4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK is the darkly comedic story of four burgeoning child criminals and their elaborate plans. When a group of bumbling criminals show up in her father’s life looking to pull one last job, young Paige has two choices – let her father get caught up in their criminal hijinks or enlist her three best friends to do the job first. Paige picks the bad one. 180ish pages of full color comic-booking about friendship, family, growing up, and grand larceny from rising star writer Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home, Punisher, Edge of Venomverse) and equally rising star artist Tyler Boss (Lazarus, CalExit, Vice Magazine).
4 Kids Walk Into a Bank wastes no time warming up. Okay. It wastes a little time warming up while the kids finish up their ill-fated D&D mission in the opening sequence. Not really, though, because we learn a lot about these kids (there are four of them) and their relationships through the horribly botched fantasy mission.
There’s Paige, the headstrong tomboy, Stretch, the super tall kid, Walter, the painfully shy kid, and Berger, the kid from next door who swears way too much. These kids are tight. They live near each other, have the same bullies, love the same games, have each other’s backs when a group of ex-cons assaults one of them at her front door, have a nightly CB radio routine…Y’know. Kid stuff.
There’s also this bank thing. Paige’s dad is mixed up somehow with the felons who punched Paige in her foyer. The goons want his help robbing a bank. Paige doesn’t think they can pull it off, so she enlists her friends to rob the bank instead, in a beautiful and naïve attempt to keep her old man out of trouble.
One of the absolutely brilliant things about 4 Kids is that it’s timeless. The creative team may have had a period in mind, but honestly, these kids could have been growing up in the 70’s, the double-aughts, or anywhere in between, and I only even said the 70’s because D&D didn’t roll around until ’74.
Matt Rosenberg’s script is ripe with the philosophical, psychological, and sociological overtones that flourish in adolescent sub culture. That’s an overly fancy way of saying he gets kids. He gets who they are and how they interact. None of the dialogue comes off as an out of touch adult writing what they think kids should sound like. It’s all genuine. And hilarious. But dark and sensitive and deep. And hilarious.
Getting on to the art, one of my pet peeves (besides when kids talk like little adults) is when kids get drawn like little adults. Fully the same proportions and ambulation, but 62% the size of an adult. Tyler Boss’ kids don’t look like adults. Boss captures the goofiness of puberty and the individuality of each kid’s experience with it.
Then there’s that wallpaper. I have never, not one time, seen a wallpaper artist credited on the title page. 4 Kids has one. And she’s good. Courtney Menard killed the wallpaper. I would buy this wallpaper and hang it in my house.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a fun, authentic book that deals with coming of age in a very difficult situation. It’s The Goonies and Stand By Me. It’s Ferris Bueller and My Girl and The Outsiders. It’s everything awkward and beautiful and painful and awesome about being a kid. It’s kinda okay and freaking awesome, but also really, really sad and pretty funny.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank TP releases on the 25th of October 2017 and collects issues 1-5. Published by Black Mask Studios, it features art/design by Tyler Boss, flatting by Clare Dezutti, lettering by Thomas Mauer, wallpaper design by Courtney Menard, and script by Matthew Rosenberg. It can be ordered from your local comic shop using Diamond Code AUG171291.