Recent Reads: Strong Female Protagonist (Vols 1 & 2)
I got volume 2 of SFP for Christmas, which totally surprised me, even though months ago (perhaps longer) Ted had said to me, “SFP Kickstarter! Should I? It won’t be out until December!” and I said, “Oh, yes! It can be a nice Christmas present for me!” And it was! A very surprising one! :)
I re-read the first one leading up to v2, as it had been a while. One of the things I enjoy about sort of…early career comics? is watching the art style develop. (This is why I ended up reading Questionable Content, and why it makes me want to do SOME kind of little web comic of my own…) SFP’s art is still pretty rough at the end of v1, but it’s matured a *lot* by the end of v2, so that was kind of fun and exciting to watch.
To be frank, I liked the story of v1 better. V2, *especially* the first half, felt very didactic to me, and specifically didactic toward an audience that I presume is already predisposed to agree with its thesis. Very much a case of “the people who most need to read this probably won’t,” although, I don’t know, perhaps–hopefully–it is in fact reaching people for whom its thoughts are important and revelatory.
That said, halfway through v2 there’s a marked improvement. Honestly, v2 feels like v2 & v3, but left on its own the first half is *so* lecture-y I can’t imagine many people picking up a third volume voluntarily. They wisely avoided that problem by making it all one book, and the second half was quite enjoyable, especially the philosophical arguments chapter, which I enjoyed enormously both in content and in structure (I can’t remember which philosopher’s strategy they employed, but I recognized it as a philosophical structure and was ridiculously pleased with them).
Overall I…I appreciate what they’re trying to do. They’re taking the idea I played with in Take A Chance, which is: “what if superheroes were real, how would they deal with actually functioning in the real world?” and have pushed it much, much farther than I was interested in doing. They’re tackling a lot of big ideas and trying to push a narrative that tells us, simply, that we can be heroes. All of us. And I love that. I love what they’re aiming for, and so although I feel that they stumbled somewhat in implementation with volume 2, they’re offering an inspiring message that I believe strongly in. Ultimately, I look forward to more.