Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: Fame and Fortune


Captain Freedom: a Superhero’s Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves by G. Xavier Robillard

Captain Freedom just wants a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Is that too much to ask after saving the world four times? G. Xavier Robillard’s debut novel tells the story of an unappreciated superhero’s quest for truth, justice and, most importantly, recognition.

He has sponsorships, comic books, and a movie deal, but Captain Freedom’s career as a superhero is dwindling. After being fired by Gotham Comix, Freedom’s world is turned upside down, which leads him down the stereotypical path of a fallen celebrity-drugs, alcohol and rehab. As he struggles to avoid “has-been” status, a life coach helps Freedom examine his past failures, analyze his origin story, and confront the commitment issue that may have led to his decline: his lack of an archenemy.

The world created by Robillard is not much different from our own; just pretend “superhero” is another job option right out of college. Captain Freedom blends perfectly into the rich history of American pop culture-Erik Estrada Pez dispensers nearly cause global domination by a fleet of stone soldiers; modern pirates live on an island called Kazaa and steal copyrighted music and movies; and Enterprise adds time machines to their leasing inventory. Captain Freedom is an entertaining character, because his thirst for celebrity status outweighs all the actual superhero powers he possesses. When the comic books and movies aren’t enough, he writes children’s books and becomes governor of California (where else?) in his quest to protect and promote the Captain Freedom brand. In his eyes, too much celebrity is never a bad thing.

The story of Captain Freedom began as a short piece on National Public Radio and has since developed into the satirical memoir of a character that represents the excess of American culture. Robillard spares nothing-Hollywood, politics, global warming, Homeland Security, aliens, piracy, fashion, even NPR-in this humorous statement on celebrity obsession and hyper-media. Captain Freedom will keep you chuckling at how far one person will go to stay in the spotlight and how his biggest villain may end up being upper management.

As featured on BookPage

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