The Amazing Joy Buzzards #1


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The Amazing Joy Buzzards #1


  • Words: Mark Andrew Smith
  • Art: Dan Hipp
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: I Was A Teenage Gila Monster!!
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2005

How can you pass up a comic with a crime-fighting rock band, a burrito loving Mexican wrestler and an evil pink robot? I’m here to tell you why you can’t.

Each month as I look through the Previews Catalogue, I find myself shaking my head in dismay at how many new Spider-man mini-series and monthlies there are, as well as an absurd amount of X-titles, and so on. I’m not against these characters, some of my favorite comics are superhero books, but running a comic book store, I know first-hand that most customers, even those that come to the register with an enormous stack of comics each week, have nothing but the same generic standards and most don’t even notice the new issue of a book like The Amazing Joy Buzzards on the shelf. What is even more frustrating is that many stores will not even order a comic like this. If you love comics, love to laugh, love cartoons like Scooby-Doo or just have a thing for Mexican wrestlers, then you owe it to yourself to check out The Amazing Joy Buzzards.

Joy Buzzards is the perfect antidote to the modern post-Authority world of pseudo-realistic, current event laden, overtly sensitive comics that take themselves far too seriously. It’s the quirky tale of a rock band in the vain of The Beatles (although more similar to The Monkeys) that travels the world battling evil with the help of a mystical Mexican wrestler named El Campeon. The story unfolds in chapters, similar to Paul Grist’s Jack Staff. This series begins in all its quirky glory, when during a Joy Buzzards concert a vindictive pink robot poisons the drink of their bass player Stevo, who is then mutated into a giant 80-foot Gila monster.

Creators Mark Andrew Smith and Dan Hipp are here to remind us that comics can still be upbeat and fun, and that it’s actually OK to laugh while reading a comic. Smith writes a book that is a shining beacon in a sea overwrought with decompressed books, packing each panel of every page with as much wacky story as possible. Unlike so many recent number ones and mainstream comics in general, Smith gives us a clever and innovative story that actually takes much more than thirty seconds to read. You actually feel like you are getting your $3.00 worth.

The pseudo-indy style of Hipp also provides a breath of fresh air, distinguishing this book among the artistic clones that dominate the superhero market. Reminiscent of Jim Mahfood, at a quick glance the book may look simple in design; however, it is anything but. Hipp has a tremendous grasp on the use of shadows and keeps the book visually fresh, often depicting extremely original points of view. Also adding to the unique feel of the book is the coloring, using only black and white with the occasional use of pink.

Huge credit should be given to Image for constantly publishing new and creative titles that perhaps would not have a hope of getting exposure otherwise. Joy Buzzards is an unexpected joy to read and a comic that gloriously goes against the trends of today’s redundant market. Do yourself a favor and save an extra three dollars one day, drive to your local funny book store and pick up this comic to remind yourself of how fun the medium can be.

-Glen Siegal

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