Superheroes dream of the big time: interdimensional crises, an arch-nemesis, a tricked-out lair. But Faith Erin Hicks' The Adventures of Superhero Girl reminds us that even superheroes have to start somewhere — with saving cats, shared apartments, and government stipends.
Superhero Girl is a twenty-something Halifaxian fresh off her first year of professional superheroing. But the streets of Nova Scotia aren't exactly mean, and SG spends a great deal of time rescuing cats from trees and longing for the day she sees some real action. In the meantime, she has to deal with the same headaches as her peers — from doing laundry (though most folks don't have to worry about shrinking their capes) to living in the shadow of her incredibly successful and nauseatingly popular older brother.
The earliest strips of The Adventures of Superhero Girl, which Hicks has been publishing in the Halifax alt weekly The Coast and recently started posting online, deal with the more mundane moments of superhero life. But as the series progresses, it deals more with the trials and tribulations of being a superhero who's just starting out. It's bad enough when your passion doesn't pay the bills, but it's especially frustrating when villains crash your job interview. And then there's the challenge of being taken seriously as a superhero when you don't look the part (and you keep forgetting to take off the mask when you're in your civvies). It's a clear metaphor for anyone who's had to forge their own career path without much of a roadmap, but Hicks infuses it with an easy charm, plus a healthy dose of ninjas and monsters from outer space.