The Dinglehopper

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Graphic Novel Review: Strong Female Protagonist Book One

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Strong Female Protagonist: Book One by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag available November 25th

SFP

With superstrength and invulnerability, Alison Green used to be one of the most powerful superheroes around.

Fighting crime with other teenagers under the alter ego Mega Girl was fun — until an encounter with Menace, her mind-reading arch enemy, showed her evidence of a sinister conspiracy, and suddenly battling giant robots didn’t seem so important.

Now Alison is going to college and trying to find ways to help the world while still getting to class on time. It’s impossible to escape the past, however, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a hero….

After a phenomenal success on Kickstarter, Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag bring their popular webcomic into print, collecting the first four issues, as well as some all-new, full-color pages!

I love Strong Female Protagonist. I’ve been reading the biweekly pages since almost the beginning. The story of a twenty year old college student that happened to have been the world’s most famous super hero would have been difficult to pass up.  It’s an idea the reconstruction had somehow failed to explore. That that hero was a woman made it impossible.

The first issue was dense, compelling, and emotional right away. It dealt with freshman life, super powered grudges, merchandising, celebrity, the kind of questions Jason Lee asked his dad in Mallrats, heroism, villainy, and identity. Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag had created a vibrant relatable world in shades of gray.

And they didn’t skimp on the superhero action.  The first flashback to Mega Girl’s teenaged superheroics features a battle with giant robots.  They’re no match for someone with autonomic somadynamism.

Did anyone ever say you hit like a girl?  ‘Cause you don’t!

Strong Female Protagonist is a webcomic, which almost always makes some folks wonder why they’d want to buy a print collection.  This same bizarre question gets asked about comic book trades as well.  Having the entire text to hand is incredibly satisfying.  It’s a faster, more coherent, more enjoyable read.  Green has redrawn and colored the chapter title pages and they’ve added a sometimes informational, sometimes clever footnote at the bottom of each page. And, of course, you can loan it to your friends.

I’m pretty sure that’s something you’ll want to do once you’ve read and reread your copy.  The drama, comedy, and tragedy are too much to keep to yourself.

Recommended for fans of Astro City, The First Law, and Once Upon a Time.

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