By Davey Nieves
Writers: Jim Zub, Tom Siddell, John Kovalic
Illustrators: Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh, John Kovalic
Colors: Fred Stresing
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Box
The world of table top card games is a universe in and of itself. Much like exploring space you have to be willing to come into contact with any life forms you discover. My sea crab nature prevents me from doing so but I can appreciate the cunning and strategy involved in crafting a game like D&D, Magic The Gathering, or Cards Against Humanity. Apparently I’m not the only one; BOOM! Studios BOOM! Box imprint decided to do a comic book series based on the popular card game Munchkin.
Originally a satire of fantasy roleplaying, the game has since taken on non-fantasy and non-gaming elements, and the new comic series is a direct reflection of that. For anyone that’s never played Munchkin; the game is more of a parody take on card gaming, only with a purpose. Kick open the door. Kill the monster. Steal the treasure. Screw over everybody you come in contact with. Welcome to the quirky world of Munchkin. The book features four stories set in and around the world of the game, featuring Spyke, Flower, and all the other characters, monsters, and settings players have come to love.
Let’s just talk about the best and worst of the stories found in this first issue, because there’s a fit for each. Jim Zub writes a great six page story dealing with one of the game’s most prominent themes, betrayal. One experienced character seemingly guides a noob through a dungeon as he’s simply trying to level up. The jokes in the story are sharp enough that you’ll ignore the “saw that one coming” ending. Tom Siddell’s “Humans Got No Class” story definitely lacks the punch that the others in the book capture. The story is about a group of players trying to lure their friend into joining the game only for the rug to be pulled out from under them. While it has its own charm, the punchline of the story just doesn’t make you laugh as much as the other tales did. Tom also writes a three page opening called “What is a Munchkin?” that’s hilarious.
For a book that has three different artist; the style feels universal and not one bit out of place in this cover to cover satire on gaming tropes. Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh, and John Kovalic each illustrate a story (sometimes two) and each capture necessary whimsy the sight gags need to keep the readers attention. While Rian’s work is probably the smoothest of the three none ever feel foreign compared to the others.
Overall Munchkin is a fun read for fans and non-fans alike, but any lasting appeal will only land with hardcore fans. Bonus, there’s even an exclusive Up A Level card for players that ships with the first print of every issue. BOOM! Box knows who they’re selling this book to and have designed it that way. If you already know and enjoy the world of Munchkin go pick this up.
If you remember the word munchkin as something uncle Jesse called Michelle on Full House then follow Dave on twitter@bouncingsoul217