Side-by-side of the original strip 1 and a recreation.

It was recently put across to me that Chapter One of The SuperFogeys, “Insane Romance From Hell,” is the number one barrier SF has for attracting new readers. I didn’t disagree.

This same person told me that, in their opinion, SuperFogeys is easily as good if not better than anything DC or Marvel are putting out these days. High praise, but why the disconnect? If SF is that good, then why is Chapter One so bad?

If you’ve read the chapter, of course you know. Chapter One plays out the way you think a comic strip about old superheroes in a nursing home would: gag-a-day, old people jokes, stiff characters, parody and bad-to-barely-acceptable art. It has its charms. I still think strip 12 is one of the best jokes I’ve ever done. The last strip is essential to the overall SF mythology. But the rest? Doesn’t feel–or look–like what SuperFogeys very quickly turned into. Compare Chapters 1 and 2. Big difference.

I wish I could go back. I’d love to redo Chapter One, make it shorter and more concise and… pretty. I’d probably take the Operation: Valhalla story and the Third Man’s introduction and incorporate it. I’d probably make it a proper introduction to the world of Valhalla and include a lot more background characters. I’d make the whole kidnapping business with Spy Gal much shorter and less complicated. I’d make Dr. Rocket a bit less of a dirty old man.

I’d set up the mystery and the dynamics between the characters and get out. And I’d make it look GOOD. A real enticement for what follows.

Who knows? Maybe one day it will be worth doing. I’m loathe to change history, but I think it’s true–new readers who check out Chapter One do not really learn the first thing about what SuperFogeys really is. Would anyone call SF a parody anymore? Probably not.

I dunno. I wish I knew the solution here. Is there a chapter that’s better to jump in on? 4? 7? Maybe the upcoming 13. I could see that.

What do you think? Is Chapter One that bad?

I mean. This:

24 - Too Little Too Late

Right? Right??