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mygif

I’m a bit surprised you hadn’t heard of it before now, John. SFP has been the darling of that particular niche of webcomicry for a couple years at least. (If you want a real headspin, try reading SFP and Grrl Power, which is an unapologetic celebration of the genre rather than a deconstruction of it also starring a relateable young super-powered lady, back to back.) If you’d discovered it a few months earlier you could have asked Chris to pick you up a lovely signed copy of the dead tree version when Molly Ostertag was at TCAF.

One of the interesting things about SFP’s world is how Alison is even set apart from other heroes of the setting. She’s basically Superman (even the fact that she went from ‘able to leap tall buildings’ to straight-up flight is a direct Superman parallel) in a universe that’s more like Marvel than like DC; she’s a near-invulnerable flying brick in a world where the next tier down is a Human Torch or Juggernaut equivalent (Furnace and Cleaver respectively.) So she has that extra degree of isolation even among the biodynamic.

And that sort of ties into these questions:

For example, “Why is it that you never see any superheroes with the power to generate cheap, pollution-free energy?” or “What practical use is super-strength and invulnerability in combating systemic social injustices like racism?” or “If Wolverine has a healing factor that strong, wouldn’t he do more good by just becoming an organ donor?”

It even goes a little beyond that, tho. Marvel and DC both have heroes who can do things like generate limitless cheap pollution-free energy (Firestorm, I’m looking at you), and Ostertag has carefully made sure there are none of those in her setting and even made it a plot point.

But it’s even more subtle than that. You know what else Mega Girl’s world doesn’t have? Magical scientists. It doesn’t have Tony Stark or Reed Richards or Ray Palmer or any one of a number of others I can, guys who are theoretically running technology and research companies in their home settings and routinely produce world-shattering miracles that never seem to shatter the world.

That straight-up just doesn’t exist among the biodynamic. Pintsize is actually not that interested in science, which he finds super hard and boring. Paladin is an excellent roboticist… who requires an entire team and massive resources to produce things that are only marginally more advanced than what you could get in the real world. She will not be building a mind-controlled prosthetic exoskeleton in a cave using scrap metal, because that’s actually ludicrous.

It’s easy to write all this off as Ostertag only putting in the level of superpowers she needs for her plot to work (there’s no story if among the biodynamic there was a Firestorm equivalent who transmutes all the excess carbon in the atmosphere into something more harmless and then acts as the linchpin for free fusion power, after all) but as you say, there are hints of something deeper and sinister there.

It’s a real classic of the genre. It displaced Hench Girl as my favorite online supers comic.

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mygif

@Murc: I think I heard of it vaguely when it was still on Issue One, marked it in my brain as, “Oh, yes, that sounds interesting,” and then never got back to it. That’s kind of one of the rough things about the Internet–there’s so much content out there that you can never signal-boost the good stuff enough, because that thing that you assume everyone’s heard of is someone else’s brand new discovery.

Like for example I now need to go look for Grrl Power. :)

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mygif

The latest chapter has been hot garbage, though.

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Wolfthomas said on September 4th, 2015 at 1:09 am

I’ll have to start reading.

One thing Wildcards explained well was in their universe most superpowers at the end of the day were some form of telekinesis. The Girl with wing might have hollow bones, but really they are just for steering, she’s flying in the same inexplicable way everyone else does.

But this also held true for all their inventor types. Whatever they built only worked because they were present and subtly powering it. So an iron man suit would only work for the guy who made it. Sometimes when they took an invention apart none of the circuitry would actually make any sense.

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mygif

There have occasionally been stories at Marvel and DC about someone trying to use super inventions or something to improve the world, but there’s always some reason it doesn’t work out. (Spider-Man’s deteriorating webbing actually makes real world sense. There are materials which will quickly polymerize or cross-link into super-strong fibers, but they tend to keep on doing so until they become brittle and crumble.)

Some independant comics have had this as part of the background. The _Abberant_ RPG had the “hypercombustion engine” and the economic changes it brought.

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mygif

I agree that the latest chapter has been kind of a mess — in particular, I dislike what they did with Menace. I have hopes that it may yet come together, though.

Totally worth reading, and highly recommended.

Doug M.

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mygif

Menace’s breakdown is likely related to Furnace/MegaGirl/Moonshadow/Cleaver recent “improvement” in their powers; only MegaGirl has handled that change remotely well. (And if that makes you worried for other supers, it probably should.)

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MightyMatilda said on September 6th, 2015 at 5:42 pm

I just came upon a few pages of Alison talking with Cleaver and MY GOD is Alison such a whiny shit. I wanted to yell at the comic for trying to present her as sympathetic, when she clearly is not.

The title of the comic already gave me some incredibly huge warning signs, so I can’t see myself reading this at all.

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mygif

I’ll also agree that the recent prolonged Menace conversation was kind of unclear, and not in a good way. But all in all, I greatly enjoyed the webcomic and I’m looking forward to more. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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mygif

The “whininess” was Allison venting; in context, she had some things to vent about. It works a lot better read as part of that whole sequence.

Doug M.

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