Comic Book / Superlópez

Superlopez is a Spanish comic book character created by Jan in 1973, a parody of Superman.

Born Jo-Con-Él (roughly translated as Damn-the-brat) on the planet Chitón (Old spanish slang meaning 'Shut up!') much like Superman's home planet of Krypton, he leaves his planet when he enters a spaceship and presses a button, an accident that sends him to Earth. He was raised by adoptive parents in Barcelona and concealed himself under the identity of office-worker Juan Lopez (which is actually author Jan's real name). He works with his girlfriend, the bad-tempered Luisa Lanas (parody of Lois Lane); Jaime González Lidenbrock (Superlopez's not so pally Jimmy Olsen); and his demanding, unnamed boss (a reference to Perry White).

Other recurring characters include Inspector Holmez (a reference to Sherlock Holmes), an excessively bureaucratic police officer who suspects everyone; Martha Holmez, the Inspector's teenage daughter and friend to Superlópez, and computer geek Chico Humitsec.

Recurring villains include the evil professor Escariano Avieso (probably the main Big Bad); Lady Araña (“Lady Spider”); the gangster Al Trapone (a reference to Al Capone); and the mob boss Refuller D'Abastos.

The franchise started off as a weekly comic strip, with a completely different setup from its modern day incarnation. For starters, López was married, in a borderline Awful Wedded Life to boot, and he received his powers from his suit. Also, the focus was in the slapstick humor, rather than in creating a narrative. However, like other Spanish comic books of its genre like Mortadelo y Filemón and Zipy Y Zape, it eventually evolved into short stories, and then into long stories. Along the way, the franchise was completely rebooted to resemble more to the traditional status-quo of Superman (López wasn't married anymore, he always has his powers, and Luisa and Jaime were introduced).

After this reboot, but still in the early days of the character, Superlopez was member and leader of the team known as El Supergrupo (The Supergroup or Superteam). Team members included El Mago (The Wizard, a parody of Dr. Strange); Capitan Hispania (Captain Spain, a parody of Captain America); Latas (Tin-guy, a parody of Iron Man); Bruto (The Brute, a parody of The Thing); and la Chica Increíble (Unbelievable Girl, a parody of the token generic superheroine). These spent more time fighting one another over the leadership of the Supergrupo than fighting evil.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Chica Increible, Martha Holmez.
  • Affectionate Parody: In Spain, the Supergroup stories are considered one of the finest parodies of the superhero genre.
  • Apathetic Citizens.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The comic features the country of Tontecarlo (portmanteau of "tonto", meaning dumb, and Montecarlo). Citizens of Tontecarlo do not have jobs: They instead gamble and play state-owned lotteries anywhere — eg., the customs officers play shell games for money with any incoming tourists. The main characters, visiting tourists, notice that money flow cannot continue; however, tourism brings more money to Tontecarlo.
  • Author Avatar: Author Juan López sometimes draws himself, usually as a background character. Not to mention that the titular character is called, well, Juan López.
    • That doubles as a Fridge Brilliance because Juan López is a pretty common name. If he was called José Pérez, it'd have been in theory the same.
  • Badass Mustache: Inverted. López's mustache is pretty commonplace among Spaniards from older generations. So, at least to Spanish readers, instead of baddas, it makes him look more down to earth, and even old-fashion.
  • Big Bad: Various but the most recurrent one is Escariano Avieso.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Every time the Supergroup start arguing among themselves.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The aliens from the story Los ladrones de ozono (Ozone thieves) steal the ozone from our atmosphere because it's a drug for them.
  • Bluffing the Advance Scout: Los alienígenas.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Regularly and recurrently, sometimes bordering on No Fourth Wall.
  • Captain Patriotic: Parodied with Capitán Hispania, who carries a shield with the colours of the Spanish flag, but never says anything that can be considered patriotic.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Superlopez's "Cachis la Mar!" (a family friendly "Holy shit/crap!") and Inspector Holmez's "Hmmm... sospechoso, sospechoso..." ("Hmmm... suspicious, suspicious...")
    • "Un café con leche y un croissant"("One latte and one croissant"), "Un billete para el Masnou, ida y vuelta" ("A return ticket to the Masnou"). See Running Gag below.
    • Also Holmez asking everybody in sight for peanuts. Even though he has never been shown eating any.
    • Luisa's "¡Que te doy un bolsazo!" ("I'll hit you with my bag!") and "¡Medianía!" ("You Mr. Ordinary Guy!").
  • Cerebus Syndrome: All of the post-Turn of the Millennium comics. They are more Anvilicious social commentary than Comedical Action Adventure.
  • Characterization Marches On: Jaime was originally created as López's work rival, who would report everything he did wrong to their boss in an attempt to get him fired and take his girlfriend. They bonded notably in book no. 10 and became friends from then on, with Jaime appearing now as a nice, caring man. His old personality can only be seen briefly in books 35 and 36.
  • Chew Toy: Superlopez.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: The adventure Los Petisos Carambanales is this in comic book form.
  • Clark Kenting: Being a Superman parody, it's a given. However, as the series went on, he stopped wearing glasses when he's in civilian clothes, elevating the trope Up to Eleven, since there's literally no physical difference whatsoever between the two personas and people still don't recognize him.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: This is how Superlópez's powers worked at the very beginning, when it was a weekly comic strip. Eventually this was rebooted, but still appeared in the storyline Los Alienígenas, where he was powerless without his supersuit.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment / Suckiness Is Painful: again in Los Alienígenas, captured alien spy Xonxa boasts that her shape-shifting species is virtually unkillable:

