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posted November 5, 2013
Self-Published, oversized, 20 pages, 2013, $8.
Ordering Numbers: Available Here
In a short written piece included in its pages, illustrator and arts educator David Plunkert explains this labor of love project as a paean to the comics of his youth. This includes those that were published and he read, as signified by the junk ads and overall bombastic presentational style, and those that he created, as represented by the core content. Taking Plunkert at his word, and we have no reason not to, these one-page comics star slightly more adult interpretations of the comics he created as a child rather than those he created now in the spirit of those times. The stories featuring oddities like The Human Brain and The Encapsulated Man bristle with the crazy energy of the single-digit aged creative mind, but reach for a kind of poignancy through their own awkwardness that would only come with a few decades of real-world experience.
I think Heroical
settles into the upper rank of similarly-conceived hand-crafted books. It's in no way a transcendent comic that demands anyone track it down simply for the power of the work on the page, but I certainly enjoyed reading it and I have to imagine anyone with an appetite for this kind of thing as described would find something to regard with kindness here, too. The limited world experienced by a child -- or Plunkert thinking as a child -- allows for reliably comedic solutions to fears and concerns that might from an older creator be treated in more sophisticated and less openly touching ways. A suit of armor that protects a boy from the horrors of war until all the horrors are destroyed is obvious in the very best way. Plunkert's art feels playful, and the ambition of some of the page design borders on arch commentary of its own, the way the artistic impulse seizes on specific ideas as everything in the world, even borrowed or second hand, like a crazy driver determined to find their final destination by charging down every side road and cul de sac. This was a charmer, and I hope there are more to come.