Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.
Bronx Heroes in Trumpland
Looking for a hero!
With the presidential election just days away as we pen this review, we would like to talk a bit about Ray Felix and Tom Sciacca’s bitingly satiric graphic novel Bronx Heroes in Trumpland wherein their comicbook superheroes (Black Power/Felix; and (Astron/Scicca) stand up to the strongarm, dictatorial tactics of a power-mad trump in the year 2026. However, before we do, we feel that we must be up front about our own involvement with this book. First of all, we have known both authors for many years, and we also provided an introduction to the book itself entitled Satire is so not Dead. With that little detail out of the way, on with the review.
There are heroes in the Bronx!
Introducing the creators
Ray Felix is a comicbook professional who has staged comicbook shows, written, illustrated, and published his own comics under the banner(s) Cup o’ Java Studio/Bronx Heroes Comics. He also successfully sued both Marvel and DC comicbook companies over his proper use of the word “superhero” (Marvel & DC had previously trademarked the word, which Felix had used in the title of one of his comics A World without Superheroes making him something of a celebrity in the world of independent comicbook creators. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including from New York State Council on the Arts in 2011–2016, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Bloomberg Philanthropies; he was also awarded a Citation of Merit from the Borough of The Bronx for his community based work and teaching at-risk and LGBTQ youth. He is also the founder of the community-based organization Bronx Heroes Comic Con and co-founder of Women in Comics Con, both of which promote literacy and education through the practice of reading and creating comics.
Indie comics are out there
Introducing Tom Sciacca
Tom Sciacca is an artist/writer/journalist/filmmaker, who broke into Marvel Comics in 1974, where he worked as assistant to both Stan Lee, and Vince Colletta, art director at DC Comics. It was at he worked on projects such as the 1978 Superman film as well as the comicbook Superman vs Muhammad Ali. Sciacca was also one of the first indie comic publishers, with his Astral Comics which was published in the 1970s and and in the early 1980s.
The coming of Astron
A gathering of heroes
In their latest collaboration, Bronx Heroes in Trumpland (written and illustrated by Felix, Sciacca, and Tom Ahern) Felix’s Black Power and Sciacca’s Astron take on president trump in what can only be described as a bold and hilarious subversive tome. Clearly none of the creators are fans of the sitting president, and make their voices heard loud and clear in this very funny book.
Bronx Heroes in Trumpland
First, a brief introduction to the main players in this little romp: First up is Astron, Star Soldier; an astronaut/alien warrior who first appeared in Tom Sciacca's Astral Comics #1 in 1977. Next is Black Power; an African American superhero, war veteran, and former boxer who first appeared in Ray Felix’s comic A World Without Superheroes in 1993. The two Heroes — dedicated to eradicating criminals and fighting injustice — join forces to confront their greatest foe ever — an evil supervillain named Donald Trump.
Black Power #4
And now, the villain.
Trump (as we all know) is a toupee-wearing scoundrel who is plotting to use mind control to vanquish America after first conquering the five boroughs of New York. He plans on doing this with the help of the evil Prince Putin and his MAGA hat-wearing goon named Gorka, Trump is determined to build walls, create divisiveness, and destroy the media. Astron and Black Power resolve to defeat Trump and restore order but are hypnotized into helplessness by Trump’s scheming FLOTUS, Malaria. Now, in order to save the nation, the Bronx Heroes must succeed where Mueller, Hilary Clinton, and the U.S. Congress failed, to save the very nation from itself?
Here come the bad guys
The book starts off with news reports of trump’s rise to the U.S. presidency, followed by Astron arriving on Earth from space and learning about how trump has co-opted America and turned it into his own hellish nightmare. Astron then travels into the future only to learn that the U.S. has been so totally tainted by trump’s influence, that he then travels back into the past to enlist the help of Brother Power. The two heroes then rocket forward into the future only to be met by a veritable hoard of trump flunkies, including, Captain MAGA (pence), Malaria (FLOTUS), Gorka, and others before going head-to-head with the big orange man himself.
The Dregs of defeat
Election Day is coming!
As stated at the onset, this graphic novel is intended to be satiric in nature, and to hammer that point home, much of the character’s dialogue is written in a rhyming meter, so really none of any of this should be taken seriously (save for the fact that the election is only a couple of days away as we pen this and we really should re-consider who we want to lead this nation, a centrist “corporate” Democrat who actually wants to help or a self-serving narcissist, conman, and admitted serial predator who is content to burn it all to the ground).
Vanquishing a villain
It's called “Satire”
Needless to say, our heroes manage to properly deal with the orange despot and send him on his way (by launching him into space. The main story is then followed by an epilogue The Rise of the Blue Wave, where Hillary and her Squad of Furies, (AOC & Co.) along with the Green Stein battle over the remains of the nation until Black Power and Astron set them straight (power belongs to the people). A second story (Mueller on the Hill) has Robert Mueller testifying on the Hill in front of Congress about the (former) president. Here he is assisted by a couple more of Feliz’s Bronx Heroes (GI American & Kid USA). A third hero (Heavy Traffic) shows up in yet a third tale that talks about the Electoral College and voting in general. The book is rounded out with background info on both Black Power and Astron, as well as several pin-ups in B&W and color. Also included are forwards by both Felix and Sciacca who explain a little bit of their own backgrounds, heroes, as well as their reasonings for putting together this book in the first place.
Satire is so not dead
Get out and vote!
All-in-all, it is a fun, entertaining book full of action, humor, as well as its own measure of serious political commentary that is not only outlandish in its concept and execution, but and recklessly funny as well. In fact, Bronx Heroes in Trumpland is a comicbook that will make you believe in America again. So, if you are also not a fan of “45”, enjoy a good comicbook about superheroes demonstrating that “With great power must also come great responsibility”, or simply into good clean (satiric) fun, then you too will want to pick up a copy of this fun graphic novel either before of after November 3rd.