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Review: Knock Em Dead #1

Knock Em Dead #1

Pryor Brice is a guy just trying to make his way in the world of stand-up comedy. Night after night, he bombs and dies on-stage. He’s struggling with his craft but what happens when he’s killed in an accident with a stranger who has a lot of career advice for Brice? Knock ‘Em Dead presents the oddest comedy situation you’ll probably read.

I enjoy Eliot Rahal’s writing a whole lot. Some of his previous work, like Quantum & Woody, Midnight Vista, and Hot Lunch Special, show how wide a range he has and that he’s got an expanding area of what he’s willing to work in. It’s pretty fantastic in that nothing he writes feels like anything else he’s done. With Knock ‘Em Dead dealing with stand-up comedy, it felt like you could really feel the anxiety and discomfort of going up and bombing, as Pryor Brice does throughout this issue. I thought this one did flow a bit slower than some of Eliot’s other books. And having met Eliot, he’s a hilarious guy and I wish a bit more of that humor would have found its way into the pages.

This is my first exposure to Mattia Monaco’s work. I like what I saw of Monaco’s art. Not overly detailed and when coupled with Matt Milla’s colors, they really helped sell the atmosphere of what the story encompasses. Not for nothing but Taylor Esposito’s lettering is always A+ in everything he works on.

I had a bit higher hopes for the first issue of Knock ‘Em Dead. I loved the look but only kinda liked the story portion. That said, I’m definitely picking up the rest of this series as I tend to like everything Eliot Rahal writes. But, with how the story is playing out, I’m sure it really kicks into gear with the next issue. Here’s hoping for that.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Mattia Monaco
Color: Matt Mailia Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Review: Knock Em Dead #1

Knock Em Dead #1

When it comes to comic writers, Eliot Rahal often delivers some of the funniest comics on the market. His style often acts as an homage and a send-up to the genre he writes about. So, it’d seem natural for Rahal to take on the world of stand-up comedy in his new series. Knock Em Dead #1 might seem like it’s “all laughs” but it’s so much more as it progresses.

Knock Em Dead #1 follows Pryor Brice a young man who has the want to be a stand-up comedian. The comic takes us through his beginning stumbles as he attempts to make a career out of it.

Rahal does a fantastic job of giving us a character we can relate to. Whether this is something you want to do, we’ve all had that moment where we really wanted to do something. Some of us succeeded. Some of us failed. There’s those who were in between. But, it’s an experience we’ve had in our lives. We can have sympathy and empathy for Pryor as he stumbles. Boy does he stumble. But he tries over and over. It’s someone we can cheer for in a way.

But, Rahal also gives us some depth to the character. We get to meet Brice’s sister. We find out about his parents. In one issue we get a good sense of who he is and what he’s gone through. He’s a “person” by the issue’s end. And, he’s a person we can feel sorry for in his consistently being beaten down. He’s the sad sack we can root for.

Rahal also allows us to connect with Brice by leaving the jokes in an unknown space. With letterer Taylor Esposito, the jokes are hidden through squiggles or imagery. It allows the reader to put in what they think the humor is. It allows us to fill in the blank with our own humor and in that way can both ignore a specific joke that would turn us off but hooks the reader who puts themselves in Brice’s shoes. By having the reader “make the joke” they become Brice in a way furthering the hook of the comic.

Mattia Monaco‘s art is fantastic. There’s a style to it all that’s both grounded and exaggerated. When Brice bombs, that’s what we see as the audience blows up before his, and our eyes. Along with the color of Matt Mailia, we get not just Brice the comedian but jokes in a way too. The experience on the stage becomes a highly visual one between Esposito’s lettering and Monaco and Mailia’s art. We get a full sense of Brice’s failure and eventual slight success through all of the visuals, not in the dialogue. The audience reaction. The body language. It’s key to delivering the mood and lows (and some highs) of the stand-up experience.

Knock Em Dead #1 sets things up for what’s to come. It focuses on its main character to set him up before knocking him down. The second issue will be a shift from this and it’ll be interesting to see where it all goes but as a start, this is a comedy career I want to see explored and where it goes.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Mattia Monaco
Color: Matt Mailia Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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