Hero Hotel has to be one of the cutest and funniest comics I’ve had the pleasure of reading, It doesn’t hold back when it comes to showing the behaviour of superheroes when they’re on vacation. Hero Hotel, run by Grandma Zee and her staff consisting of Crizzy Cho the maintenance girl, Memo Martinez the bellhop, and Golden Falcon the hero who is serving community service as the maintenance man due to committing the most heinous crime of all – stealing candy from a child. Last but not least, the stars of the story: Chet – the unluckiest concierge ever – and his super cat Boomer. While the whole staff has to deal with the lazy and unnecessarily demanding superheroes, it’s often left to Chet and his cat/best bud Boomer. Laundry, retrieving lost super suits and dealing with a massive boycott of the hotel are just a few of the many challenges that await them. As if rude superheroes weren’t enough of a hassle, Chet and Boomer also have to deal with supervillains attempting to destroy the hotel, all the while, their superhero counterparts refuse to do a single thing to help despite being only a short distance away.
You may ask yourself, what did poor Chet do to possibly deserve a fate so bad? It’s simple really, Chet tried to help people. Helping an old lady cross the street? Charged with jaywalking. Helping a cat out a tree? Charged with loitering. He can never seem to catch a break and his life at Hero Hotel is no different. From the beginning of the book, the ridiculous and sometimes impossible demands of the superheroes are depicted in a big wide spread. “The pool is too hot.” “I lost my laser sword in the pool.” Chet is constantly surrounded by demands.
It’s not all bad though, Chet is good at one thing: defeating the supervillains that are constantly scheming to take down Hero Hotel. Alas, he never gets the credit for defeating them or for any plan that helps. This is a constant theme that repeats throughout the comic. Chet and Boomer save the hotel from the supervillain Dentist Doom who is attempting to use a tractor beam to crash a comet into the hotel, only to be blamed for being late to work with dirty clothes.
You would think a repetitive gag like that would get old, yet the writing and structure of the comic is so well presented. The story had no problem keeping me entertained and laughing all the way through at Chet’s awful luck yet to help keep it constantly fresh and fun, the main story arcs are broken up by introducing mini-stories throughout the comic. These small mini-stories and movie posters often involve the superheroes at the hotel. In one particular mini-story we get to see how Golden Falcon ended up having to do community service in the hotel, in another we see two older super heroes battling it out in a game of golf with their two super fans and hotel workers Crizzy and Memo. The full-page spreads of the superheroes shows them in a glorious heroic pose with a tagline underneath, a complete contrast to how they behave in the hotel.
When we come to the big threat of the entire comic story we find out it isn’t a supervillain, it’s a boycott carried out by Rear Admiral Planet. The superheroes follow the boycott without question despite everything the Hero Hotel staff has put up with from them. With all of the superheroes checked out the hotel this leaves it in danger of bankruptcy. Feeling frustrated and with an almost heroic drive Chet stands up for the hotel and his co-workers rallying them together to save it bringing about an exciting end to the main story. Throughout the story there is also a big question being raised, a constantly reoccurring villain who has been exiled to the nether swamp known as Swampocalypse is positive that Chet will fall to the dark side. This fall will lead to him becoming a villain, freeing Swampocalypse from his exile. It’s an interesting piece to the puzzle of Chet, after all; why would he not turn into a villain after being treated so horribly by the superheroes? After trying to help people only to be charged for breaking the law? I would love to see a sequel of this comic continue this story line and go into even more detail, I think it’s a real possibility that Chet could be persuaded to join the supervillain’s side. However, knowing Chet’s luck he’ll probably just end up working at some supervillain resort if he did.
The artwork of Hero Hotel is very colourful Saturday morning cartoon style; it’s emanates cuteness and happiness, and I found myself really enjoying it as it fit the lighthearted writing of the story. I can see the art appealing to both children and adults, making this an easy choice for any parent looking for a story to read with their children. To add in some variety, the mini-stories of Hero Hotel have different artwork for each of them. I found this helped the comic immensely by being essentially a different ‘episode’ from the main story. It made it easier to tell that they take place completely out of context of the main story and further led me to appreciate the art styles and work that has went into the comic. Hero Hotel is definitely a labour of love by comic and cartoon fans; some styles were an homage to older comics, stylised in a style from yesteryear, while others resembled the cartoons we grew up watching. Altogether these different styles helped to compliment each other. The character design combined with the pun names are the best part of the comic – incredibly realised, often parodying their counterparts and making small yet effective changes, which adds a lot of charm and leads to an overall amazing read.