The Boys, written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson, follows a superpowered CIA squad, whose job it is to keep watch on superheroes and, if necessary, intimidate or kill them. These aren’t you’re average CIA agents. All the agents are injected with a special serum (known as Compound V) that makes them just as strong and intimidating as the average spandexed hero. Ennis tells a fantastic and often humorous story while Robertson’s drawings make the books almost life-like. The comic was nominated for and Eisner Award for”Best Continuing Series” in 2008.
It seems like every time I turn around, a comic book is being made into a movie or TV show. This is fantastic, because it gets some incredibly written and illustrated titles more fans. The good news for fans of The Boys is that it too will get it’s day in theaters, with a movie adaptation in the works (Adam McKay has signed on to direct).
That doesn’t mean newbies to the title should wait until it hits the big screen. Next trip to the comic book store, pick up the first trade of The Boys.
Superheroes Are The “Bad Guys”
I got wrapped up in The Boys on a suggestion from the guy running my local comic shop. I was just getting back into reading comics and told him I wasn’t into the whole superhero battling other superhero shtick, fighting over fake universes and plots to destroy worlds. I needed a title semi-grounded in reality. He suggested The Boys because while it still did involve “supes”, they were essentially the bad guys in the storyline. It was refreshing to read a story that actually delved into the idea that people with these types of powers might not always do the right thing and deep down could really be a**holes because of their power.
Hughie Is Based On Simon Pegg
I’m always more involved in a book when I can actually hear the voice of the author reading to me in my head. It’s almost like my own little play going on in a place that’s normally silent. The character of Hughie Campbell in The Boys is intentionally drawn to resemble the British actor Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). I’m a fan of Pegg’s work and when first getting involved with the story, having one of the characters be a recognizable face and voice was a major selling point. It’s like Simon is reading just to me. In my bed. With the lights dimmed.
Sex and Violence
As I mentioned in the first point, I’m just not easily sold by the superhero genre. I need a comic to read like a real life piece of fiction; complete with blood, guts, gore and the possibility of occasionally seeing a naked chick to make it seem like I’m doing something very wrong. The Boys have all of the above. The Butcher (the leader of The Boys) gets laid more than any comic book character really should and the super heroes can’t go a day without organizing a massive orgy. Call me old fashioned, I find it humorous. Fine, call me perverted, I’ll live with either.
An off-shoot, miniseries storyline from The Boys, Herogasm was a six story arc chronicling The Boys sneaking into the exclusive annual superhero retreat knows as”Herogasm”. The heroes spend a weekend at an island resort running wild, having sex with hired prostitutes (and each other) and taking massive amounts of drugs. Think Hedonism with men in capes. Actually, I’d guess the actual Hedonism has men in capes too.
Easily one of the best writers in comics today, Ennis’ resume includes Preacher, The Hitman and the Punisher franchise. Ennis just knows how to mix story, smut and entertaining reading into one concise package. It’s very rare that I’ll pick up anything a comic writer puts out but in Ennis’ case, I don’t care what it is, I’ll read it. While it might not be my particular interest I know I’ll be entertained. I also know I’ll see boob.
The Love Sausage
There are some secondary characters that never leave your mind, even if they only make a one book appearance. He appeared early and briefly in the title’s run but I’ll never forget Vas, The Love Sausage. Without giving too much away, Vas is a Russian ex-cop and ex-superhero that helps out the boys during a trip to Moscow. Formerly a member of the Glorious Five Year Plan, a team of five superheroes in the days of the Soviet Union, Vas was a mountain of a man with a ski slope for a…well…the name and image above should help connect the dots. If that picture alone doesn’t sell you on at least checking out the first couple issues of The Boys, I’ve got a great Spider-Ham comic that might be more your speed.