SuperMutant Magic Academy – Review
I don’t know that I remember when newspaper comics were important or good. I read Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes and The Boondocks (published in the last gasps of the medium) but I think they were already in reprints or collections. Most of my memories of newspaper comics come from my parents explaining how important they used to be.
But, if there were an alternate timeline in which Sunday comics hadn’t sunk with the newspapers, in that world, everyone would be reading SuperMutant Magic Academy.
This book is sweet, subtle, and smart. If you miss a joke, it’s not because the humor’s not in there, it’s because the jokes are delicately constructed and reward close attention. SMMA’s characters are careful refinements of the classic archetypes. They have a unique vision of superherodom laid over top of them. A more real version of super powers, that’s not about fighting evil but instead concerned about how to be an artist or what it’s like to have a gay crush on your straight best friend.
Jillian Tamaki’s story doesn’t capture the entire high school experience, it tackles a very specific high school experience and that makes it so much more compelling.