Dragman

Steven Appleby. Metropolitan, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-17264-8
In Appleby’s offbeat fantasy, August Crimp is keeping a lot of secrets from his wife: since his teen years he’s been dressing in women’s clothes; when wearing them he has the ability to fly; and he used to be the superhero Dragman. This all takes place in a world in which superheroes only save those folks with the proper insurance coverage and human souls can be removed from the body and then bought, sold, or stored on tiny disks. An unknown murderer is targeting trans women, stealing their souls and dumping their bodies. (Notably, the violence of these scenes are retold in prose, reducing their sensationalism.) August, who thought he’d put his crime-fighting days behind him, gets dragged back by his old sidekick, Dog Girl, and Cherry, a girl he saved. The complex plot plays out with spirited color scenes of present-day action mixed with multiple flashbacks, shown in monochrome, including a few excerpts of news clippings and “officially licensed” comics about the exploits of their superhero milieu, with Appleby’s loose, light comics reminiscent of Roz Chast and Quentin Blake. Despite its many twists and turns, the graphic novel’s emotional heart lays with August’s struggle to accept his own identity and its full power. Gender fluidity in this jaunty superhero story is trumpeted not only as a gift and a source of strength, but as something that might just save the world. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Comics
Book - 978-1-250-17265-5
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