So I’ve read the first hardback of Hypergirl twice now and it’s a hard book to describe. It is undoubtedly excellent, but it has a lot of flaws. The artwork isn’t one of them as David Wynne seems to embrace every mad idea that appears in the book and makes it his own and the colours work most of the time. I’m just not really sure what it’s all about.
When I first saw the character Hypergirl, I thought it was a great suit. It looked futuristic, robotic, alien and dynamic. So it seems strange that this type of character is fighting two Mummies and the demon. Two characters taken from ancient Eygpt and another taken from religion. It just struck me as inconsistent to the character and the initial impression I got from her.
As well as that, there is also a library that seemingly goes on forever. I dunno, it’s seems like a transparent attempt to say, “Hey kids, libraries are cool” when there’s this cool futuristic robot girl who’s probably got Google on her phone or some sort of database in her suit. It just doesn’t sit right with me.
I think it’s important to say how much I love the character of Hypergirl. Everything about her. Her alter ego, Charley Matthews is a punk. Not the stereotypical punks you see on the telly, but more of the punks I knew growing up with my sister’s friends. She has an outlandish look with bright pink hair and piercings, but she couldn’t be a sweeter person when it comes to her friends. She has a rocky relationship with her foster parents and plays the cool cynic well, but when her friend is at risk of feeling neglected, she’ll make time to make sure he’s alright. I like Charley and it’s rare to read a character from a children’s book and say, “I know someone EXACTLY like that”.
The Hypersuit is excellently designed and shows the subtleties of her feminine figure (as opposed to having a pair of bangers slapping the reader’s face). There’s an excellent cheat of the suit where it goes into Hypermode which makes me wonder why Charley just doesn’t keep it in Hypermode all the time. The expressions on the mask and the cycloptic eye are perfectly simple and iconic. I love this suit and not too long ago, when I was drawing Hypergirl as a little ode to the indie comics that I love, I can see why Dave loves drawing her so much. A simple design that will withstand the test of time, definitely.
Overall I think Hypergirl is excellent. This and The Mighty Jambo are the newest heroes I’ve felt almost compelled to come up with my own stories (I’ve still got my fingers crossed for Christmas, George). I’m hoping the next book will have a more solid theme and less Mummies from Ancient Egypt, demons from alternative dimensions, a librarian from Buffy and an infinate library from Doctor Who. Hypergirl doesn’t need those references and influences, she’s a unique and brilliantly thought out character and I’ve got hope for the future of this excellent series.
Thanks for that thoughtful review :)
Indulge me, for a moment, while I talk about the villains in the first Hypergirl book, and our thinking behind them.
Hypergirl is a technologically based super hero, and we knew that we had two choices when it came to creating an arch nemesis for her. We could either go with her antithesis - and the antithesis of a technological character is a magical or supernatural one - or we could go with a dark reflection - that being another technological character who is like her in many ways but makes fundamentally different choices, resulting in them coming into conflict. Naturally, we looked to the most famous technological super hero for inspiration - Iron Man. Iron Man’s arch nemesis is the Mandarin, and while his rings have since been retconned into being alien technology, he was originally very much a supernatural character. The Mandarin was Stark’s antithesis, whereas Stark relied on modern technology, the Mandarin relied on ancient mysticism. Iron Man has many great technological foes, Titanium and Crimson Dynamo in particular, but the Mandarin has always been his most iconic foe. So, anyway, as I said, we had two big choices, antithesis or dark reflection, and we felt that for her debut story, pitting Charley against her antithesis would lead to a stronger, more powerful story. Charley has two things going for her - youth and technology, so her foes in the first book are ancient and supernatural.
Now, the plan for the second arc is to bring her into conflict with a character who is her dark reflection, a technological character whose differing life choices to Charley lead them to fight. But I don’t want to say too much about that character…because I don’t want to spoil things for you…