Super Frat, a comic published by Silent Devil, is the story of a group of college-age males living in their own fraternity house off the campus of Ryesmore University, who have each been endowed with super powers. The 48-page comic is divided in half: the first half consisting of short, three panel comic strips that one would normally see in the Sunday funny pages. The second half has a normal comic book layout telling one story, the characters capture and escape from Homeland Security.
It is within the three panel shorts that this book makes its most promising contributions to the comics world. Here, each comic strip is a chapter of a longer running story. The strip’s quick quips and one-liners work well within the author’s style. They are often able to focus in on that one particular moment and bring light to it, leaving the reader laughing, while they scroll their eyes to the next strip. Unfortunately, it is often the art which detracts from the overall effect of the strips. At times, it looks rough, sloppy, or rushed. If we should take away any thing from the major comic publishers, it is that deadlines are quickly becoming a thing of the past, focusing more on consistent writing and especially consistent artwork (taking note of the delays of Marvel’s Civil War).
The second half of the book seems to try to grasp at the poor quality of the art in the comic strips, becoming tighter and better organized, but instead the writing takes a back seat. Several attempts at jokes fall off as rundown and clichéd. I wouldn’t focus on the comedic aspect so much, except that there really is very little action throughout the Homeland Security story to keep the reader wholly interested. You need one of two things to really keep someone reading your book: a compelling story or one kick-ass fight, and this story lacks both. And where it could have made up for it, in its comedy, it failed to do so. One of the few highlights of the second half of the book were the “letters” from the Dean himself, at first displaying encouragement for the comic and that it would shed a positive light on the college, but the second letter showing absolute disgust for what the Dean had seen of the comic, but this does not make up for the former.
Super Frat does grasp the basics of college life. The cover so proudly portrays it, “Drink Beer, Get Laid, Fight Crime.” While the first two are prominent focal points of the book, the third is barely grazed. Drinking beer and getting laid echoes vehemently with all college kids everywhere (and is the obvious hook for the book’s targeted audience), but in real life, we don’t have super powers. I have imagined countless times what it would have been like to possess powers of a super natural sort on campus, and my friends and I would discuss this for hours (Really! We would often be drunk too!), but I know that I would not have spent so much time drinking as I would have spent flying, if I had the ability. If any one of us really had some sort of super power, would we waste all of our time with beer and drugs? Don’t worry about getting laid. Once the ladies could see that you could defy gravity, they would come flocking, but the characters seem to squander their powers and the authors seem to be squandering a terrific idea.