Good comedy is very hard to come by when it comes to comic books. Deadpool is rarely laugh out loud funny and really, can we count Mad Magazine without feeling disgusted with ourselves? Color me interested when a new indie book popped up with the most ludicrous premise, a cool illustrated style and plenty of jokes, but is it good?
Man Vs. Rock Volume 1 and 2
This book is all about the bastards living among us who you know better as the damn dirty rocks. Yes that’s right, the naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids is the villain of this book. The premise is rather simple, as we learn they’ve been waiting to take us out and they’re sick of us giving them no respect. We also learn humans didn’t crucify Jesus but rather a rock, but we’ll leave that for now. The premise is absurd and silly, obviously, which sets up the protagonist who’s got a real mean streak for these rocks. He hates them in the most insane way. So insane he’s placed C4 all over the main rock outcroppings (wherever those are…) to hit the rocks hard before they swoop in with their attack. Along the way there’s plenty of potty humor, references to films and over-the-top buffoonery.
Well at least he’s only thinking it.
Man vs. Rock is written by Victor DeTroy and Kevin Bieber (any relation to…never mind) and volumes 1 and 2 of the book were released at WonderCon. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Volume 3 comes out on July 31st. Mark your calendars because this book is worth at least a few chuckles. And if you dislike gross out, silly, or downright childish humor you might want to, at the very least, check out the rather unique art done by Jared Lamp.
The first volume of this series sets up the premise and our main protagonist, a guy who “gives a f--k about rocks” named Professor Buck Stone. He’s your quintessential action movie hero made ludicrous for caring about something as inconsequential as rocks. You can already guess the interactions he has with people—basically everyone’s shocked and weirded out by the dudes obsession—sets up much of the comedy. Of the 30 pages that make up Volume 1, Buck Stone takes up 10 as he lays out the stakes. So what, pray tell, are the first 20? Well that’s all setup as to why rocks are so damn dangerous, starting all the way back to one million years ago when a cave man used a rock to get laid. To call this series ambitious is an understatement, but that’s why the book works: because nothing about it is understated.
Lamp’s art makes sense for the premise because it’s so detailed. It solidifies the book as taking place in our reality and the lack of color supports that too. You don’t typically see this sort of style in mainstream books, albeit I have seen it on the indie scene, but considering this is a blockbuster story I can’t help but love it. The man draws some mean facial expressions, which really is his strength and helps make the dialogue sequences solid, and while some scenes get a little too dark for their own good the story is never hard to follow.
Michael Bay is on their side!
The second volume focuses on Buck, aside from a few moments where the rocks kill some people, as he tries to implore the Vice President and ex-wife to get the President to do something. There’s a classic Independence Day vibe going on in this issue and if you’re a person who grew up during the 90s you’ll appreciate it. This volume runs 40 pages and progresses the story nicely. The scenes with the rocks don’t really work for me though as they lean more on the gore and grotesque damage the rocks commit on humanity. That said, it’s a fun ride when you’ve got a hero saying insane and silly things along the way.
Is It Good?
This series is a slight step up from anything the major publishers put out because it can be much dirtier but also take more chances. The style of the art strengthens the humor and is nice to look at too.