This week's "Fringe Benefits" column is up on the Newsarama blog. It's a review of Paul Jenkins and Chris Moreno's Sidekick, which is a really funny superhero parody.
"I don’t usually like superhero parody a whole lot. It’s an overdone subgenre and most of the parodies I’ve read just repeat the same tired jokes endlessly. I’d list a couple of examples for you, but honestly it makes my head hurt to think about. I actually am pretty fond of superhero comics and dwelling on their worst qualities isn’t something I enjoy. If I find a particular aspect of superhero comics unappealing or ridiculous, I’ll just quit reading comics that have that trait. I certainly don’t want to read a parody comic that highlights it and makes it the center of focus.
"Sidekick isn’t that kind of parody. I actually had to think about the word “parody” for a bit to decide if it even applies to Sidekick, but I think it does. Certainly there are some fun, silly superhero comics that get inappropriately labeled as parody, but they’re more celebrating the genre than making fun of it. It’s the difference between laughing with someone and laughing at him. Let me repeat that it’s certainly valid to laugh at superhero comics; I’d just prefer that comics that do that be, you know, actually funny. And that’s what separates Sidekick from the usual parody."
More at the link.