Heroes and Villains: Dream Daddy, A Take on Comicsgate

It’s a Fifth-week here at Heroes & Villains! What’s a Fifth-week? Well, most months only have four Wednesdays, this month has FIVE. What does it all mean?!?

What it means is that there’s an extra Wednesday publishers don’tA. really know what to do with since their publishing schedules are structured around the more common four week month. In the past this lead to Fifth-week events, stuff designed by the big two publishers at the time to keep new books rolling out and keep their regular titles on schedule.

The Fifth-week event has kind of faded into memory in recent years. Looking at the Wikipedia entry on the subject seems to confirm there was a good reason for that as I remember next to none of the titles listed. But that’s the past! We are living in the Now where there are as many great comic book publishers churning out great content and aren’t bound by the rigidity of the Marvel/DC machine.

With this in mind, I give you…

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Wendy Xu (W)
Ryan Maniulit (A)
Oni Press

From the Steam website: “A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. … You and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay only to discover that everyone in your neighborhood is a single, dateable Dad!”

I had heard of the game when it launched last year mostly because of the splash the game made when it was announced and the regrettably predictable reaction from internet commenters at large followed. But then… the game was a success and now we get a comic book adaptation!

Is it possible for an adaption of a Hot Dad dating sim to transcend its source material? With Wendy Xu writing it, yes it is possible. I went into the book cold, with only the slightest knowledge of the game on which the book is based and was rewarded with a pretty straightforward romance book. I was genuinely surprised how much the book got done in just TWENTY PAGES. There’s a lot of character history packed into the book but it all flows naturally and plays out in a way that makes perfect sense. 

The book was light and fun and no doubt will delight fans of the game, the die hards who really want to know more about the featured characters are sure to be rewarded too. With that in mind, the book definitely knows who it’s being written for. Buttons are pushed, cute dates are had, hot dads abound. 

Comics are for everyone

I’ve written before about how I don’t follow a lot of comic book news sites or actively engage in comics twitter. A big reason for that is to preserve my own sanity which is hanging on by its fingernails on a daily basis. 

There’s a despicable vocal minority out there that seems to have a problem with… Everything? I don’t know. They seem to take perverse glee in attacking creators doing work that doesn’t fit with their narrow world view. It turns my stomach.

I’m happy to have seen an overwhelming majority of comic creators on Twitter step up over the weekend with the following: “We believe that comics are for everyone. There is no excuse for harassment. There is no place for homophobia, transphobia, racism, or misogyny in comics criticism.” It’s upsetting that this actually had to be said, but it was necessary. 

When I was in high school I would have given anything to have more people interested in comics. I had a core group of friends and our discussions usually hovered around if the most recent X-Men was “cool” and how we all TOTALLY LIKED what Image comics was doing because it too was “cool.” Our perceived notion of “cool” at that point had not progressed beyond guns, lasers, and explosions. You know, adolescent power fantasies. 

Recently, I’ve been re-reading a lot of 90’s event comics and if you think this is me teeing up to shit all over them, you’re wrong. Yeah, a lot of them haven’t aged spectacularly well but I’m still able to enjoy them on a wonderfully nostalgic level. The 90’s were important because we probably hit peak-comic bookishness. X-Men #1 sold over a million copies (I bought five), they actually killed Superman. There was no were left to go.

Then things quite down a bit. I was still getting my weekly super hero fix but I wanted more out of the industry. I was bored reading the same old stuff week in and week out. Around my second year of college, a tiny shoebox sized comic shop opened in my hometown. My prayers were answered.

The store was great for a number of reasons, I could walk to it, the owner was cool…and he carried a ton of independent comic books. His selection of small press books rivaled what he carried for Marvel and DC in size and every week he had something new to recommend. 

It was a new Golden Age. I was reading all sorts of fantastically weird stuff the flew in the face of the industry standard. It was great.

Then the store closed after a year.

I went crawling back to my old Local Comic Shop two towns over to get my staple books and I made the mistake of asking them if they could order some of the indie titles I had been reading. “Nah. It’s too expensive for us to get that stuff and no one reads it anyways.”

So it went. For years I watched the guys that ran the shop crap on stories that were new and exciting while I got my “weird indie books” on the side. Eventually, I found a better store that wouldn’t shit-talk my choice in books to my face while I was getting rung up.

Comics are cool because they are for everyone. Comics are cool because they are by everyone. I love doing this column because I’m exposed to stuff that’s new and different every damn week and I love that I get to recommend books to people and I can now literally talk comics with EVERYBODY.

The bastards aren’t winning. It’s just the last gasp of a small group of intolerant jerks that want a living art form to remain static so that their carefully constructed idea of happiness isn’t challenged or in some way invalidated. God forbid they change, grow, or learn something about themselves in any way. I know we’ll all be busy having a blast enjoying the great art that’s being made by great artists. 

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