It’s the first collection of the manic hobo-fighting epic that is Rock Candy Mountain. Come along and ride the rails with the mysterious, unbeatable hobo Jackson on his quest to find the mythical hobo heaven. Meet his sidekick Pomona Slim. But watch out for the Devil! And the FBI! And the Hobo Mafia too! It’s a fantastical fisticuff frolic through post-World War II America via the rails and backroads, through underground fight clubs, prison, and the hobo jungles wrought with dangers, hobo fights, jokes, and locomotive excitement.
Rock Candy Mountain, set in post-WWI America, centers on Jackson, a hobo (a real profesh!) who’s in search of Haywire Mac’s Big Rock Candy Mountain. Jackson appears to be bumbling his way through tight situations, but it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to the story than a series of chance encounters.
Jackson is collecting allies and artifacts, while outrunning the FBI, the Hobo Mafia (Oh, yes. That is exactly as amazing as it sounds) and Beelzebub himself. Pomona Slim (FKA Hollywood Slim), Hundred Cats, Gumpy Tom, and Big Sis are all unknowing cogs in Jackson’s big scheme.
If you’ve read 2015’s Sexcastle, also from Image Comics, you’re familiar with writer/artist Kyle Stark’s minimalist lines and his quick wit. Stark has a knack for telling complex stories simply. Stark portrays period counter culture through language and custom in nuanced fashion that feels natural and genuine. There isn’t any clumsy exposition.
That writing style carries over to the artwork. There isn’t a wasted line, panel, or gutter in the story. No need to flip back through a dozen times to see what Easter Eggs and callbacks you missed the first time around. If there’s a ring on a character’s finger, and you’re shown that ring a dozen times, chances are that ring is an important piece of theatrical property.
Chris Schweizer’s color choices add a nice level of depth to Stark’s deceptively simple line work. Schweizer opens with an almost monochromatic palette, reminiscent of an old sepia photograph, but the colors brighten and deepen as we get more invested in the story.
Rocky Candy Mountain Volume 1 is a fun read. It’s full of action, dark comedy, goofy period slang, paranormal activity, and trains. Who doesn’t love trains? It’s a period Bond film, on a train, without the hardware.
Rock Candy Mountain TP, Volume 1 is published by Image Comics and collects Rock Candy Mountain #1-4. It is available for preorder from your LCS using Diamond code JUL170755 and will be on shelves for purchase on 27 September 2017.