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Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenburg, the creative team behind Four Kids Walk Into A Bank, come back together for a story of angst, music, and gang violence in the apocalypse in What’s The Furthest Place From Here #1. With lettering from Hassan Otsmaine-Elhaou, this opening chapter is a unique and brilliant fusion of youthful rebelliousness and apocalyptic desperation. With mysterious storytelling, standout characterization and kickass visual direction, Boss and Rosenburg likely have another absolute wonder on their hands.
“The world has ended. All that remains are gangs of children living among the ruins. But Sid believes there must be something more out there. When she disappears into the wastelands, her gang will risk everything to bring her home. A story about the things that matter most—your survival, your loved ones, and your record collection.”
The joint storytelling effort of Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenburg makes for a singular comic read with What’s The Furthest Place From Here #1. Post-apocalyptic stories are so popular and prevalent in every medium that it’s hard to imagine how new and unique ones can be created. Boss and Rosenburg answer this problem with a perspective, style, and tone unlike any other story of its kind. Our protagonists are a group of punks known as “The Academy.” Their main enemies are the other rival gangs in the neighborhood, and the idea of growing up. This opening issue sets up a fair amount of mystery going forward. We don’t find out how the apocalypse began, or why these “kids” (who appear to be in their late teens/early 20’s) fear growing up so much. These are secondary concerns, though. What matters most is what these characters do with the lot they’re given.
Boss and Rosenburg have made a point of advertising just how important music is to this comic series. Hell, the “Deluxe” edition of each issue comes with a 7″ vinyl with tracks selected by the creators. The branding of each individual’s personality by a record they select from the record store they shelter in is such a punk teen and comic book move. The record choices work as a backdrop to the character’s actual personalities. Each member of The Academy has their own quirks and concerns that are naturally worked out through interaction amongst each other, and with their enemies. Boss and Rosenburg craft these characters with such a distinctive voice that it’s impossible not to feel the tone of every moment. There’s an inescapable attitude that this book has that is just so damn rad.
Surprising no one, Matt Rosenburg’s art direction in What’s The Furthest Place From Here #1 is just as cool as the plot construction. There’s so much to unpack in character design, settings, color choice, and panel direction here. First off, the very nature of this comic’s concept demands a roster of easily recognizable hooligan survivalists. Rosenburg & Co. deliver. Characters are inked and drawn with immaculate detail to bring them to life. The Academy as a whole looks like the same folks who you see at your local underground punk/hardcore/ metal venue. Considering the music Boss and Rosenburg admit to listening to while making this comic, this visual choice makes to much sense. Every alt hairstyle meshes with shredded jeans, fishnets, torn tank tops and olive-colored cargo jackets. Ah, I can smell the PBR and American Spirits.
The real treat in this comic’s visuals is its direction. There isn’t an adherence to a specific panel structure. Really, in that regards it’s relatively bog-standard. However, it’s clear that the intention was just to use however many panels it took to do the job. Close-ups on important detail pieces that we will need to remember are balanced out by sometimes lengthy conversation pages. The shifting perspectives from different people in a conversation, or even panels focusing on a group as a whole, really set a sense of place and noise within the setting.
There’s a party scene in the record store where everyone in the party is being shown even though the dialogue focus is only on two or three characters. Rosenburg and Boss give the whole group attention, even if only a couple are moving the narrative forward. This actually gave me the impression of a Robert Altman film, where so much is happening and the setting is full of noise, making the comic feel more alive.
The coloring (with assistance from Claire DeZutti) is tonally rich and varied from scene to scene. There’s a sort of flat tone carried over each page, but it changes drastically in each setting. The record store has a constant red tinge to it that is reminiscent of a film developing room – or even more fitting, the backlighting of an underground venue. Every surface pops in its own right, and every panel looks like it could be an alt album cover. The lettering from Hassan Otsmaine-Elhaou is distinct and perfect for this comic. There’s a definite hand-drawn feeling to the font and how dynamic it is. The text in the word bubbles flows with its size and bold changes in a way that is difficult to describe without actually experiencing it. Every aspect of this comic’s art is absolutely top-tier, and is a massively cool piece of creativity altogether.
What’s The Furthest Place From Here #1 is, in my professional opinion, an absolute ripping ass-kicker of a comic. Boss and Rosenburg are two creators at the height of their storytelling creativity and this issue shows. A mix of The Warriors, Mad Max, and the sensibilities of My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days, this is an impossibly cool mix of styles and mediums into comics. Please be sure to grab this comic when it hits shelves on 11/10!
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