at a world that could be two Tuesdays from now and asks the question “Can I use the internet to put a hit on someone I don’t like?” Well, in this book it’s as simple as downloading the Reapr app and crowdfunding your homicide! 

It’s kind of like The Purge if it was colorful, stylish, humorous, and fun.

Rather than focusing on the legalities of how this would work in the real world, I realized that we’re probably about two months away from the government saying, “Ah, screw it. You do you!” That made the read all the more enjoyable.

The great thing about speculative fiction is that, if done right, it’s easily believable. The premise in Crowded is simple: Use the Reapr app to put out a hit on someone you don’t like. Want to be not dead? Hire a bodyguard on Dfender and they’ll protect you until the contract is up. Now strap in and enjoy the ride! 

Croweded has a great first issue that ticks all the boxes. Fun? Yes. Action packed? Yes. Interesting characters who aren’t what they seem? Yes again! Go check it out and be silently grateful that the Reapr app isn’t as real thing…yet.

LONG READS

ParagonsHumans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice
Edited by Ian Boucher
Sequart

I just got my review copy of Humans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice and I have to say I’m really looking forward to seeing what this book has to offer. If you’re one of the rapidly aging comic book fans such as myself, your arguments have probably evolved from “Who would win in as fight? Superman or…”  to more advanced topics.

This book…is a scholarly tome. It has footnotes, sources, the whole nine! Admittedly, it felt a bit daunting when I began looking over the essays like “Four-Color Morality” and “Those Blessed and Those Not Blessed: The Moral Positions in Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’”. But when I got  a few pages into the first essay it became apparent that these were all discussions worth having. 

Comics are great because they’re exactly what you need them to be. Weekly escapism into mindless entertainment? Most definitely. But if you ever find yourself wanting more out of comics, don’t go buy a copy of Watchmen and pretend you really liked (or even understood) the  Black Freighter stuff. Just…look closer. You’ll be surprised what you can pull out of your average comic book and this book provides some great avenues of thought to help you on your way.

ONE YEAR LATER

This Friday will mark the one year anniversary of my first piece here at Biff Bam Pop! 

“Where DOES the time go?”

“Time sure flies dot dot dot!”

It has been and continues to be a complete blast for someone who considers himself a complete and total novice. I never expected this to go where it has and I intend to keep doing it until well after I probably should have stopped.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Leslie Hatton for introducing me to this site AND giving me my start over at the dear, departed popshifter.com. Extra special thanks to both Andy Burns and JP Fallavollita for keeping this fun for me, offering well-timed and much needed words of encouragement, and just generally giving me a chance to do my thing…whatever that is.

And Glenn Walker.

Glenn was my primary point of contact when I started here, a lone voice in the digital wilderness, and he was fantastic to work with when I was just finding my footing. My interactions with him were unfortunately brief prior to his passing but his love for comics made me feel like I had always known him. 

Heroes & Villains will always be Glenn’s column and I’ll always feel like I’m filling in for him but I’m happy to be here and happy to keep it going for him.

See you next Wednesday.

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