It is the Golden Age of Console Gaming and Dul is an avid gamer. Her games keep her company when her mom is at work, which seems to be most of the time now, given how tight money is. Dul appreciates everything her mother does for her, but there is one gift she wants more than any other for her birthday—Encounter Champions 2. The hottest fighting game of the year!

Fortunately, Dul’s mom knows how to take a hint, and saw all the gaming magazines she left around their apartment folded to a certain advertisement. Unfortunately, she looked at the wrong advertisement! This is how Dul wound up with a copy of Super Trash Clash, a game widely dismissed by game reviewers everywhere as being so poorly programmed that it hardly matters that the game itself is boring because you’ll barely be able to play it.

Despite this, Dul is ready to suffer in silence, until she’s given a chance to trade Super Trash Clash to her best friend’s cousin for a copy of Encounter Champions 2. (He’s already bored with it and wants a real challenge.) It seems like the bargain of a lifetime, until Dul’s mom (who is just savvy enough to tell one game from another) starts asking her about what happened to her new present. This begins an epic quest to recover the worst game ever made.

Super Trash Clash reminds me of many wonderful things. Mostly it reminds me of my childhood, which was spent pouring over Nintendo Power and GamePro magazines for news of upcoming games before making the weekly trek down to the local video store to see what new cartridges they might have ready to rent. It also reminds me of my mother, who endured far more rants about the virtues of Maniac Mansion on the NES compared to the PC version than anyone ever should have.

Mexican comic creator Edgar Camacho spins a fantastic story told in flashback, as an older Del stumbles across a copy of the so-called worst game ever and buys it, taking it home to play as she thinks about why the game means so much to her—even if it is terrible. The effect is something like A Christmas Story, but for those elder Millennials and Gen Xers who argued in the schoolyards regarding the virtues of NES vs. Sega.

Camacho’s artwork invites comparison to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work on the Scott Pilgrim series. There is a streamlined simplicity to Camacho’s art that defies convention. Yet his backgrounds are as oddly complex and vividly detailed as his characters are simple. The colors are muted, adding to the nostalgic charm of the story.

Super Trash Clash is recommended for audiences 13 and up and I think that’s a fair rating. There’s nothing more objectionable than a curse word here and there and a child lying to a parent. For the record, Dul does spend most of the story suffering for that choice while trying to make things right. Younger kids might be able to process the story, but older audiences will have a better chance of appreciating the message that one person’s trash (clash) is another person’s treasured memory.

Super Trash Clash
By Edgar Camacho
Top Shelf, 2022
ISBN: 9781603095167

Publisher Age Rating: 13+

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Creator Representation:  Mexican

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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