Welcome to Common Grounds; the coffee and doughnut shop with an amazing difference: the regulars include a large number of superhumans. If you've ever wondered how the heroes and villains of the world think, feel, and act with the everyday problems civilians face, this is where you can learn. So grab a cup of joe and sit down.
There is only one rule here: no fighting or we won't be serving you again anytime soon.
Just like Planetary in a different way, Common Grounds is a comic about comics and their history.
Among the customers of that very special coffee joint, you will recognize alternate versions of familiar characters from both the DC and Marvel universes. More than this, Common Grounds also explores some of the most recurring concepts depicted in the traditional comics and how they aged or how they stand against the reality of our modern society.
Beyond the metaphors about the traditional comic concepts (endless resurrections, alien creatures etc...) the series also explores untraditional themes for comics such as patriotism, group behavior, obesity, of existential doubts shared by even the non-average beings. Using a combination of in debt reflexion and very light tone, the authors turn the comic into a colorful media for serious and sometimes dark thoughts.
The art and the humorous writing while dealing with serious subjects are most certainly an homage to the golden age of comics and the depiction that was then in fashion, when characters didn't have to be dark nor explicitly violent in the blood lusted way that became a common item after the end of the 90's. We actually witness more conversation and dialogues than endless brawling in the total of six issues composing this series.
All in all the series is a very innovative and audacious homage and reflexion on the comics art and industry. Some issues can very well be seen as a witty reflexion on how we behave as a society without super powered beings nor threats from outer space.
The unique character of common grounds saw it nominated for two Eisner Awards in 2005: Best anthology and best short story.
A must read for anyone who has enjoyed comics for an extended period of time or anyone who wants to learn more about that peculiar art of storytelling.