“Manta-Man” is an occasionally sexy superhero comedy of errors

Illustration for article titled “Manta-Man” is an occasionally sexy superhero comedy of errors

What do you do if you've got the ability to transform into a flying manta, a part-time ninja roommate, and a girlfriend who's attracted to power? If you're Manta-Man, you try to become a superhero – and things get awkward.


Chad Sell's Manta-Man isn't a straight-up superhero story, and though it pokes at certain superhero conventions (such as superbeings who prefer aesthetics over outfits that are remotely practical), it isn't really a parody of the genre. Rather, it takes a look at a group of normal (aside from the occasional superpower or monkey sidekick) twenty-somethings, and how they might behave in a world where superhero is a viable career option.

Manta-Man, despite his fishy powers, spends most of his time tending bar at the gay bar Man-to-Man (Manta-Man at the Man-to-Man, there's a lot of that – and the misunderstandings that go with it). But when his girlfriend, the perpetually half-clothed Ana, learns his terrible secret, she insists he become a superhero (or an awesome thief – she's not all that picky). But his first attempt at thwarting crime goes horribly wrong – and ends up inspiring a hate crime.


It could be trite tale of an inept superhero in a doomed relationship, but Sell packs Manta-Man with enough zany characters (and striking visuals) to maintain a riotous sense of playfulness even among homophobes and nagging girlfriends. There is Sachiko's Manta-Man's roommate, a part-time ninja whose chi-summoning methods aren't exactly PG; Sachiko's girlfriend Dixie, a journalist whose entire face aptly consists of an entire, enormous mouth; and Foolgirl, who may have dated Sachiko and Dixie (or both, or neither), and hangs out in the window of Manta and Sachiko's apartment, blindfolded ("What? Oh, I peek a lot."). And that's before we even get to the comic's first real villain, who is taken down by decidedly non-superheroic means.


Special thanks to Mojo for pointing me to this webcomic!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Lauren...I can't even read the top line of the comic because it's COVERED BY THE IO9 BRANDING!