The Strange Talent of Luther Strode from @ImagecomicsBy Andrew Leslie
Posted on October 7, 2011
It is a fair bet that a Venn Diagram of “people who read comics” and “people who were bullied in high school” would have a crowded intersection. That’s not denigrating comic fans, but as comic fans are usually unafraid to stand out from the crowd they are also targets of ridicule amongst those whose identity is so desperately rooted in being the king of the crowd. Anyone who doesn’t want to be a part of that crowd is seen as a threat to the crown and is dealt with accordingly. THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE puts the king on notice by asking, as Brodie from MALLRATS puts it, “you think just because a guy reads comics he can’t start some shit?”
In THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE, written by Justin Jordan, art by Tradd Moore, and coloring by Felipe Sobreiro, Luther Strode is a slightly below average high school student. He shares all the hallmarks of your classic underdog: his mother needs his protection, he has a crush on a girl (Petra) that’s way out of his league, his best friend is a lovable idiot and he’s picked on relentlessly by the school’s biggest jerky jock. So like any rational comic fan he orders a body-building course from the back of a comic book, called the Hercules Method (you know the one, right next to the sea monkeys and X-Ray specs) to man up and take on life’s problems. As is the case in these kinds of stories – be careful what you wish for, because you just may get it (by the metric tonne in Luther’s case).
Justin Jordan is writer of THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE and while the theme of story is an archetype most comic readers are very familiar with, Jordan’s execution makes THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE stand out on the cluttered racks of your local comic shop (well that and the carpal tunnel inducingly long name argh!). Luther Strode may be a piece of Melba toast with glasses physically, but this Voorhees High student (a nod to the Friday the 13th movies) clearly has the Eye of the Tiger. Despite his initial physical cream-puffery, Strode has a rare blend of tenacity, temerity and integrity that endears him to the reader and seems to pair well with his newfound talents. There’s also a mysterious B-story involving some bandaged creepers who appear to be quite the bad asses and their librarian overseer who shares some of Luther’s recently acquired skills.
The art in STRODE is sick n’ twisted and brought to you in living, bleeding color by the team of Moore & Sobriero. Moore’s creations have a wide range of characterization conveying angsty teen awkwardness, completely demented demeanors and utter terror. The action is halfway between horrific and hilarious meeting somewhere in the middle giving STRODE a distinguishable visual style. Sobriero’s colors parallel the line work, going toe-to-toe with Rob Guillory in terms of choice and detail for the comedic scenes, but can also shift into a darker (or redder) tone for the horror-themed scenes creating a shocking contrast. Hopefully Sobriero is getting reimbursed from Image for the amount of crimson he’s spilling on the page!
So why is The Strange Talent of Luther Strode so Freakin’ Awesome? Because Jordan, Moore & Sobriero strike a balance between hyper-violent and hyper-funny to create something wholly entertaining in a Toxic Avenger meets Chew meets Prime (from the old Ultraverse line) kind of way. It’s off-beat, but not schlocky and touches on some of the more morally ambiguous aspects of having superpowers. If Lloyd Kaufman ever got wind of this comic and put the film version into production – he’d be able to keep Troma Films afloat for another 40 years just off the profits of LUTHER STRODE the movie.
Visit http://thestrangetalentoflutherstrode.com/ for exclusive Luther Strode newsbits and extras. You can also follow the creators of this comic on Twitter @TraddMoore, @Justin_Jordan @therealsobreiro so hit them up there and tell them how much you love their comic (after you buy it!) and be sure to tell them the F.A.N. sent you!
As always you can follow me @dethfilm to stayed clued in to all of the Freakin’ Awesome reviews, comic giveaways and daily ramblings.