Monday, July 26, 2021

Dojo Classics - The Complete 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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  1. Interesting to see all those cover comparisons, RJ. Are there any where you thought the 'homage' was better than the original?

    1. No one of the homages is superior to its inspiration but they are excellent still. These were extra nifty when such inspired swipes weren't so commonplace.

  2. I read a few issues but the parodies couldn't sustain enough interest for me. I enjoyed the Roll Call of the Legion of Superfluous Heroes. I probably laughed out loud at the name "Ample Lass".

    1. The roll call is a hoot and a half. Valentino was very effective in spoof and his style well suited it, but alas I cannot say I love his more serious work all that much.