Cover of the 2003 Brat Pack trade paperback.
Art by Rick Veitch.
|Publisher||King Hell Press|
|Publication date||August 1990 – May 1991|
|Number of issues||5|
|Brat Pack: Heroes From Hell||ISBN 0-9624864-4-2|
Brat Pack is the title of a comic book limited series by Rick Veitch (self-published under the company name King Hell Press). It is a dark satire on superhero sidekicks, influenced partly by the fans' decision to kill off Batman's sidekick Jason Todd, but also built on other long-standing rumors and undercurrents in the history of the superhero genre, prominently commercialism, homosexuality, pedophilia, violence, and the fascist tendencies inherent in superheroes.
Brat Pack was released as a limited series in 1990–1991.
The events of Brat Pack take place in the fictional city of Slumburg, Pennsylvania. The plot involves the efforts of Slumberg's various heroes, known collectively as Black October, to recruit new sidekicks—the original group of sidekicks having been killed by the villain Doctor Blasphemy.
Underlying the plot is the recurring element of the heroes being aware of their public popularity and the success of the comic books and merchandise based on their lives and adventures. Neil Gaiman characterizes Brat Pack's pastiche of cynical commercialism this way: "The corporations, after all, own the characters. Remember: Batman isn't simply a comics character: he's a movie star, a lunchbox pin-up, a licensing goldmine. You mess with Batman and Warner Entertainment gets worried. You screw with Spider-Man, and watch Revlon get upset."
The main characters of Brat Pack are:
- Midnight Mink, a homosexual vigilante and his sidekick Chippy
- Judge Jury, a fascist, white supremacist, steroid-using murderous vigilante, and his sidekick Kid Vicious
- Moon Mistress, a man-hating warrior woman, and her sidekick Luna
- King Rad, an armored hero bent on living the ultimate rush, and his sidekick Wild Boy
The initial 1992 trade paperback collection of the limited series features notable differences from the original, most prominently in the ending. Since then, there have been four subsequent collected editions (with comics writer Neil Gaiman adding an introduction to the third and all subsequent releases).
Brat Pack is Rick Veitch/King Hell's top-selling title, with the fourth edition selling out in late 2007. Veitch released a fifth edition in 2009. Comics reporter Heidi MacDonald considers Brat Pack the third part of "the troika of immortal works dissecting the superhero genre, with the other two being Dark Knight and Watchmen. Indeed, for those brave readers looking for a follow-up to Watchmen, Brat Pack could be just the thing."
Neil Gaiman, from his introduction to the trade paperback:
|“||Rick Veitch thinks dirty, grotesque, and completely unfair thoughts about costumed crimefighters. He remembers Green Arrow's ward Speedy, and Wonder Woman's protégé Wonder Girl, Captain America's sidekick Bucky, and the 1940s Sandman's assistant Sandy the Golden Boy. He remembers them and the hundreds of others like them. Innocent kids out there swinging from tall buildings with their vigilante mentors so the kids reading would have someone to identify with, so the heroes could have someone to explain the plot to.||”|
- "A Death in the Family," Batman #426-429 (1988).
- Gaiman, Neil. "Introduction," Brat Pack (King Hell, 2003).
- Veitch, Rick. "BRAT PACK: Free Download!" RickVeitch.com (March 2, 2009).
- MacDonal, Heidi (October 7, 2008). "BRAT PACK back". The Beat. Publishers Weekly.
- 1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners, Comic Book Awards Almanac
- Johnston, Rich (October 9, 2010). "SCOOP: From The Makers Of The Black Dynamite Movie… Rick Veitch’s Bratpack". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved October 9, 2010.