Ever heard of Stardust the Super Wizard? Well up until very recently I hadn’t, and since I consider myself somewhat of a comic book aficionado I was quite troubled when I learned that Stardust is in fact a character that hails from the Golden Age of Comics. Yes friends, Stardust was created by Fletcher Hanks and first published in Fantastic Comics near the tail end of 1939.
Stardust had a rather short lifespan, but has garnered somewhat of a cult following over the years…but that is not exactly why we are here. No sir, we are here to take a look at Joey Peters‘ brand new take on the character in a book called The Super Wizard Returns! Based on the aforementioned character, The Super Wizard Returns acts as a sort of sequel to Stardust’s adventures from way back when, and it’s a bit of a wacky one so strap yourselves in for our relatively spoiler-free review!
By the time of the events of The Super Wizard Returns, Stardust has put together “The Sixth Column,” a group tasked with protecting the planet Earth so our hero can take a much needed vacation. Stardust has also provided humankind with fantastic technology to aid them in securing peace and making scientific advancements, so he figures “why not take my girlfriend on a guided tour of the Universe for all of eternity?” Smooth move there guy, and I have already made a note of the whole “tour of the Universe” thing in my handmade “meet wife” instruction guide (serious claim made only partially in jest).
What Stardust doesn’t count on is that the Universe, like most things, is kind of boring. As such, his girlfriend Rosemary is quickly disenchanted with the wonders of all of existence and whines and complains about needing “human contact,” or some other such thing (note to self: Universe tour NOT a good idea after all), which prompts Stardust to take her back to Earth. What he almost fails to tell Rosemary is that since they had been traveling at break-neck, hyper-light speed (real scientific term), they have experienced time at a much slower rate than the rest of humankind; seventy-four years have gone by, to be exact! Well ain’t that a kick in the head!
By the time Stardust and Rosemary return to Earth, humans have reverse engineered and abused the technology given to them by Stardust (surprise, surprise), and The Sixth Column lay in ruin all thanks in part to Stardust’s old sparring partner, Yew Bee. It’s up to Stardust to defeat Yew Bee and set things straight, but it won’t be easy. The people of Earth are sick of the way Stardust seems to think he can police the world, and since they have gotten on without him for nearly a century, not everyone is happy to see him return.
Ah yes, that is the main antagonist of The Super Wizard Returns, Yew Bee. Now admittedly I went into this book knowing next to nothing of the characters or Peters’ work, for that matter. What I can tell you is that The Super Wizard Returns tells a relatively serious story (that features a “space god”), but contains many witty moments and also at least a few laugh out loud moments. This wasn’t something I was expecting so when I first laid eyes on Yew Bee in his little…bed, I was not sure what to feel. It was grotesque, sure, but it made me giggle a little bit.
As I made my way through The Super Wizard Returns I found myself laughing more and more; almost like my brain had to adjust to Peters’ script, which is a script that I think is pretty unique in its execution. Like I said, there are some witty moments scattered throughout the book that use simple panel jumps to mimic the sort of quick jabs you might see on a show like The Simpsons or Family Guy. At first they were easy to miss, but once I realized that The Super Wizard Returns is working on some comedic level, each moment came across as well crafted and easy to recognize.
The artwork in The Super Wizard Returns is also done by Peters, as is the lettering. The artwork is nice, if a little rough around the edges sometimes, but I think it works well for this story. Something that stood out to me was that Peters hand drew all the panel lines, seemingly without the use of a ruler. Make no mistake, I do not mean this as a negative at all. I quite enjoyed the look of the pages as I went through the book, and along with the handwritten lettering it was very refreshing to be reading a comic that wasn’t polished to perfection with the use of one of those newfangled “computer software programs” that everyone keeps talking about. The Super Wizard Returns has a charm all its own and I think if given the chance, people will certainly realize that.
Just as an aside, you may have noticed a marked lack of spoilers in this review so far. Well, that is because The Super Wizard Returns has yet to be released and I wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun for you readers out there! After having read through the review copy a couple times I can safely say that this book would be an excellent addition to any collector’s shelf (or…hard drive), and as a fan of creator-owned, independent comic books, The Super Wizard Returns ticks all the right boxes for yours truly. Something worth mentioning is that this book contains a fair amount of “language,” as they say, so it is most certainly not for kids.
Lastly, and most importantly, help Joey Peters reach his intended goal over at the Super Wizard Kickstarter page and pick up some of those sweet rewards! Some include Peters’ previous work bundled with The Super Wizard Returns, such as World’s Greatest Lumberjack…yeah…you know you want a book with a title like that. Heck, I know I need a book with a title like that. So get out there and give Peters a hand (monetary aid), all while getting some great new comics!
Will you be picking up The Super Wizard Returns? Let us know what you think in the comments section and on our Twitter page!