Trying to get anywhere in life is hard enough without someone stealing your material. So what happens when a stand up comic finds out another comedian is getting recognition and fame off his material? It’s the beginning of a whodunnit murder mystery orchestrated by writer Joe Hill and illustrator/writer Martin Simmonds with some amazing colors provided by Dee Cunniffe. Enter to the exciting life of Syd Homes, ex-policeman, stand up comedian, and possible murderer? Your guess is as good as mine.
Welcome to The Funnies bar/comedy club, where the wings are overpriced and fellow comedians talk sh*t behind each others back. The story follows Syd Homes, a disgraced cop turned not-so-funny stand up comedian whose best days are long behind him. Carl Dixon is a comic on the rise to superstardom with some dirty little secrets in his past. When Syd hears from a fellow comic that Carl has been stealing his jokes, he takes matters into his own hands — which may end up having some grave consequences. It’s an interesting look into the ups and downs of stand up comedy mixed with a crime noir murder mystery.
The first couple of pages offer an insightful perspective on Syd’s tasteless joke routine and brutally bitter personality, and breaks ground on his backstory. Most of the first issue serves as a precursor to events that land Syd into a crazy situation. It can be described best as The Wrestler meets Hill Street Blues. Hill’s writing serves up a delicate balance of the human experience, touching on topics like workplace jealousy, betrayal, racial/social commentary, finance, and show business. This is a story that many people will relate to in some capacity due to its well-written source material.
Plot-wise, Dying is Easy #1 feels like a traditional ’90s-style Old Man Logan tale with an emotional heartbeat that tells the story of a sh*t-talking ex-cop looking for what’s owed to him, but as they often do, things get in the way to complicate things. Comedy, whether he thinks he’s good at it or not, seems to be his last attempt at some type of livelihood. This issue explores that livelihood being threatened and the consequences and actions it brings upon Syd. It’ll be interesting and fun to see how Syd tries to get himself out of his predicament that is sure to shock most readers by the time they finish the end of the issue.
Martin Simmonds and Dee Cunniffe
Martin Simmonds flawlessly brings Syd Homes’s imperfect ’90s world to life with some incredible color assistance from Dee Cunniffe. Simmonds’ dynamic line work matched with Cunniffe’s neon color choices brings out the raw facial emotion, pain, and compelling storytelling that complements Hill’s writing. Everything in Simmonds’ illustrations is completely understandable, the transitions between pages is great and panel counts are perfect.
Hill and Simmonds are off to a great start with their murder mystery caper. It’s good to see Hill writing more stories outside of horror. There is a great deal of potential moving forward with this series and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got picked up for an adaptation by HBO or Showtime. Cunniffe did an amazing job with the palette of colors and really sold the facial emotions of the characters. Be sure to add this one during your next trip to the comic shop.