REVIEW: ‘Real Hero Shit,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Real Hero Shit

Real Hero Shit is a fantasy graphic novel written and illustrated by Kendra Wells, with Amanda Lafrenais as color flatter and Abby Lerhke as proofreader. Other publishing credits include Kel McDonald as editor and Beth Scorzato, responsible for book design. Published through Iron Circus Comics, during its initial run on Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, the book reached its funding goal in less than one hour and is currently in the Top 10 most-backed graphic novels in Kickstarter history. A pampered prince joins an adventuring party with some pretty unique personalities to uncover corruption, old friends, and new bonds along the way.

There’s a prince of the Kingdom of Marble who is, for lack of better phrasing, is significantly extra. If you look up the phrase in an urban fantasy dictionary knock-off, Prince Eugene, demonic playboy prince, would be there taking up the entire page with flair. Leaving the castle one day, he stumbles upon a group ready to hit the road with adventure on the brain and a mission to fulfill. With much exaggeration and groaning, the crown prince joins Michel, Hocus, and Ani as they travel to uncover why people have been missing and what nefarious authority figures are behind it all. Michel assumes the leader position, a scarred half-elven rogue who knows more than he lets on. Ani, a brash combat mage who butts heads with Eugene the most, while Hocus, who appears to be either a knight or guard who also can use healing magic, makes up the team.

In my opinion, the best kind of fantasy worlds or settings are the ones that don’t shy away from having darker-skinned folks present. The best fantasy worlds don’t exclude women and femme persons or only have them in submissive positions. The best fantasy settings that I love best always make way for characters across a spectrum of genders and sexual orientations. Having all of this and more present in Real Hero Shit in a way that adds to the characters and doesn’t seem performative is worthy of praise. So seeing actual female dwarves, with beards, even in passing excites me and much as reading over a later page of a more major character explaining why they go by gender-neutral pronouns, as practiced by their people – and, get this being accepted and not mocked!

The artwork in Real Heros Shit is also to be loved with its hilarious rooster of diverse expressions of the characters throughout the book. A fiery confrontation in the rain holds as much weight as the cute little chibi-style versions of certain characters being impressed or intimidated by others. Richly colored, this world is fully fleshed out, and Wells doesn’t skip out on much, not even backgrounds. The not-quite shojo-esque rose backgrounds in the panels when Eugene is being…Eugene is a nice touch too. The fight scenes are fluid, easy to follow, and showcase everyone’s strengths in battle. The quiet scenes like reuniting like a long-lost friend, previously thought dead, are lovely to witness and don’t feel out of place here.

Finishing up under a hundred and twenty pages, I had a few doubts that the story would be wrapped up with a satisfying end — and I love being proved wrong! Not only did this shorter read mostly succeed in doing so, but it made me grateful for the new bond created by the group and played up the wonder and intrigue of world-building by Wells. Their smart writing here really tunes in on the heart of the characters. It demonstrates their motivations and growth in this world with problems similar to ours: abuses of power, innocent people harmed, and people working on the inside to help right it.

Sure, we don’t fully know the whole story of what happened to the likes of Ani’s family or those who came before her. We also don’t have the complete picture of just who Michel was in his life before he became someone else or, most tragically, ANYTHING additional of substance of dear Hocus, my absolute FAVORITE —yet these characters make enough of an impact with the short curtain time they are given to be ones that I want to reread on the page. If Real Hero Shit is nothing else, it is another fine addition to the adult graphic novel market that exists outside the mainstream comics circle, and we all should be grateful for it.

Real Hero Shit is simply another banger from Iron Circus Comics that you must read. Recommended for lovers of the fantasy genre, Dungeons and Dragons, and anything else related, Wells takes a concept of an adventuring party and transforms their story into one with characters I loved following and want more of. This is a refreshing take on a genre that hasn’t always been consistent on including “the other” this graphic novel is fun, has significant action, and has a  big heart!

Real Hero Shit is available now wherever comics are sold.


Real Hero Shit
4.5

TL;DR

Real Hero Shit is simply another banger from Iron Circus Comics that you must read. Recommended for lovers of the fantasy genre, Dungeons and Dragons, and anything else related, Wells takes a concept of an adventuring party and transforms their story into one with characters I loved following.