Comic Book Coffee, number 120: The Hero Business: Coffee Break Special and The Hero Business: Season One, written & drawn by Bill Walko, published in 2014 and 2015.
The Hero Business is a parody of superheroes featuring a marketing firm that specializes in super-powered clients. As creator Bill Walko explains:
“Inspiration struck when I thought of melding my marketing experience with the world of costumed crusaders. What if there was a marketing agency just for superheroes? An entity that arranged those seemingly accidental team-ups? An agent negotiating your center spot in super-team group shots? A crisis management expert to cover up the less-than-heroic antics of the world’s greatest heroes? Much like real life, these super celebrities would be backed by a clever (and sometimes unscrupulous) unseen marketing machine.”
What I really like about The Hero Business is that it is genuinely enjoyable. Too many superhero parodies come across as mean-spirited; it feels like their main purpose is to point out how stupid superheroes are, and to act all snarky, with a “We’re much too cool & clever for this childish stuff” attitude to them. The Hero Business, on the other hand, really embraces the fun and zaniness of the genre.
The cover to The Hero Business: Coffee Break Special is a homage by Walko to All-Star Squadron #1 by Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano. This 2014 special collected together a number of the “Coffee Break” one page strips.
On the other two pages, taken from The Hero Business: Season One, we see firm’s new receptionist Parker Jameson jumping feet first into the biz, with head of public relations Morgan Sinclair offering the new hire a cup of coffee and bringing her up to speed. The scene is a good example of Walko’s cute, sexy art style and the light, clever banter he gives the colorful cast of characters.
Freelance artist Bill Walko has been doing The Hero Business as a web comic since 2010. The series has been collected into two trade paperbacks, with a third in the works to be funded by a current Kickstarter campaign. (There’s still a few hours left to show your support!) Walko has also done work for DC Comics, Archie Comics and Action Lab Entertainment, as well as The New York Times.