‘NASCAR Heroes’ Comic Books Review: Super Powers Meet Stock Car Racing
Growing up, I loved reading comic books. Ever since the Ultimate Spider-man series debuted in 2000, I would take home armloads of back-issues and trade paperbacks from the library.
When I recently learned that NASCAR had its own super hero comic book title a couple years ago, I was intrigued. Would NASCAR Heroes live up to the excitement and artistry the story form has become known for?
NASCAR Graphics Presents
NASCAR Heroes Comic Books Issues #1-6
Written by Jeremy Diamon, Art by Peter Habjan & Matt Cassan
Product Details: Soft or Hardcover, 24 pages each, 7″ x 10.5″
Price Per Issue: $3.95 original periodicals, $16.95 hardback editions
Publication Dates: 2007-2009
Publisher: Nascar Library Collection/ABDO Publishing
Meet Dashiell James, the lowly janitor on Jack Diesel’s NASCAR racing team. His villainous boss is NASCAR’s best driver, but he’s a real jerk. His friends are mechanics on Team Flatstock, a bunch of well-meaning but bumbling last-place losers.
One fateful night, Dashiell and his friends happen upon a bizarre chemical experiment that results in a radioactive accident that bestow super powers on them. Dashiell, harnessing his super power of indestructibility, goes by the name Jimmy Dash and becomes NASCAR’s newest hotshot driver. With his crew of super-fast and super-strong friends, Jimmy Dash gives Jack Diesel some real competition.
The NASCAR Heroes run consists of
- Issue #1 – “From Zero to Hero”
- Issue #2 – “Who Is Jimmy Dash”
- Issue #3 – “Dash to the Finish!”
- Issue #4 – “Headless Stuntman”
- Issue #5 – “Nascar Villains!”
- Issue #6 – “REV!-alation!”
The original paperback periodical issues of the NASCAR Heroes series are around the same quality as any other comic book–not meant for long-term preservation but thick enough paper to be carried around in a backpack.
What I purchased and reviewed were the reinforced library bound hardcovers, which cost $17 each at full retail price–that’s over $100 for the entire set. That’s right, instead of collecting the six 24-page issues into a single full-run trade hardback collection, every single issue was published in hardbound form. While it’s a high-quality printing, it feels like a cash-grab that’s more about the money than the fans or art form.
If the combination of NASCAR and super heroes sounds like an odd, hokey idea, it is. NASCAR Heroes has a lot of the clean-cut, campy excess of the Silver Age of comics. It starts with a decent “origins story” and basic characters, but doesn’t go anywhere with it and doesn’t have any overarching direction. Each issue is disjointed and brings up too many plot holes and loose ends to count. It’s like it’s written on the fly.
The artwork is colorful and kinetic, and the racing sequences feel fast-paced with their blurred motion and bombastic onomatopoeias. The artwork overall does feel cartoonish and could use more inking to enhance its impact.
There really isn’t anything authentic involving of the NASCAR brand in it; the setup and races have more in common with Speed Racer than NASCAR (you’ll actually see some nods to Speed Racer in the artwork/covers).
If you’re a big fan of NASCAR or comic books, you’ll likely find NACAR Heroes disappointing; it’s received criticism for alienating both camps of fans. With puns galore, PG action, family-friendly dialogue, and uninspired scenes, these comics might entertain undemanding fans under 12 years old. The “how to draw” sections at the end of each issue reveal that as the target demographic.
NASCAR Heroes is available through ABDO Publishing, Amazon, Ebay, and retailers of pre-owned comic books.
- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.