I don’t think this strip will give you too much trouble if you haven’t read it, but if you want more background of these “new” characters from Star Maiden’s past, why not give her origin a read? I think you’ll be glad you did.



After spending nearly four years in the SuperFogeys universe (September 22nd is the official anniversary), I sometimes wonder if I look at it through rose-colored glasses. I mean, I’m sure I don’t see SF properly. The SF I see is the one in my head and that’s very different from the one you experience reading about it. I think an author needs years away from his creation to see what he’s actually done. In my mind, SF is a fun, thought-provoking, sometimes devastating sometimes funny take on superheroes. I both take it seriously and I don’t. Which is as it should be.

When I first created SF, it was just a simple parody. I think it’s a lot more than that now, but that’s where it started. Even so, I made a real effort to make it not LOOK like a simple parody. I’d seen other superhero knockoffs. Some good, most bad. I’d even seen superheroes done by other companies not named DC or Marvel. To my eye, there was something glaring missing from all of them. I didn’t see any superheroes that were as well designed or as iconic as those at DC and Marvel.

Now, there’s a lot that goes into making something iconic. Time can be a pretty big factor. I’m not sure Daredevil’s costume is all that great, but it’s been around for so long that it seems classic. A costume like Spider-Man’s will always be visually arresting just because it’s such a perfect design. Superman? Amazing how right they got that one considering he was also the first.

Most superheroes outside of the DC and Marvel universe tend to have either overly complicated costumes (think WildC.A.T.s or Stormwatch) or boring and weird costumes (not a fan of Invincible’s outfit, either incarnation) that don’t mean much. Weird shapes that ignore the natural lines of the body and unnecessary straps and detail mark those costumes. Too many colors, too.

When it came time to design the SF characters, I knew I wanted something iconic. I forgot to add “different” because the first design for Captain Spectacular was an almost exact copy of Superman’s, right down to the colors. That outfit lasted through half of Chapter 2 before Th3rd World convinced me to change it and I had to retroactively implement the familiar yellow and blue number you see him in now.

Early SuperFogeys Promo Image (If you can’t see this image, click here.)

Swift was a character I never designed a costume for, only a headpiece. This made it difficult for T.L. Collins when it came time to draw a SuperFogeys Origin with Swifty in it and we ended up with something that was so close to the Flash that I had to later actually sit down and design something different. (T.L. retroactively changed those pages as well, I just haven’t gotten around to uploading them yet.)

Swifty Redesign (If you can’t see this image, click here.)

Yet despite those speedbumps (which are now, as noted, corrected) I’d say I have finally arrived at costumes and a look for the SF characters that is iconic. They all look like something you’ve seen before, but none of them are exactly like any one pre-existing character.

I think the key, for me, was simplicity. Sticking to one or two colors per outfit and streamlining everything down to the bare minimum to acheive a design was the most important decision I made in designing the characters. You take away any one element from any of their costumes and the whole design would be thrown out of whack.

Now that I’ve spent some time with them, to me they are iconic. I don’t see faux Superman and faux Wonder Woman and faux Flash. I see Captain Spectacular, Star Maiden and Swifty.

Maybe I’m the only one. Maybe I’ve just spent so much time thinking about these characters and their lives and their feelings that they’re a little more real to me and I can separate them from their inspirations that much more easily.

Maybe. I wonder what a new fan coming in sees. What does an longtime fan see? Do these characters stand well on their own in appearance? Do you need to read the stories and get invested in the characters first? Once you do get invested, do you see them as their own characters, quite apart from their obvious roots?

I wonder. One day the SF story will be over. I know how it will end and I hope it stands well as a piece when that time comes. I think a big part of whether or not that happens is whether or not SF can be viewed as it’s own thing and not simply a derivation of what has come before. If that’s all it ends up being, then I guess I didn’t get it quite right and I was looking at it through rose-colored glasses. It might even be okay if that’s the case.

But I do wonder.



On Tuesday Soviet Sam becomes the face to a familiar voice.

Then, on Thursday, we’ll see just what it was that Starbrighter and Bezuel did to Star Maiden. 10 bucks says this doesn’t go well.