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: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics