Two bodybuilding bros fight against corrupt cops and sleazy landlords in this stellar comic from Kickstarter. It’s a comic with a clear message that can be a little too direct at times, but more than makes up for it in the fun and bombastic artwork.
On the surface, Huey and Ajax Beef look like two swole dudes who love pancakes and a good time. They go much deeper than that as they fight for their community, protecting it and those who live there from corrupt cops and sleazy landlords. Described as “the aspirational leftist superhero comic,” Beef Bros delivers on that and a whole lot more.
There’s over-the-top and then there’s Beef Bros. There is no doubt about the message in this comic. It reads a bit like those “More You Know” segments that would air at the end of cartoons like G.I. Joe and Transformers. That sounds corny, but it’s just part of the charm of this book. Writer Aubrey Sitterson boils these ideas down to their base forms, translating them into a manner that everyone can pick up and immediately understand.
The villains in Beef Bros take on exaggerated versions of their real world counterparts. A greedy landlord transforms into a cold ice monster as he tries to defend his property over the people paying to live there. The police show up in heavily armed robots practically built out of missiles and bullets. Artist Tyrell Cannon goes all out with these designs, creating some of the best visuals in comics right now.
The personalities of the Huey and Ajax themselves really shine through in their designs too. You can pick up on some small details, like their relationship and how Huey is the smart one, just from how they carry themselves. What comes through loud and clear is the power of positivity. These two dudes like working out, eating pancakes, and taking care of their community. What more do you need in life?
Just as each character has a unique look, they also have their own voice thanks to letterer Taylor Esposito. You instantly get a sense of Huey and Ajax’s voices from how their words appear on the page. Esposito shines in the sound effect work, adding a whole other layer to the action. These things practically fly out of the book and right into your face. Plus, I will never get tired of Huey shouting “Krakadoom Daddy!” when throwing a big fist.
Colorist Raciel Silva, aided by Fico Ossio, turn in some incredibly vibrant imagery in Beef Bros. Just like the characters, the colors are bright and welcoming. Where things get really exciting is when the action heats up. There are these explosions of color, not unlike what you’d see in a bombastic battle in Dragon Ball Z, only every color of the rainbow is used here. This adds so much to the fun and excitement of the comic.
Beef Bros is a very relevant comic for this day and age. Yes, I called a comic about two body builders fighting an ice monster, a mech-piloting police force, and two boot-licking super heroes relevant and meaningful. It has a very clear message that is communicated directly, like an after school special at times, but it’s done in such a fun and joyful way that you just go with it. It’s something I want to use when arguing with people about fair labor practices and police violence. You can’t do that with many other comics. Bottom line: Beef Bros is the comic we need in 2021.
If Beef Bros tickles your fancy, Sitterson has another title in the works in the same vein with Stoned Master. Currently on Kickstarter, the comic is co-created by Chris Moreno and delves into community-driven politics through the lens of outlandish genre work. The campaign is in the last week and is very close to funding at the time of this writing.