Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Supermag #1

by Jim Rugg, with Brian Maruca and Robin Bougie

Supermag is not an easy project to define, but then, none of Jim Rugg's comics work fits into easy classification.  His books Street Angel and Afrodisiac are both brilliant explorations of genre, but he plays so much with the medium that they are neither parodies of the superhero genre, nor straight examples of it.

With Supermag, Rugg has created something like a comics magazine, filled with short strips that show off the versatility of his skill.  Many of the strips are just one or two pages long, and don't really end.  In many cases, I was just settling into a longer story when I realized that Rugg had already moved on to something else.  He's very good at creating character in a limited amount of space, so I often found that to be disappointing - especially with his more 'slice of life' pieces - imagine reading one page of an Adrian Tomine story, and you can understand what I'm talking about.

Rugg also plays around with some of the classic comics genres, like war comics, but subverts or twists them, such as in his story about the US Army's top golfer, who is used to fight off an air attack.  We get an army ape attacking a meeting of Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, and Hugo Chavez.  We also get an appearance of the Bald Eagle, a character from Street Angel.

Rugg is a terrific artist with a strong eye for design.  I'd like to see him settle into a longer piece of work again, as I feel he can create some very powerful long work, but it was nice to go through this book to see how truly talented he is.

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