You Don’t Have To Rob A Bank To #SupportYourLCS – 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank Review
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art/Design by Tyler Boss
Lettering by Thomas Mauer
Flatting by Clare Dezutti
Wallpaper Design by Courtney Menard
Published by Black Mask Studios
During the era of Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, one of the things I miss most is my weekly trip to the comic book store. Yes, there are other sources for comics, but what I like most about my comic shop is that it’s a local small business. Over the years I’ve made friends with the owner and employees, and I miss chatting with them every week. Like many small businesses that have been forced to temporarily close, comic book stores are struggling to make ends meet. Things may be looking up to an extent, but comic book stores still need our help. Stay-at-home orders begin to expire this week, but it’s likely that comic shops won’t be high on the list of businesses that are allowed to fully reopen right away. Plus, Diamond doesn’t plan to begin shipping new product May 20th. Then once shops reopen, chances are good they might not see a lot of traffic at first as people wait to see if it’s truly safe to resume normal life. Luckily, there are many ways to support your local comic book store without robbing a bank or leaving your home.
Donations can be made directly to BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. They support local booksellers all over the country. Part of the proceeds from buying books or trade paperbacks from bookshop.org also goes on to benefit small book stores, including comic shops. Several small comic book publishers are also donating fifty percent of online sales of their products to local comic book stores. All you have to do is type the name of your shop into the “special instructions” bar when checking out. These publishers include TKO Studios and Scout Comics. Another published donating to comic shops is Black Mask Studios, from whom I purchased 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank. This comic reminded me of an intellectual and sophisticated episode of South Park. Except instead of random vulgarity and crass toilet humor, 4 Kids elevates its subject matter until it moves beyond being just another crime drama.
The reader comes to love the characters and root for their success before even reaching the book’s halfway point. Paige is a tom-boy and the group’s leader. Walter is shy and quiet while Stretch is tall and awkward. Berger is the group’s lovable goofball. They’re four nerds who are life long friends. In order to help Paige’s dad, they set out to rob a bank before a group of criminals has the chance. This comic was marketed, including by it’s own cover, as a crime drama. To me, it comes off as more of a dark comedy. Which, if I’m being honest, made it even more enjoyable. There is a bit of an unevenness in tone from one issue to the next since each chapter has an seemingly unbalanced mix of witty dialogue, exposition, and action. Yet the final chapter gave me the impression that these tonal shifts were intentional. Regardless of intent, I find myself still processing the events of the story and the shocking climax.
The art appears simplistic, but there is actually a high level of detail on each page. I loved the scenes drawn from the kids’ imaginations at the beginning of each chapter. Dungeons & Dragons, action figure, and video game inspired opening sequences are a fun way to start each issue. These sequences are rendered with creative illustration techniques and featured on pages with creative layouts. I liked the clever way in which the character descriptions were done as well. This comic’s coloring was done through the technique of flatting. Maybe all comics are colored this way, but this is the first one I’ve read that has actually credited the artist who did the flatting. The custom wallpapers featured on each chapters’ title page are another example of the interesting artwork in this comic.
In my opinion, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best comics I’ve read this year. The story is humorous, gritty, powerful, and original. The art is fun and unique. You won’t regret buying this comic, especially because doing so will benefit your local comic book store. If you’re waiting on your local comic shop to re-open, head over to Black Mask Studio’s and check out their available titles. Start by putting 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank into your shoppping cart, and then see what other comics jump out at you. Or if your comic shop has already opened but is waiting on new product, see if they have this trade paperback in stock. In either case, buying 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank will help support your shop until things return to something close to normal.