Reading & Discussion Guide: Mister Invincible

Mister Invincible: Local Hero
Written and illustrated by Pascal Jousselin
Coloring by Laurence Croix
Translated by David Bryon, James Hogan, and Ivanka T. Hahnenberger
Magnetic Press, 2020

Recommended for ages 8 through adult

Supports STEM, STEAM, and Language Arts middle and high school curricula

This first English language volume of the French comics coming from Pascal Jousselin, was originally published in two volumes by Dupuis, 2017, 2018.

The format is soft cover, full color, with stories ranging from a single page to multiple pages in length.

Book Discussion Support

Who is Mister Invincible?

            Mister Invincible is a superhero who, like others of that ilk, aligns his actions with causes of justice and support for the downtrodden. He’s small, dumpy, frequently engaged in the ordinary activities of a middleclass Everyman, like collecting the groceries, and he’s also called in by the local gendarmerie when they need some extra help with evil doers.

What’s Mister Invincible’s superpower?

            Mister Invincible’s superpower could exist only in the well-constructed panels of a comics because it involves breaking through both the panel layout path and warping time by doing so! That’s why this superpower is super great for entertaining readers with high level (but readily accessible) concepts including relativity, the connections between the time and space continua when we tell stories, and analyzing how plot requires both backward and forward motion to get where it is taking readers.

Is there a sidekick?

            Of course! Every superhero needs to lift up an up and coming apprentice-assistant. Mister Invincible’s sidekick is teenaged Two-Dea Boy. He can move details around in panels because, after all, comic book visuals are necessarily two-dimensional!

So, is the cartoonist who came up with all this getting any recognition in terms of prizes?

            Yes, indeed! Mister Invincible’s cartoonist won the 2020 Ragazzi Comics Award at the Bologna Book Fair. That’s like the Grammy for song of the Year. Like Mister Invincible himself, cartoonist Pascal Jousselin is superpowered!

Insightful overviews to share with your book discussion group by way of introducing Mister Invincible include:

Vlieger, Leon. “Book Review - Imbattable, Tome 1: Justice et Legumes Frais et Tome 2: Super-Heros de Proximite.” The Inquisitive Biologist, 19 April 2019 (https://inquisitivebiologist.com/2019/04/19/book-review-imbattable-tome-1-justice-et-legumes-frais-tome-2-super-heros-de-proximite/) 

Science and STEM teachers, start here with this engaging English language review by a well-read and curious Dutch biologist!

Hoffman, Alex. “Breaking Rules for Fun and Heroics.” Solrad: The Online Literary Magazine, 29 September 2020 (https://solrad.co/breaking-rules-for-fun-and-heroics-alex-hoffman-reviews-mister-invincible-by-pascal-jousselin-and-laurence-croix)

Science and language arts teachers, start here for an engaging overview of how convention breaking can be used to demonstrate such rules as dimension and plot development.

Literature Extending Activities

  1. Readers ten and older can create prose stories detailing three possible outcomes for a single set of circumstances and actions.
  2. Write a single paragraph vignette featuring yourself as the main character and reporting a specific event that was part of your life yesterday (Examples: making and eating your breakfast; sending text messages with your best friend; driving to the grocery store, etc.)
  3. Pass your paragraph to another member of the group. Read through the paragraph you have received from another group member and make one change in the “plot’s” sequence of events by moving the one moment or action to another point in the paragraph.
  4. Pass the vignettes again, again taking up the vignette originally written by someone else. Read the current vignette’s flow and adjust the “plot” to make the previous editor’s change work as a narrative. (You might have to break a rule in space or time!)

Librarians and adult school teachers, consider using this activity with an adult writing group as a warm up exercise when they first meet. Then send everyone home to read the many possibilities Mister Invincible suggests in continuum and plot rule breaking.

  1. Middle school students read at least three of the stories collected in this volume and each choose one to apply their superpowers of rule identification. Discussion questions:
  2. What is a superpower? Instead of giving an example, explain what the word “superpower” means in terms of scientific principles.
  3. If you could choose one superpower for yourself, what would that be? How would you use it? What kind of problems might that superpower pose in your ordinary daily life?
  4. Using the events of the three stories you read in Mister Invincible for this discussion, share your favorite event in the plot. How did it involve a superpower? Or was it an event that was more ordinary?

STEM/STEAM Extension Activities

High school students enrolled in both laboratory and theory science courses can explore how rule breaking in Mister Invincible helps to explain scientific rules, such as the time continuum and dimensionality.

  1. Choose one superpower displayed in these stories and explain the scientific rule it breaks. The following questions can guide a group discussion or provide prompts for written responses.
  2. What scientific problem is solved by this rule breaking?
  3. If the rule had NOT been broken, what would have happened at that point in the story?
  4. How could you apply the specific rule, broken exactly as it is in the story, to solving a problem in real daily life? Would the rule breakage lead to new daily problems? What would they be?
  5. Choose a scientific principle (rule) that is not explored in these stories and create a scenario in which it is the rule that is broken as someone’s superpower.
  6. Possibilities to select and imagine as superpowers include perspective, the speed of light, and gravity. Generate a longer list of possibilities as a group before making individual choices of the principle you will “break” for the sake of creating a superpower.
  7. Write or draw a short story that illustrates how the superpower, created from a scientific principle, could work. Be sure to consider consequences for the plot if that rule is broken consistently.