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Regular Show Vol. 1 is a Surreal, Entertaining, and Fun Comic

Regular Show Vol. 1 is a Surreal, Entertaining, and Fun Comic

Regular Show  #1-2, #4-5regbmtpb01-w370


Written by KC Green (Backups by Brian Butler, Shaun Steven Struble, Rachel Connor, Brandon T Snyder)
Art by Allison Strejlau (Backups by Brian Butler, Sina Grace, Josceline Fenton, Wook Jin Clark)
Colored by Lisa Moore (Backups by Maarta Laiho, Shaun Steven Struble, Whitney Cogar)
Published by BOOM!

The Regular Show Volume One trade paperback has two full length stories by the comics’ main creative team along with four short stories of varying quality and length. There is also a cover gallery at the end showing different artists’ conceptions of Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, and the rest of the crew. The two main stories in the trade feel like particularly good episodes of the show. KC Green has a handle on the various characters’ voices from Rigby doing pointless, stupid things and repeating everything Mordecai says to Skips being the laconic voice of reason. Green also uses seemingly random side characters, like a demon hairdresser in the second story, to make surprisingly poignant observations about Mordecai and Rigby. But before these big and little moments aside, Regular Show Volume One starts out mundane, almost boring and then Green and artist Allison Strejlau make the story stranger and stranger. Lisa Moore’s colors go from a relatively bright panel to explosions of color for the more surreal sequences. The characters jump out the panel as panel boundaries blur, and Strejlau’s line becomes non-existent. If you’re a fan of the wackiness of the show and its characters, then Regular Show Volume One is a must-read.

The first story in the collection is about a faux-hipster band having a concert in the park that is literally putting everyone to sleep. A little misunderstanding between Mordecai and Muscle Man leads to mosh pit , then a rift in musical genres, and the rest is classic Regular Show. From the beginning, KC Green and Allison Strejlau commit to maintaining the tone and atmosphere of the TV show while creating a wholly original story and using storytelling techniques that can only be done in comics. For example, when Mordecai, Rigby, and Skips descend into the mosh pit, Strejlau mixes and matches panels of the characters fighting through the pit to capture the disorienting and generally insane nature of their actions. Green lets the visuals do the heavy lifting, but he has a wicked sense of comic timing and a real feel for the characters. He gives Mordecai some great witty retorts and has genuine fun creating Skips’ “ancient wisdom” scene. His portrayal of Rigby is also more in line with the less annoying version in the show’s later seasons as he is quite stupid, but also can be heroic. Strejlau’s art helps transfer some of Regular Show’s slapstick humor to the comic, and she has an uncanny ability of making the characters meld with whatever threat they’re facing. Her art captures the trippy, surreal nature of the show by blurring characters and panels and stuffing each page with things that will make them lose their mind. Strejlau also enhances the little character moments, like Benson trying to maneuver the mosh pit while yelling at Mordecai and Rigby at the same time, or Mordecai’s pained reactions to Rigby’s stupidity.

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The second story is less epic, but captures another important feature of Regular Show: everything is exaggerated. The story setup is 92b808fe19ea08095d1dd0dd0b1db55c_msimple: Mordecai needs a haircut before his date with Margaret. He gets one from Pops first and then goes to a salon that Rigby finds on the Internet because it has exactly one five star review. Hilarity (more like insanity) ensues. While the first story was more focused on adapting the epic absurdity of the show, the second one is a little more character-driven. Even though the hairdresser character is suitably monstrous, he makes some good points about Mordecai’s character and negative reaction to his “haircut”. Green and Strejlau show how much Mordecai and Rigby overreact to almost every situation and miss the obvious in front of them. Skips is the voice of reason and has the solution to their problem yet again, but he gets some time to hang out with Mordecai and Rigby instead of being exposition, plot solving guy. And this story isn’t all navel gazing and Mordecai being smug. There are plenty of fun set-pieces for Strejlau and Moore to illustrate, including a full page spread of Rigby going berserk (and obviously failing). Strejlau does a great job of littering clues in the background of her pages to foreshadow future events in the issue as well as capturing Mordecai and Rigby’s facial expressions as they lose it in almost every situation in contrast with Skips’ trademark stoic face. (Except for some hilarious flashbacks where Pops is cutting his hair.)

The backup stories included with Regular Show Volume One are a mixed bag of quality. The first one is about Rigby being too afraid to go on a roller coaster appropriately called the Face Melter. Writer/artist Brian Butler makes the characters twisted caricatures from the first page even when Rigby, Mordecai, and Skips are just chatting about the ride. The climax of this story is a little weak with Butler not getting enough time to flesh out the “Black Abyss”. However, his visuals are inventive, including a diagram of the Face Melter featuring Muscle Man that foreshadows the story’s events. The second backup is a little longer and better. It chronicles the attempt of Mordecai and Rigby to stay up all night instead of risking meeting their favorite TV cop show actor: a thinly veiled parody of Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. Sina Grace’s art is pretty restrained, but she and writer/colorist tell a fun story of Mordecai and Rigby just hanging out with a great guest monster. The story is tightly plotted and follows the crazy logic of a Regular Show episode. It’s the best of the backups. The other backups include Eileen and Don throwing a surprise birthday party for Rigby and the consequences of Rigby not cleaning his plate at dinner. Writer Rachel Connor does a great job at showing how jealous Rigby is that his brother is hanging out with Eileen, who he supposedly loathes. In a short story, she hints at possible character growth from our hyper, commitment-phobic squirrel friend. Artist Josceline Fenton also gets to draw Mordecai and Rigby in knightly garb, more Monty Python and the Holy Grail than Excalibur. The final story has a great concept, but the execution is a little lacking with lots of showing and exposition instead of the trippy visuals that make Regular Show great.

In conclusion, Regular Show Volume One is a great read for fans of the show as well as people who haven’t watched a single episode. It is packed with a lot of different kinds of stories and introduces the various employees of the Park. Artist Allison Strejlau also shows great mastery of the concept and pacing of the show as her art goes from BOOM!’s “house style” to mindbending madness as KC Green’s plot gets more and more outrageous. Regular Show is a very entertaining comic, and this is the perfect entry point for both fans and non-fans.

 

 

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