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Advance Review: Kyle Starks Brings "Filthy...Hobo" Folklore to Image with Rock Candy Mountain #1

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Advance Review: Kyle Starks Brings "Filthy...Hobo" Folklore to Image with <i>Rock Candy Mountain</i> #1

Writer/Artist: Kyle Starks
Colorist: Chris Schweizer
Designer: Dylan Todd
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: April 5, 2017

rockcandymountaincover.jpeg There are two kinds of comic-book fans. One kind will not be impressed by a comic that begins with Satan bellowing, “Filthy fucking hobos!” The other kind will not only be impressed—they will be delighted, thrilled and ecstatic. If you’re the second kind of fan, Christmas has come early in the form of Sexcastle creator Kyle Starks’ new Image series, a humor/action comic about drifters: Rock Candy Mountain.

Set in 1948, this debut issue takes place (mostly) on a train. The heroes are a classic odd couple: Pomona is a serial loser and dweeb, down on his luck, headed back to Kentucky to work for a relative’s pest-control company after bombing in Hollywood. Jackson is a veteran hobo (and Sexcastle-like badass) in search of the mythical Rock Candy Mountain, and this makeshift nirvana may be more than just a song—or so Jackson believes. Jackson and Pomona buddy up and tangle with the hobo mafia as the literal Prince of Darkness follows on their trail.
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Rock Candy Mountain #1 Interior Art by Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer

Every aspect of this comic is a blast, from the kinetic visuals to the comedically testosterone-fueled dialogue. It’s a shame you never hear Batman referring to the Joker as “crazy as a shithouse rat,” but Rock Candy Mountain fills that gap. Starks offers a description of Jackson’s fighting skills that is one of the funniest and most disgusting lines I’ve ever read. Chris Schweizer’s colors are minimalistic but mood-setting. Blues and blacks highlight the tension of a boxcar squabble that inevitably ends in a brawl. The brightest pages involve Satan, which could be a visual clue that flashy isn’t always a good thing in this series.

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Rock Candy Mountain #1 Interior Art by Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer

Starks, who also contributes to Oni’s Rick and Morty comics, has the genre of action/comedy nailed, and Rock Candy Mountain is off to an impressive start with great characters and a compelling mythology. If you’re a returning Sexcastle reader or enjoy movies like Evil Dead 2 and Big Trouble in Little China, give this ridiculous (in the best way possible) series a shot.

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Rock Candy Mountain #1 Interior Art by Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer

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