I'm a sucker for a great superhero tale -- and therein lies the rub. I love the comic book medium with a passion, and am consistently amazed by the adventures found there ... tales that simply cannot be told in other media, because of the unique strengths of the graphic novel format. And I love superhero stories because I wish I could run really really fast, and because heroes, of course, represent the very best of what we humans can be, given the right circumstances.
But I mentioned I'm a sucker for a great superhero tale -- emphasis on the word great. Yarns about capes are a dime-a-dozen these days, which is why my standards are exacting and high. My favorite superhero stories must be engaging, deliver on some familiar tropes, and -- in the end -- give me something new and interesting to chew on.
I've found my next favorite superhero story. It can't be found in a comic book, and it might not even be about a hero. It's too early to tell where the story's going ... but I have a feeling it's going to be a fun ride.
Meet Cliff, a vanilla guy in a vanilla white-collar gig. He's the unlikely star in Jay Lynn's new "audio comic book" Metamediocrity. The podcast fiction project was recently updated with episode two; I've listened to episode one and enjoyed the hell out of it. Why? Because vanilla character Cliff doesn't stay vanilla for very long.
By the third paragraph in episode one of Metamediocrity, we learn that hapless Cliff recently scored some superpowers in the most unlikely of ways:
"Essentially, I was blanket rolled by a couple of punk kids, out for a joy ride in a stolen space ship. They had managed to strong-arm their way through several star systems, thieving whatever thy could get their hands on. Unfortunately for me, they had also managed to put their hands on a piece of equipment called a biomutagenic reactor. As you can guess, the words mutagenic and reactor do not imply safe and happy technology. Not only are these things highly illegal, but also highly unstable. They’re capable of rewriting your DNA from the ground up..."
The side-effects of Cliff's close encounter are masterfully delivered in episode one, and I dare not spoil it for you here. In addition to Cliff's appearance in the episode, the character's childhood buddy Adam -- a present-day IT guru and stoner -- plays heavily in the ep, and is a scene-stealer.
This is fun, imaginative, outside-the-longbox superhero storytelling ... and I can't wait to see what Jay Lynn is cooking up in future installments.
In the meantime, I suggest checking out Metamediocrity. If your standards for great superhero stories are like mine, you'll likely agree: if hapless Cliff can transcend his own mediocrity, he might be the next big thing.