Tom Scioli’s ‘Final Frontier’ Is The ’60s Rock ‘N’ Roll Superhero Epic You Need In Your Life
Have you ever read a line so good that you get jealous and angry at yourself for not thinking it up even while you’re laughing at the pure joy of reading it? Because there’s a part in Final Frontier, Tom Scioli‘s webcomic follow-up to the incredible American Barbarian, where the sinister villain has trapped one of his enemies in a gigantic pinball machine-inspired torture chamber that’s remotely controlled by the unwitting Pinball Witch, and one of his henchmen delivers the line “Robot Dracula is an efficient tormentor.”
It’s the kind of line that made me want to just give up on comics entirely, because I’m not sure anything else out there can top it. And it’s not even the best thing that happens in this story.
If you’re familiar with Scioli’s work, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Final Frontier (which he jokingly described as having the most forgettable title ever) is a riff on the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby era of the Marvel Universe and the Fantastic Four. In his story, though, the “FF” in question aren’t a family of super-scientist adventurers, they’re a super-powered rock band who play their last gig so the two leads can get married and enjoy a happy retirement.
Needless to say, their wedding is crashed by all manner of bad guys, from the Galactus-esque Golememnon to the aforementioned sensational character find of 2012, Robot Dracula, setting off another incredible and accessible adventure.
The word “Kirby-inspired” is often thrown around just in reference to the blocky, dynamic artwork that apes Jack Kirby, but the great thing about what Scioli does with Final Frontier — and just about every other comic he makes — is that he’s inspired by what really made Kirby the King of Comics: the imagination and devotion to always doing something new.
The setups and character roles are certainly inspired by classic Marvel books, but the way that that they’re put together and the situations that play out over the course of his story feel as fresh and new as anything else out there in the world of comics. The giant pinball deathtraps, the quest for Golememnon’s conscience, the rebirth of Robot Dracula (he’s actually a “cybernorg”), it’s all just pure comics fun.
The entire saga of Final Frontier is available to read over at Ambarb.com, starting with a page Scioli captioned with “meet your new favorite comic.” This time, that’s not just hype.