Publisher: BOOM! Studios (BOOM! Box)
Writers and Artists: Rian Sygh, Ryan North, Alexis Ziritt, Shannon Watters, Becca Tobin, John Kovalic, Rosemary Mosco, Eryk Donovan, Noelle Stevenson, Madeleine Flores, Stefan Tosheff, Jake Lawrence, Dave McElfatrick, Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson, Kendra Wells, Rosemary Mosco, Carey Pietsch and Paul Maybury (!)
Released: 14th January, 2014
Ah, there’s nothing quite like a good anthology – particularly in comic form, where you can get a rapid-fire impression of a studio’s output without having to commit to the whole spending money on full length issues thing that plagues so many of our wallets.
BOOM!’s ‘Box’ imprint is perhaps particularly ripe for an anthology, given that it’s only been about for a year or so, so you might not be immediately familiar with the particular vibe that they’re trying to create with it. And if this is anything to go by, that vibe has taken a rather large dose of acid, and decided it wants to entertain teenagers. Which is no bad thing, I guess.
Containing a vast array of stories from the writers that make up the BOOM! Box imprint, there’re some great wee stories in here, all lovingly crafted to be complete and well-told within a 2 or 3 page arc. Ryan North and Braden Lamb’s “The Midas Flesh” prequel is rather fun, featuring a neatly compact tale that beautifully piques your curiosity for the series itself. Madeleine Flores’ “Help Us! Great Warrior!” is a ridiculously adorable piece that has some of the cutest onomatopoeia I’ve seen in a while (“Honk shu” for snoring made me “d’awwww” out loud), and ends in a way that is guaranteed to make you chuckle. And Stefan Tosheff’s “The Port-a-Potty of Remington Lane” is a deliciously silly horror comedy that’s incredibly successful in being both grin and smirk-inducingly funny. Then there’s the first ever Munchkin comic, and if you’re a fan of the game, you’ll adore the silly fantasy humour on show here – I’ll leave the concept ‘humongous, undead, enraged, plutonium dragon’ here and move on.
There’re a couple of weak moments. Alexis’ Ziritt’s Punk Rock Grandma is a bizarre, close-to-dialogue-free shotgun blast of a comic, that doesn’t even try to contextualise or justify itself as the titular grandma grows a luchadore mask and elbow drops a dragon. Bit odd, to say the least. Becca Tobin’s The Last Bigfoot is a bit on the airy side, and the Cyanide & Happiness bits, whilst amusing, are nothing that you can’t find with a spot of digging on Auntie Google.
Overall, though, this is a solid showcase of what is an appealing imprint of BOOM!’s increasingly impressive body of output. If you’re even slightly interested in finding out quite what this is, then this should certainly be on your pull list this week. There is, however, the flipside that it’s prevented from being truly essential, thanks to the fleeting nature of the stories, and the relative lack of re-readability. Still, you could do far, far worse.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24