Love and Capes #1
Thom Zahler has an appealing, cartoon-influenced style that’s just right for the romantic superhero comedy Love and Capes. Mark is the Crusader, a Superman-like hero. Abby is a detail-oriented bookstore owner who somehow has missed figuring out his secret identity. They’re in love, so he decides to stop hiding things from her.
I love the way he shares his secret with her — when taking off his clothes to reveal his costume, she ignores what it means until he sits down on thin air. It’s great visual interplay that fully uses both art and text. The comedy here is honestly funny because it comes from the characters, and there’s so much story that it’s more satisfying than some much longer graphic novels. Judging from the structure, it was originally planned as a webcomic strip — every four panels, there’s another punchline, which helps create the feeling of density, with lots going on.
I was thrilled to see the way Mark puts up with Abby pointing out typos in the newspaper, and her acceptance of who he pretends to be is treated as a strength. Too many people have made fun of Lois Lane, calling her an idiot for never proving Clark Kent was Superman; instead of that insulting approach, Zahler creates two well-rounded people who have to navigate a complex mix of careers, hobbies, skills, and personality traits, just like real life. The reader can easily see why they fell in love with each other — they have fun together.
It’s a shame that there’s only this one issue. I’d enjoy seeing more of these characters, although it’s a pleasure to see a creator who knows when to say when, telling the story he wants to tell, entertaining the reader, and getting out while they still want more.