Saturday, September 21, 2013

Everything's normalman!



This is an exceedingly fun black and white comic book volume that likely needs to be in every true blue comic book fan's collection somewhere. For relatively small money you can own The Complete normalman by Jim Valentino. Valentino, one of the guys who would become part of the infamous Image group started his comics journey with this satire on the superhero comic which posited a "normal man" on a world overrun with supermen, superwomen, superteens, and such.



normalman began as a try-out back-up feature in Dave Sim's Cerebus, specifically issues fifty-six and fifty-seven. Then as quick as that it leaped into its own self-titled comic run from the Aardvark-Vanaheim brand. What we get is a romp of a soap opera with all manner of gags and comic book tropes getting trounced before our very eyes. It's a wild ride, but a familiar one to anyone who has  read as many classic comics as folks likely to frequent this blog have done.

The covers to the series are remarkable in that each is a spoof of a different genre and most feature a particularly famous classic comic book cover turned more than a bit sideways for our viewing pleasure. Here they are, many with their inspirations.









normalman even makes a guest appearance in Aardvark-Vanaheim's Journey series, a clever spin on the marketing the character often ridicules.







Then thee came a change, and this is where I left the series originally many moons ago. Aardvark-Vanaheim underwent a split as Dave Sim and his wife parted ways each taking some of the titles with them. normalman became part of the Renegade Press brand after one joint offering.



Renegade Press then went on to finish the original storyline.








The story wrapped up appropriately in the normalman 3-D annual in 1986.


Slave Labor Graphics collected the saga in 1987. And that was all she wrote for normalman and his pals for many years.



Then after the aforementioned Image brand was ignited Jim Valentino dusted off normalman for a one-off romp with Donald Simpson's Megaton Man as well as many other Indy stars of bygone eighties.



In 2004 normalman celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a new story, the last to date.



All this comics goodness can be found in glorious black and white in the pages of The Complete normalman.

Dig up a copy if you can, it's well worth the effort, especially for those who are tired of paying too much for too little entertainment.

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2 comments:

  1. I think you're incorrect on the Asterix tie-in. Seems visually they were going for a Classics Illustrate look.

    I still have Normalman 3-D, the special limited edition NON-3-D version numbered and signed by Valentino and Deni.

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    1. Actually I think it's both the Classics Illustrated nod with the Asterix cover tribute. I was stumped by that one until I found the Asterix connection. I'm still stumped by the Elfquest cover, though I suspect the image has more to do with the Smurfs than the Elves.

      I got some of these at the time they were coming out, but quit about the time the time Renegade started. I've since gathered the back issues and then later the collected volume. I'd still like a look at the Slave Labor volume, I bet it's nicely done.

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