Comic book series created in 2001 by Jimmy Gownley. Ostensibly for "tweens", but thoroughly enjoyable on every level
. Consists currently of seven collected volumes: The Whole World's Crazy
, What Makes You Happy
, When the Past Is a Present
, The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular
, True Things (Adults Don't Want Kids to Know)
and The Meaning of Life ... and Other Stuff
. The 8th (and final) collected volume, Her Permanent Record
is due in August 2012. One of the stories from The Whole World's Crazy
has been released seperately (A Very Ninja Christmas
) together with a seperate story of how Amelia met her friends.
Fourth-grader Amelia Louise McBride moves with her newly divorced mom from New York to live with her aunt in Connerton, Pennsylvania. She quickly becomes friends with Reggie Grabinsky and the enigmatic Pajamaman (who moonlight as superheroes Captain Amazing and Kid Lightning), and just as quickly becomes Vitriolic Best Buds
with their other pal, loudmouthed Rhonda Bleenie. The four of them form GASP, the Gathering of Awesome Super-Pals, to defend the neighborhood from evil. Amelia's life in her new neighborhood is fraught with obstacles hilarious and serious, from regular wars with the evil Ninjas from across town to homesickness for New York City and her father.
Provides Examples Of:
- Adult Fear : When Amelia was injured while biking through the Greenbelt at night in Superheroes.
- And the Adventure Continues: "And I'm just getting started." May count as a Sequel Hook if the author decides to restart the series.
- The Alleged Car: The spectacular failure that is the AmazingMobile.
- Alpha Bitch: Britney. She has a Girl Posse in the form of Christina and Jessica, who look exactly like her.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Legion of Steves is responsible for the Hindenburg, Three-Mile-Island and Dr. Phil.
Captain Amazing: How... how evil!
- Art Evolution: Starting around Superheroes.
- Art Shift: Anything involving Tanner's or Amelia's mom's childhood is told in the form of comic strip "Li'l Tanner", drawn in the style of Peanuts. Anything after their childhood but before Amelia is drawn as "Tannerbury Tales", in the style of Doonesbury. One flashback strip actually mirrors Dilbert.
- Better as Friends: Amelia and Kyle
- Big Applesauce: Amelia hails from New York City and occasionally returns to visit her father.
- Birds of a Feather: Kyle and Amelia both have Jerkass tendancies, but are good kids at heart, and both have divorced parents.
- Bittersweet Ending: Superheroes. Trishia lives, but Amelia doesn't find out until years later- and she never sees Trish again.
- She reappears in a Dream Sequence in the climax of Her Permanent Record but Amelia doesn't recognize her.
- Black Best Friend: Sunday Jones, Amelia's best friend in New York City.
- Breather Volume: Most of The Meaning of Life...And Other Stuff
- The Cape: Captain Amazing tries to be this.
- Cerebus Syndrome: A mild example.
- Chest Insignia: All the members of GASP have this, usually an initial from or symbol directly relating to their superhero name.
- Chick Magnet: Pajamaman, somehow.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A minor character known as "Earth Dog".
- City Mouse: New York City girl Amelia is suddenly deposited in the suburbs after her parents split up. She even complains that the local nature trail is "too much green" for her.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Elderly babysitter Kate Kadingo.
- And, to a somewhat lesser extent, Reggie.
- Cool Aunt: Tanner.
- Cute and Psycho:
Mary Ultra Violet is a slightly less homicidal version of this.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Rhonda's little pageant-kid sister Reenie. Of course she's a hellion underneath.
- Early-Bird Cameo: One of the kids in the testimonials video in Her Permanent Record is the main character from Jimmy Gownley's new webcomic Gracieland.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The earlier volumes feel very different than the later ones.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Amelia is shocked when her mother's date calls her "Mary"; she's used to her mother being just "Mom".
- And, of course, Pajamaman.
- Expressive Shirt: Pajamaman.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Rhonda's new look at the end of The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular is the same style she's seen wearing in the Flash Forward at the end of Superheroes — an outward sign of her newfound maturity and confidence in herself.
- Fifth Ranger: Ninja Joan, and to a lesser extent Kyle.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Rhonda vs. Reenie.
- Grand Finale: Her Permanent Record
- Ill Girl: Played straight; Trishia has a ventricular septal defect. Her sister had the same condition, and she didn't make it.
- Jerkass: Kyle. Especially during the game of Truth or Dare in Superheroes.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Tanner is a rare inversion of one.
- Limited Wardrobe: As in Peanuts, everyone pretty much wears the same thing every day, though it changes a bit in later volumes.
- Meaningful Background Event: So subtle you'll miss it: In a flash forward to high school, we see an over-the-shoulder shot of Rhonda from behind as she chats with Amelia. The jacket she's wearing has an athlete's number on the back topped with the letters "G-R-A-B-I..."
- Military Brat: Ninja Joan, whose father is deployed to Iraq. He returns in The Meaning of Life ... and Other Stuff
- Mr. Imagination: Reggie. And how!
- Oh Crap: Frequently, such as when Amelia realize that Reggie and Rhonda are the school nerds, making her a nerd-by-association.
- Older than They Look: Aunt Tanner. It's very easy for new readers to mistake her for a teenager or woman in her early 20's.
- Official Couple: The ending to Superheroes implies that Reggie and Rhonda will hook up in the near future.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Come on, his parents didn't really name him Pajamaman...
- Word of God confirmed he has a real name, and there are hints scattered throughout the books.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses: Pajamaman wears them.
- Out of Focus: Pajamaman
- Planet of Steves: Almost literal: the Legion of Steves.
- Precocious Crush: Reggie is just crazy about Tanner.
- Puppy Love: Can get pretty bad about it.
- The Quiet One: Pajamaman doesn't speak. Ever.
- Sanity Slippage: Happens to Britney in Her Permanent Record,
- Ship Tease: Between Pajamaman and Ninja Joan, surprisingly enough.
- There's also Reggie and Rhonda.
- Amelia and Ninja Kyle.
- Shout-Out: So, so many.
- Show Within a Show: Softee Chicken and Intergalactic Ninja Fight Squadron.
- Shrinking Violet: Mary Violet... at least until she becomes Ultra Violet.
- Slice of Life
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The comic occasionally tips over to the cynical side, but for the most part is pretty idealistic.
- Smitten Elementary School Girl: Rhonda simply adores Reggie. She reveals her reason in Superheroes.
- Spin the Bottle: Amelia gets dragged into a game and winds up having to kiss Kyle. She never lives it down.
- Super Hero Origin: Discussed by Reggie in The Whole World's Crazy.
- Time Skip: Her Permanent Record seems to take place after a small one, as Amelia (and most of the other girls) seems to have hit puberty.
- True Companions: The four members of GASP.
- Underwear of Power: Captain Amazing and Kid Lightning literally wear their underpants on the outside of their costumes.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Subverted. Yeah, the main characters speak in Little Professor Dialog and spend much more time thinking about romance than most Real Life 11-year-olds, but traces of little kid mentality are still undeniably there.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Amelia and Rhonda. Reggie and Kyle, though sworn enemies, have this subtext.
- The Voiceless: Pajamaman.
- Worth It: This exchange from Her Permanent Record, after Principal Wright reprimands Amelia and Rhonda regarding Reggie's "last stand."
Rhonda: Well, there you go! Friends, success, popularity, and now we've lost it!
Amelia: *sigh* Yep.
Rhonda: You got that right, sister.