The Oceanic Hero of the Future! (I wish)

If I were to say "Who is that underrated superhero who is primarily ocean-based," who would you think of? Well, obviously, it would be:

Shark-man (2006/2008)
Thrill-House Comics/Image

Shark-Man is an original title written and illustrated by Steve Pugh (Blade, Hotwire) that was originally put out solely by Thrill-House Comics. When the second issue came out, it was still by Thrill-House but with some help from Image Comics. After that second issue the series ended. Then in 2008 the series was picked up as an Image Comics title which ran for 3 issues. Both runs are very similar (with the Image one obviously being slightly more fleshed out) and both were, to my extreme dismay, cancelled. I personally liked the 2 issue Thrill-House story a bit more. I just feel like it didn't need a third issue to flesh it out and that the "story thus far" was very well paced (but both runs are similar and enjoyable). That being said I understand what Image was trying to do when they brought the series back.

Let's talk basic premise. New Venice City is a futuristic man-made island surrounded by ocean and filled with intrigue and strong personalities. Shark-man is a mysterious hero who protects the citizens primarily from pirates who want to loot the city, thinking it's defenseless due to it's location. Shark-man's alter-ego is Alan Gaskill, who has a son capable of taking the mantle named Tom, and a very Alfred-esque (but with a cybernetic mask) butler named Edgar who helps work at his control center. Steve Pugh does a great job of writing likable characters and a seemingly regular superhero plot that gets completely turned on it's head to become a spectacular action-oriented mystery. With only a couple issues of story, I won't really go much further for those of you who want to hunt 'em down.

Pugh's art is just as interesting as his storytelling. Each image explodes with color, however that use of color doesn't sacrifice image quality in any way. Shark-Man, himself looks intimidating (minus the shark mouth belt buckle, in my opinion) and the villains that appear a little later truly feel dangerous. All of the land based environments have a Ray Bradbury-esque geometric look and all of the ocean scenes make the water seem endless. There aren't two characters that have the same look and all of the features, especially facial features, are very realistic. ALSO, I would like to say that I LOVE when shading is used correctly, and in this title it most certainly is.

All in all, this is another example of a rare and underrated series that was before it's time but is still worth finding. If for no other reason than a partial story and some great art... which I guess would be all you would want in a comic book. If you want to check it out (and you should) you can find the issues for very cheap at Thanks for reading!

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