Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: The Mighty BedBug!

Today I will be reviewing a superhero who is a bit different from most heroes that you read about in the comic books.  Most of the time when you hear the term "single parent", you think of a single mother.  BedBug (created by Scott Rogers) happens to be a single father.  I think that's an important message to send to today's comic nerds - that raising your child is not some chore or imposition, it's the toughest labor of love that any of us will ever go through.  

BedBug is Buddy Sprang, an independently wealthy computer programmer.  As a child and on a dare from his brother Terry, Buddy leaped off the roof of his house superhero style, and ended up paralyzed from the waist down. Determined to work past his physical limitations, Buddy worked hard earning his fortune, and then, once having accomplished that, set about the task of creating the mechanical boots that he uses as BedBug, the leapin' lawman!  The boots allow Buddy to walk, but not only that, they allow him to leap six stories high.  So in the end, Buddy ends up living his childhood dream of being a superhero.  

Before we get into the story, it's time for the obligitory:

***WARNING!  Spoilers ahead!!***

If you haven't read BedBug and don't want having what's in it spoiled for you, 
then STOP READING NOW!  You have been warned!

The one thing I got from reading the stories in BedBug #1 is that family relations are important.  There is, of course, the father/daughter storyline of Buddy and his young daughter, Elvira.  However, what I found interesting and touching is when Buddy and his brother Terry were creating the BedBug boots.  The narration mentioned hope being the reason Buddy was doing this, and this of course, was Buddy's hope to walk again. 

For Terry, his reason was listed as guilt.  Terry was the one who encouraged Buddy to jump off the roof on that fateful day, and with the sort of close relationship that the brothers seem to have, it's not surprising that Terry would be carrying around guilt all this time.  Buddy, no doubt, has long forgiven Terry, because they were kids and he knew that Terry honestly believed with his childhood reasoning that Buddy could make the jump.  Still, Buddy couldn't walk, and Terry could never forget that he was the reason why.  It's touching to see such close family bonds being depicted.

The writers could have easily taken the usual comic book story shortcut of having Terry as the villain, being driven insane by jealousy because of the sympathy everyone gave Buddy.  Instead, the writers chose to emphasize their closeness.  This particular scene was very brief, but I felt it was significant enough to mention here, because such close familial bonds are not usually depicted in comics.  

But the main storyline of family bonds in BedBug is Buddy's relationship with his daughter, Elvira.  The mother is mentioned only in passing, and shown only in a photograph, and no reason is given as to why she and Buddy divorced, or how Buddy ended up having custody of Elvira.  I'm sure that will be a topic for a future story.  In any case, Buddy is the one raising Elvira, and he's doing it alone.  This means, of course, having to find sitters when he needs to do the hero thing.  How many other heroes have such worries?  LOL

One touching story involved the stress and worry Buddy undergoes allowing his daughter to go to a sleep-over for the first time.  Adding to this worry is a team-up of BedBug's villains!  So with the help of a superhero friend named Blue Tiger, they set off to stop the evil machinations of the villains led by one named the Boogeyman.  Somehow, some way, Boogeyman knows the secret identity of BedBug, but so far has chosen to not reveal it to anyone else, even his villain associates. 

That presents an interesting set of possibilities to ponder as to why Boogeyman has chosen to keep BedBug's secret identity to himself.  No doubt this will be revealed whenever more is learned about Boogeyman himself.  Perhaps Boogeyman hopes to use this knowledge as blackmail in a future story; that is, threatening to reveal BedBug's identity publicly if Buddy doesn't go along with whatever evil scheme he has cooked up at that time.

If this indeed plays out this way, then we'll see the true measure of the man, this Bedbug - that is, whether he will still do the right thing even in the face of the threat of being publicly revealed.  And I have no doubt that he will do the right thing when the time comes.  That's what superheroes do, after all. 

Last, I want to make mention of the unique style of art, because in today's era of Photoshopped art, you don't find very many examples of hand-drawn AND hand-colored art in comics.  Some comic companies might even view hand-colored comics as amateurish.  However, the hand-colored art in BedBug works very well, and for this reason: For me, it demonstrates how much the creators of BedBug love making this comic; that they'll go through the extent and extra work to hand-color the art.  It's a labor a love, and it's great to see.  And nicely done, I might add! 

Thanks for a fun read, guys!

Overall, BedBug #1 is a great book; definitely worth adding to your collection of Indy comics.  My #1 measure of a comic's worth is the answer to this question:  After reading the comic, if I ask "What happens next?", then it's a keeper.  And BedBug is definitely a keeper.  :-)

BedBug is now added to my list of Creators United titles on the sidebar you see over here.  ---->

If you love independent comics, then show these guys some love and buy their comics! 

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