Cowboy Up, Grasshopper
This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, Derek and Gene review Paul Pope’s Battling Boy (First Second), Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy #1 (Dark Horse), and Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s Rocket Girl #1 (Image). The Two Guys with PhDs begin with Battling Boy, placing it within the larger context of Paul Pope’s body of work — seeing similar themes, stylistic flair, characterization, and tone found in comics such as 100%, Heavy Liquid, and THB — and also reading it in light of other First Second publications. Both are fascinated by what Pope is doing in this all-age (?) superhero (?) sci-fi narrative, and they are eagerly anticipating the next installment of the story, The Rise of Aurora West. Gene brings keen insights not only to the metaficational aspects of Battling Boy, but also Pope’s use of lettering and font choices. The Two Guys are not in the same kind of agreement with Shaolin Cowboy. Derek feels that it’s one of the most visually intriguing, and funniest, comic books of the year, while Gene wants more story. (And Derek recommends that Gene read the first Shaolin Cowboy series from Burlyman Entertainment…although even he has his problems with the way that first series unfolded.) But they do agree on Montclare and Reeder’s Rocket Girl, feeling that the series starts off with a blast — sorry for the pun — and promises interesting things in the issues to come, especially in terms of time travel twists.