PopCultHQ received an advanced review copy of BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1 from AHOY Comics. Available April 3rd, 2019, the creative team for this issue features writing from Stuart Moore, art from Alberto Ponticelli, colors from Giulia Brusco, and lettering from Rob Steen.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1
A secret cabal lead by a monkey. Barbarian wars in far off lands. Disco. Drugs. Martians. Why the hell not!
You read about things being a ‘love letter’ to something or other, and most times the cliché is so tired it’s almost narcoleptic. Then comes writer Stuart Moore’s ode to the cult-pop culture of the seventies and you get why that cliché was coined.
It’s reverence, but it’s wrapped in irreverence. The humor is a strong point here as you land face first into a strange adventure that really does blow a kiss to the quirky creations of the ‘70s.
The modern apathy and cynicism that Brita reacts to the world is just one such unique quirk. The constant sharp turns away from how the script would usually go on a battlefield. Stuart Moore, the writer of The 99 and key editor on Vertigo’s most historic titles, writes something completely different to anything he’s done before.
The narrative jumps are confusing, but then again, a linear narrative would probably not work against the bonkers events and ideas put across in this opening issue. I’ll take this for what it is – bonkers fun – and trust that Moore will tie it all together as we go along.
Alberto Ponticelli has a résumé littered with strange fiction. Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E, Second Sight, Unknown Soldier. These are all titles that didn’t shy away from a Jones for the bizarre. His work on Bronze Age Boogie looks like a wet dream. Gangster Monkeys, Emo-Barbarian princesses, airplane collars and cephalopods. This must be a fun book to draw for an artist who seems to relish the left of center.
He buys into the nostalgia trip, too. Packing detail into the modern settings and running wild on the barbaric battle feels with equal efficiency. The designs are familiar, but have their own flavor. The art has a real grasp of timing and makes interactions feel anything but forced and tells a great story from frame to frame.
It’s a little skittish in parts, a little quirky, but damnit if that isn’t the perfect fit for this title.
The color work by Giulia Brusco perfectly captures the era that the book satirizes so well. Adding authenticity to the settings, it’s clear Brusco is concentrating her palette as close to known depictions of the pulp, martial arts, and underground comics of the 70s as possible, while still maintaining an uncanny knack for communicating mood and theme as she did so well in Scalped. Battlefields are fought at perpetual twilight, nightclubs couldn’t get any seedier, and Martian invasions look appropriately eerie under the brush of the talented colorist.
The pulp and noir playgrounds of The Shadow and Fury proved a perfect training camp for Rob Steen to party up with the rest of the creative team on this issue. From the Cthulhu-like callings inside Brita’s mind to the character yells. Steen puts a stamp on the issue with concise and clear, well-placed dialogue that also contributes to the humor in the story. Steen, as a letterer, also has a great gift for not letting exposition seem too wordy and congestive to the eye, something not enough of the letterers who do it get credit for.
PopCultHQ’s Overall Assessment:
I didn’t know what to expect before reading this, but whatever those expectations were, consider them shattered…in a FANTASTIC way! This may seem like wall-to-wall insanity, but it’s an absolute party full of ideas that I’m all in for hanging around and seeing what more madness they develop into. A nostalgia trip that’s done in a completely original fashion. Nothing is explained to you and it makes everything all the more exciting. Give this book a read if you want something completely different to everything else on your stack.