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Zephyr by Wereviking

A superhero webcomic in prose 

Zephyr is a well-read ongoing prose webcomic detailing the adventures of a well-meaning but often hapless superhero in a dystopian new America. Zephyr is influenced by postliterary writing and Sturgeon’s law. It’s 2009 on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The place is Atlantic City: a sweeping longitudinal metropolis designed by Frank Lloyd Wright following widespread devastation in 1984. Superhumans are not only real, they’re human. All too human, as Nietzsche would say. Please check back for regular installments.

A novel, no longer online

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Listed: Mar 23, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

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A Flawed Hero Trying to Make It Through the Day

By Jim Zoetewey, editor, author of The Legion of Nothing

Oct 18, 2009: I read this in about the worst way you could read a novel, but one that’s pretty common for how I read serials online. The first time I stopped by, I read the first few chapters and enjoyed them, but didn’t continue. The next few times I read the most recent chapters as they posted, but, not having read the middle, I missed some of the context.

Finally, I went back, and read the whole thing in order.

It was worth it.

Zephyr tells the story of a major (if somewhat jaded) superhero in an alternate universe where New York City has been abandoned and the Beatles were a superhero team.

Zephyr himself seems like a regular guy with massive powers, and as you read, it’s easy to wonder if his life might have been better without them. He’s disconnected from his wife, unsure of how to handle his teenage daughter’s problems in school, and while he theoretically works as a freelance journalist, he’s not able to do much with that given the time he’s spending on unpaid superhero work.

He’s more than a little aware that his personal problems have passed his ability to cope with them, but the path through it isn’t obvious.

At the same time, supervillains, malfunctioning robots, and other problems that only superhumans can deal with regularly derail his efforts at handling his life.

All that being said, the story isn’t primarily the story of a middle-aged man dealing with the disappointments of life. That’s in there, but so are the things that you read (or don’t read) superhero comics for in the first place—powers, fights, and mysterious things that will be explained later on.

I like the background of the story—the way superheroes fit into our celebrity obsessed culture, and the way the history of their United States differs from the one in our world.

As for the writing . . .  It’s great. The author of the story is apparently a practicing journalist himself and the prose reflects that. The words are well chosen. The fact that it’s told in present tense is barely noticeable and adds a sense of immediacy to the story.

One interesting aspect of the story is that there’s a second character (his sections are labeled "Joseph"). It’s a little confusing at first who Joseph is and where he fits into the story. Actually, even at the end you might still have a few questions about him, but the story does clear up most of what you’ll want to know.

The story is great. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes superheroes and doesn’t mind a different approach to them.

(Since I first wrote this, the author has changed the website’s presentation of the story. Originally, I had several problems with that. Currently, the website has no glaring problems with navigation.)

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Give this a shot, from the beginning

By Jim Joseph, member

May 19, 2009: I find Zephyr to be very refreshing. He’s a good guy, with flaws, and a cynical take on things. He likes his powers, just doesn’t seem too impressed with them—-he’s been a very powerful hero for a long time. His RL job and hero work have both become sort of a grind for him, so he amuses himself with a very funny outlook on life and the hero biz. He’s also got lots of character flaws, which make for interesting reading. The author also makes use of flashbacks very well [more . . .]

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No title

By Ian Scott, member

Mar 25, 2009: Every other line seems to be "what the fuck," so pretty soon you start asking yourself, "What the fuck am I doing wasting my time reading this?" The white print on a black background makes it pretty difficult to read anyway. I found a few paragraphs called 1.1, but then couldn’t find a link to anything else.

[more . . .]

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Let’s hear it for Zephyr

By Mistress Obsidian, member

Dec 5, 2009: Yes the navigation of the site is not great and there’s a lot of bad language. These are really the only negative points about Zephyr in my opinion and I don’t have a problem with the curse words the way the author uses them. The narrator and hero is a unique, distinctive, colourful, fully-realised character who leaps from the webpage despite any technical difficulties with the site (and who has a problem reading white on black? crazy).

The editor review does [more . . .]

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