Saturday, September 5, 2009


By Kevin Hodgson
Staff Writer

Moondog, aka Farley, is on a mission to discover some strange events taking place inside his new school. Armed with a skateboard, some GPS trackers, an infrared detector and few other pieces of equipment that might make Inspector Gadget proud, Moondog is determined to emerge as a teenage superhero in a webcomic called HERO HIGH.

The comic (by Jason Dylan Edwards and Diego Simone and published by Zeroes 2 Heroes: The People's Publisher) is found only on the web and the creators of HERO HIGH have set up a pseudo-social networking site in order to gauge support for their comic. It's a bit odd to find that a note to readers explains how this just might be the first and last HERO HIGH comic to be published, although the creators make no bones about their desire to continue working with their character and story. (And, this note to readers is also the result of the interesting way in which the comic has become published. See below for more information on the Comic Creation Nation campaign).

The continuation of HERO HIGH certainly has potential. Farley is a high school student whose family is moving from a city known as Dominion that is strewn with superheroes to a fairly quiet (all right, boring) town called Meekton. After watching his old school get attacked by the evil Hellion and then defended by the courageous Black Shadow, Farley has decided to transform himself into Moondog, a skateboard-riding avenging angel. In his new town, he meets a possible sidekick in need of some schooling in the art of cool (which is Farley all over) and he is brought into the middle of two girls who are sworn enemies of each other. The two girls even face off in a basketball dunking contest, which impresses Farley.

It's not quite clear what the plot of this comic book series might be, although the writers put Moondog into danger as he follows some sneaky business involving the school janitor, an ice cream truck and a secret hatchway leading down into a laboratory beneath his new high school. The comic ends on a classic cliffhanger, as we see a villain informing his cronies that Moondog must be stopped at all costs. There are many familiar plot devices at work in HERO HIGH, although that is not a bad thing as the writers have concentrated on character development. It will be interesting to see where Moondog goes, if this comic continues.

The illustrations in HERO HIGH seem traditional and comfortable as a hero-driving comic strip. Farley (aka Moondog) is all gangly limbs and goofy smiles. His new friend, Dwayne, is a nerd in the most stereotypical fashion, with geeky glasses and a robust knowledge of math. The girls are drawn as pretty high schoolers, but they are not necessarily inaccessibly beautiful. Although this is a web-only comic, the artists have not necessarily taken advantage of the medium, and the comic seems like a regular book that you would find on a rack in a store. The only difference is that the reading interface comes with a navigation system, allowing the reader to "flip" the pages in a virtual reading experience.

Anyone who has read a superhero comic book should recognize some of the writing devices on display in HERO HIGH. Echoes of Spiderman, the X-Men and others abound here. So, it might be interesting for readers to do some comparing and contrasting of known characters with these new ones. Also, since this first edition has a number of possible plot lines in development, a young writer might even use the comic as a writing prompt to determine what happens next to Moondog, his friends and the school that seems to also contain the laboratory of some villains. Students could even look around the room and imagine who is the superhero among them and how their own school could become the setting for a comic book.

Creators: Jason Dylan Edwards and Diego Simone
Publisher: Zero 2 Heroes: People's Publisher

(NOTE: HERO HIGH has been published through an intriguing use of the Web community, as viewers in the Comic Creation Nation Campaign by Zeroes 2 Heroes led to the production of this webcomic. This is a fascinating use of the collective viewing public to help aspiring comic writers and illustrators emerge into the public view. Another round of the campaign is set to begin, creating a possible outlet for bedroom comic book creators everywhere. Click here for more information.)

I would recommend this webcomic for elementary students and possibly middle school readers. High schoolers might recognize some of their lives in the frames, but I am not sure it would hold their interest. There is no profanity and the violence is not graphic (just some fighting between villians and heroes) or overt.

1 comment:

Franki said...

WOW--I would have never found this on my own. Thanks for sharing.