Jeffrey Brown, Author . Top Shelf $12.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-891830-56-3

Brown is best known for his unflinching autobiographical comics Clumsy and Unlikely . Here he ventures into genre territory with a hilarious superhero parody. Brown writes these stories in a deliberately simple, tongue-in-cheek style, and after a while, it's obvious they could be Golden Age Comics tales by any number of Hall of Fame cartoonists. Brown's archetypal hero, Bighead, defeats villains by using psychology and brainpower as much as brute force. For instance, Bighead overcomes his aptly named foe Crabby by giving him a kitten. Bullman, an "icon of senseless male aggression," is similarly defeated by pop psych. "Dammit, Bighead, you always make me feel like I'm walking on eggshells!" Bullman complains before the two sit down for a heart-to-heart talk. In the unfinished tale "Don't Cry," Bighead gets a taste of his own medicine. A villain named the Brit, who is married to Bighead's true love, Rebessica, plants seeds of doubt about Bighead's mission after Bighead kills some alien monkey invaders who may have been on a peace mission. Brown's art is crude but effective, and the witty stories both deconstruct and revitalize superhero clichés while building a detailed superhero world that's as charming as C.C. Beck's classic Shazam! stories. Brown is also a clever social commentator, with his finger firmly on the pulse of Gen Y mores and obsessions. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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