Advance Review: `Survival Street’ #1 Is Brought To You By The Letters ‘F’ And ‘U’
by Tom Smithyman
Fans of Sesame Street (isn’t that everyone?) who are fed up with the state of the United States will find something to love here. Either that or they’re going to be offended that these creators have desecrated a favorite childhood memory. It’s a fun read in either case.
It’s not exactly a sunny day on this street. And no, everything is not A-OK.
You can almost hear the story pitch for the series: “We want to recreate kids-favorite TV show Sesame Street as a satire, where the puppets are persecuted like immigrants in an ultra-nationalistic, corporate-controlled US of A set in the near future. Oh, and the puppets rebel and take their bloody fight to the real street. We’ll start in Florida.”
It’s quite a set up. And largely it works. Just about every kid in the last 50 years grew up watching Sesame Street as well as the increasing power of corporations. So the premise is – for better or worse – relatable.
That doesn’t necessarily mean we are asking to see Herbert, a cross between loveable, furry Grover and Rambo, shooting fascists in the head. But hey, it’s satire, right? Many of the familiar characters are present, more or less. There’s Gurgle, who yearns for ice cream sundaes the way Cookie Monster goes after Mrs. Fields. And there’s the Oscar the Grouch avatar Tony the Troll, who is a recycling freak. Thankfully there’s no Elmo – yet.
In the hands of writers James Asmus and Jim Festante and artist Abylay Kussainov, these once-familiar characters are transformed into something more nefarious. That is sure to upset some purists and die-hard fans as well as those who will damn it for being woke. But in a world where corporations and firearms seem to have more rights that certain people, it’s actually a wonder it’s taken this long for someone to think of it. (To be fair, the musical Avenue Q did it in the 2000s, but it stuck a bit closer to the source material.)
With each character instantly familiar, Kussainov’s artwork makes it clear he is a fan of the original series. Translating the text into imagery must have been a monumental task, but his style is a perfect blend with the whacked-out, over-the-top action.
Future installments of this four-part series have the Street gang taking on a thinly veiled NRA group in Texas as well as the wildfires in California. In other words, they are on their way to where the air is sweet.
Survival Street #1 will be available for purchase on August 3, 2022.