MonkeyBrain Comics is perhaps the hottest new place to check out creator-owned comics. Everything is sold digitally through comiXology, which keeps costs down and allows them to offer comics for only $0.99. $0.99! Which, is awesome, because it allows readers to take a chance on something new, for less than a buck. Always a fan of exploring new creator-owned and indie comics, I am really looking forward to digging through their site. So, to begin, I read the first five issues of Knuckleheads, an ongoing digital comic by Brian Winkeler and Robert Wilson IV, and available through MonkeyBrain.
What's great about Knuckleheads is that it’s a fun, cleverly-written digital comic that is easy to jump into and cheap to pick up. Another thing to like is that it’s not your typical superhero comic. The main character, Trevor K. Trevinski, will tell you he is a hero, but really he is more of an anti-hero. A twenty-something of unknown profession, Trevor, much to his surprise, has recently been empowered by a magical fist that allows him to control most anything he wants. You know, kind of like Green Lantern. Except in this case, Trevor doesn't care about using his new-found fantastical powers for the benefit of the universe. He’d rather use his unexpected gift to succeed within his sphere of comfort, A.K.A. sitting on the couch playing video games. He’s lovable and different, and his sarcastic, dude-ish personality is entertaining.
While Brian Winkeler’s writing on Knuckleheads is enjoyable, I wish his characters had more depth. The first two issues made me laugh-out-loud and struck me as having snappy dialogue. But the story moved very slowly, and in the third issue onward, I began to notice that some of the side characters felt one-dimensional. While I dug that the main character had a unique voice, other characters – the “hot, drunk English chick” and the redneck robbers – came off as clichés, with little more than a forced accent to establish their character.
Adding the words “oy” and “bloody” every other line doesn't make for a British accent, and hillbilly dudes who say “y’all” and “ain't” but also use big words like “demeanor” and “shockingly aggressive” feel off. My silly humor really ate up some of the jokes, but others, such as the one about “Blackguyver”, fell flat.
Robert Wilson IV is a solid artist, and he draws Knuckleheads with a fun style that fits the tone of the comic. I can tell he enjoys drawing it (especially the Gojira-style monster that provides the action in the first three issues), and that enthusiasm adds energy to the storytelling. There are some inconsistencies across panels, occasionally generic poses and arrangements, and often little going on in the background. So, you know, there is some room to grow. But over-all, the art fits nicely and adds to the fun feel of the comic.
So, when it comes down to it, the real question is: should you read this comic? And my honest answer is … that depends. If you’re the type of person who enjoys anti-heroes, wisecracks, buddy adventures, some low-brow humor, and relatable stories with simple twists, you’ll probably really like Knuckleheads. If you’re picky, cranky, high-brow, and looking for perfection, well, you might not. Knuckleheads is not perfect. But it has an interesting premise, an intriguing main character, talented creators, and some solid laughs. And, really, for $0.99 an issue, why not give it a chance and see where this thing goes?
Knuckleheads is available now through MonkeyBrain Comics and comiXology.
What MonkeyBrain titles have you read? What do you recommend? Let us know!
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