4 Kids Walk Into a Bank has been a buzz book since it debuted in periodical form last year. Written by rising writing star Matthew Rosenberg with art by noted designer Tyler Boss, it’s mixed elements from film and comics with a universal theme of dealing with troubled family life. Kieron Gillen describes it as “Tarantino does the Goonies” and that’s high concept but accurate as four D&D playing school kids find one of their dads is mixed up with some bad people, and decide to commit the crime before he can.
It’s a virtuoso performance from the whole team, with Rosenberg’s layered dialog, and Boss’s flat yet emotive artwork – notice how the emotions of the story in the real world are revealed through pacing, poses and color shifts instead of dynamic anatomy or close-ups. While at first putting the reader at a remove from the action, it draws them closer to the experience as they connect with the stories rhythm.
Rosenberg has an excellent interview up at the Hollywood Reporter with a lot of fascinating background info:
I have to ask, why comics? 4 Kids could have been a movie or TV show — and still feels perfectly poised for an adaptation — but everything about it feels like a comic, not something that is secretly a wannabe movie or whatever. What is it about the comic medium that speaks to you as a writer, especially when dealing in genres like this, which is so well-served elsewhere?
I mean, the obvious answer is that we are comic creators so this is what we do. But beyond that, I think there is something special about what comics can do that no other medium can. I used to get defensive when people would say comics are the bastard child of prose and film, especially since comics predate film. But lately, I kind of find comfort in that idea. We take the best elements of other medium and we synthesize them into something new. We make the brain work to piece together the elements they aren’t given. And because of that, there is a sort of versatility to what we can do. We have these striking visual beats, moments where the reader can take their time and go at their own pace. Storytelling-wise it’s a real middle ground that we tried to take advantage of as much as we could.
But also, to me, the world of misfit kids and wild imaginations belongs to comics. Maybe that’s changing with superhero movies now but, when I was a kid, the X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Love & Rockets, that was it. That’s where the fantastical and the relatable met. There have been a lot of good attempts in film, but nothing has ever matched the sense of wonder, and possibility, and the complete fearlessness that comics has offered. We wanted to be a part of that.
Here’s a preview of the preview:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.