The Mudman Cometh

I’ve been a huge fan of Paul Grist’s Jack Staff for some time, going so far as to call it the best superhero comic on the stands (back in 2008). I still maintain that if you like superhero comics, you should check this series out. It’s a lot of fun, it’s got exciting art from a guy who really knows his stuff, and well-developed characters.

Grist now has a new comic out, which is on its second issue:

I bought the first issue digitally via comiXolgy last month and enjoyed it, but like many first issues, it’s hard to really talk about at first. The other day I bought the second issue (there was a problem with digital purchases on my iPad that prevented me from getting it earlier) and read it and I think I’m in for the long haul on this one, in case there was any doubt.

Mudman is familiar territory. A young man with a dull life acquires strange new powers and uses them to fight crime. We’ve been there before, and we keep going there, because it’s sort of the ur-story of superhero comics. It’s the reason they exist. It’s like a sonnet or a three-panel gag strip or a three-chord progression in a rock song, it’s something that creators go to because of the limitations, to see what they can do within them.

So far (and again, there are only two issues) Grist has not done anything earth-shatteringly innovative here, but he does take this familiar storyline and infuse it with his usual dynamism and fun. Grist’s comics are a joy to read. That alone is worth the price.

There is also the excitement about getting in on the ground level of something good. Grist loves making worlds and tying characters together, and Jack Staff evolved into a rotating cast of memorable characters who often outshone the title superhero. The idea of seeing that happen again is intriguing, and Grist seems to have already started doing so in Mudman.

I’m pretty sure that Jack Staff was kid-friendly (or at least, not kid-inappropriate) though I don’t remember for certain. Maybe there were some swears? Anyhow, it seems that Mudman is, so all you folks who complain about no good fun comics for kids might want to check this out.

And seriously, if you like superhero comics (even just a little), I will stake what little reputation I have on Mudman being one you will want to follow.

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