Spandex; a super superhero soap opera in the making….
Spandex # 1
by Martin Eden
Interesting new comic from Martin Eden, known in indie comic circles for his long running series The O-Men (30 odd issues and counting). This is his new superhero series and this first issue is meant to act as the merest introduction to the full 120 page Spandex book that he’s planning on releasing in 2010. Which means that this is really just a primer for the longer book, a taster, a temptation. And on that basis it works very well – it certainly piqued my interest enough to be on the lookout for the book when it’s out.
The first thing to say about it is how bloody colourful the thing is – no dour, grey, moody super-types here, these are all multi-coloured, bright characters with personalities and emotions to match:
(The Spandex line-up, bright, sexy young things. From Martin Eden’s Spandex)
And what characters they are: Diva, Glitter, Mr Muscles, Butch, Prowler, Indigo and Liberty make up the Spandex team and they’re facing off against villains such as Pussy, 50 Foot Queenie, Bimbo and Les Girls. And if you didn’t already know and haven’t worked it out by now, this is a very gay superhero comic with some decidedly grown up themes as Martin explores the complex sexual dynamics of this super-team. We have every sexuality under the rainbow here, all played with a gentle humour and a lightness of touch that means it’s always light, bright and fun (well, it is right up until the last few panels anyway).
This first issue has two strips, featuring Spandex at work and at play. In the first, they face off against the threat of the 50ft Lesbian and in the second we get to peer a little deeper under the masks (and the costumes) of this multi-coloured crew. It all raises far more questions about the characters than it answers and even gives us a shocking cliffhanger of an ending – which is just what you want for a taster first issue. And as the “dvd extras” we get a nicely designed superhero “Hello” style pictorial with Martin giving us a little of the lowdown on his new playthings.
(Attack of the 50ft Lesbian – should give you an idea of the light hearted tone Spandex seems to be aiming for I think?)
It’s all very well done, tripping along nicely with just enough action, just enough character development to make it a well balanced and enticing thing. Personally I’m really hopeful that it doesn’t descend into just another superhero comic territory and concentrates more on unravelling the lives and loves of the characters but having read up a little on the O-Men, it looks like Martin’s quite capable of pulling off the super-hero soap opera aspect I’m looking forward to.
The artwork is bright and breezy, with a minimal line and wrapped in those lush colours I’ve been going on about. All in all, it’s an impressive start. The one real fault I have is with Martin’s timing. I can see the idea behind releasing a first issue taster book and then bringing out the rest in book form. But the book will be late in 2010 at least, so I can’t help feeling Martin’s jumping the gun with this release a little. But never mind, he’s said that in between releases he’ll be doing a few mini-comics to keep our interest up. Like I said right at the start, I’ll be revisiting Spandex whenever the book appears and I’m really hoping it keeps up the slightly risqué fun of this first, tantalising glimpse.
(Salutations Spandex indeed, the team relax and go their separate ways, but one of them may not be back….. which one? You’ll find out in good time.)
Matthew Badham interviewed Martin right here on the FPI blog back in 2008 – lots of interesting insights into the technicolour world that is Spandex in there. And Martin’s got lots of homes online: The O-Men website, Spandex website and a Facebook page for Spandex amongst others. You can pick up copies of Spandex in physical form for £3.50 or a £1 pdf download from the Spandex Shop.