    Xonxa: Our bodies are like rubber! My people only die of old age or boredom.
    Superlópez: Funny you should mention that: we happen to have this big collection of Manolo Escobar films...

  • Destructive Saviour: Superlópez himself, sometimes bordering on Walking Disaster Area.
  • Digging to China: In El señor de los chupetes.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first short stories, Superlopez was married to an unnamed, completely run-of-the-mill woman, who knew his secret identity. Also he had no powers without his supersuit, which usually led to slapstick - for example, Superlopez's wife used to use a detergent that temporarily annulled the suit's powers.
  • Fanservice: Some, in the latter stories. The earlier ones were strictly family-friendly.
  • Five-Man Band: The Supergrupo.
  • Funny Animal: The Poet Ant, a humanoid radioactive ant from El castillo de arena (The Sand Castle).
  • Genius Bruiser: Bruto is physically the second strongest member of the Super Grupo, after "Supes", but he's also the second smartest after el Mago. Superlopez is also supposed to be pretty smart himself.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The cubifier gun from Los Alienígenas, a weapon that turns its target into a pile of little cubes. Harmless enough... except that there's no known way to revert its effects, making the target as good as dead.
    • Carapincho DOES reappear after being cubified, and to become a series regular, no less. Although he's admittedly rendered unable to say anything else other than grunts...
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: ¡Mecachis en la mar! (a family friendly "Holy crap!")
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Averted for great comedy, especially in the early installments: people actually hope for Superlopez not to turn up, since he's such a Walking Disaster Area and his interventions tend to make things worse. He becomes more of a heroic figure as the series goes on.
  • Homage.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: In one short story Superlópez gets rid of a villain that feeds on energy that way He discovers that it was a very bad idea when he's on a picnic with his girlfriend.
  • Human Aliens: Superlopez.
  • Humongous Mecha: One made of chewing gum is the villain of the short story Chiclón ataca (Chiclón is a pun derived from the spanish words for chewing gum (chicle) and cyclone (ciclón)).
  • Inspector Javert: Oh Holmez. He's less efficient and ruthless than the typical Javert, but every little bit as bureaucratic and single-minded.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Inverted. Luisa loves civilian Juan Lopez but hates superhero Superlopez.
  • Mad Scientist: Escariano Avieso.
  • The Mafia: Al Trapone's gang, and others.
  • Mind-Control Music: A rock band allied with the mob uses this.
  • Mind Screw: Los Petisos Carambanales is about an attempt of Escariano Avieso to mess with Superlopez's head and making him retire.
  • Most Common Super Power: Some of the female characters are quite well endowed.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe example. In Los Alienígenas (The Aliens), one of the alien invaders (who have the ability to shapeshift at will) takes early in the story the form of a heater for a while to disguise himself. Later, when Superlopez is tracking down another of the aliens, he finds another heater, identical to the one used previously by the alien. Superlopez mistakenly thinks the alien has become again a heater (actually, the alien had taken the shape of a woman), and for the rest of the story, everyone seems to believe the aliens like taking the shape of heaters.
  • Only Sane Man: All members of the Supergroup see themselves as this. No wonder they almost wrecked their secret lair fighting over who would be leader.
  • Part-Time Hero: In the early short stories especially, a lot of the comedy revolved around Superlopez struggling not to blow his cover as a nondescript office worker, or simply trying to keep his job despite being constantly off crime fighting.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Supergroup, most of the time.
  • Running Gag: Any time Juan López enters a subway station, he'll absent-mindedly start ordering breakfast instead of asking for a ticket; then he'll go into a bar and order a ticket instead of breakfast. Sometimes it's because he's lost in thought, sometimes it's just plain stress, exhaustion or sleepiness.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The spell destroying the Lord of the Pacifiers is Etev la oonreuk, a slight modification of a backwards Vete al cuerno, which is Spanish slang for Get lost.
  • Shout-Out: To the whole Super Hero genre, starting with the main character and working down. In early stories, when Francisco Pérez Navarro -a much bigger fan of Superhero comics than Jan- did the writing, these were much more frequent.
  • Super Hero: Parodied to hell and back at first, played progressively straighter over time.
  • Ultimate Job Security: López has been threatened with being fired several times, not to mention that he keeps disappearing from work without warning whenever some villain attacks his city and taking holidays left and right so he can fight evil abroad. And in the early comics, he spent the little time when he actually was staying at work just practicing origami.