PopCultHQ received a review copy of THE BOXMASTERS #1 from Source Point Press. Available for pre-order, the creative team for this series features writing from Garrett Gunn, artwork by Stan “Saint” Yak, and letters from HdE, with cover artwork by Justin Mason and cover colors by Sean Forney.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of the premiere issue of…
THE BOXMASTERS – Vol. 1
Page Count: 56 pages
Someone is traveling through time, attempting to destroy the history of rock and roll, and the only thing that can stand in their way is THE BOXMASTERS!
Real-life rockstars Bud (Billy Bob) Thornton, J.D. Andrew, and Teddy Andreadis are featured in this unprecedented sci-fi adventure that will rock you through time!
This 56-page graphic novel is written by Garrett Gunn, with art by Stan Yak and lettering by HdE.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
THE BOXMASTERS #1
Rock and Roll. The music. The culture. What if there was an organization tasked with maintaining its integrity? To ensure that Rock and Roll music is preserved and honored for its contributions to society, even history? Now imagine a sinister plot by a mysterious entity to rid the world of the melodious tunes from legendary rock greats. So when this covert organization requires assistance outside the agency, facing insurmountable odds, where do they turn? Who better than The Boxmasters!
With their suave retro style and harmonic personalities, this hip band of musicians make saving the world looks sharp and cool at the same time. For a black-and-white comic (with a few instances of color splashed on panels), the output is notably strong in delivering an appealing narrative, crisp visuals, and charming characters. But that very well could be the true personifications of Thornton, Andreadis, and Andrew. There are plenty of moments where you will actually hear Billy Bob’s voice in your head as you read some of his dialog.
For $6.99, you’ll be getting great value for your buck. With a whopping 56 pages (nearly three regular issue comics), a fun and intriguing story, beautiful artwork, and the chance to follow Bud and his band on an adventure, this is a well-put together comic from cover to cover. If you are looking for something different, or something out-of-the-ordinary, or a mash-up of genres, or you like to see a real-life band save be tasked with saving the world…well, THE BOXMASTERS gives it all to you and then some.
Writer Garrett Gunn delivers a unique narrative that is nothing short of brilliant. I’ve read other titles Gunn has written and all have been terrific, but with THE BOXMASTERS he shows off his many layers. Not only is he a skilled writer, he’s able to manage multiple genres, all while keeping the stories intriguing and fun. No average ape could do that.
Gunn has certainly nailed down the dialog coming from Bud (Billy Bob) Thornton. While reading, you can practically hear Thornton’s voice jump off the pages. But what I noticed, which many may not catch or perhaps overlook, is the dimension he adds to The Boxmasters (the comic and the group within). When you take real-life individuals, let alone musicians or celebrities, and place them in a comic book, they in essence become two-dimensional. Sure they look like they do in real life or in person, but they seem like just drawings. Garrett has found a way to then take that 2D versions and fill them with true depth. Reading this comic made me feel like, “Yeah, this is what Billy Bob sounds like.” Not only that, but you feel as if that this could really happen to this trio. No matter what you’ve read by Gunn, with each new book he continues to impress and steps up his game. THE BOXMASTERS is no different.
The artist known as Saint Yak, quite frankly, is an artist whose name is quickly becoming synonymous with top-level work and quality you can count on. I’ve seen Yak’s work before online and in comics, but THE BOXMASTERS may be his best work yet. At the very least, the name of this title should come up every time someone mentions Stan Yak’s name.
Always one to deliver the goods in titles which he is contributing, Stan has a full range of his talent on display in THE BOXMASTERS. He’s done an exceptional job in illustrating the characters in this issue, and “exceptional” may be putting it lightly. Yak has captured the look and mannerisms of Thornton and The Boxmasters, but he has also kept that high-level of detail with the other key players and supporting cast. Outside of the characters, Stan has a number of panels filled with highly detailed and quite intricate drawings that are just stimulating to the eyes. And his inks are remarkable; not too heavy or distracting, nothing excessive. But what he produces in this book is such definition on the individuals’ faces and some elaborate scenery/backgrounds that leave you in awe. This is an artist who loves what he does, is passionate about his illustrations, and it comes out in his work here in THE BOXMASTERS.
It’s good to see letterer HdE, the Font-slinger himself, featured in THE BOXMASTERS. He’s always been sharp with his work in any comic I’ve reviewed with him credited, but what I noticed most about his contributions here were unexpected but impressed me. The letterer is intentional is producing dialog, captions, and sound effects in such a way that it doesn’t take away from the artwork. Which made me notice that Yak tries to not take away from the writing, and Gunn’s narrative seems to embrace both artists’ work. This fluid dynamic between creators makes for great cohesion between the pages and shows that having HdE be the letterer on record for this series is a smart choice.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
Besides the fact that this book possesses quality storytelling and is visually exciting, the most appealing aspect is seeing “Bud” Thornton, J.D. Andrew, and Teddy Andreadis have themselves characterized in a comic book. Though you might think taking a country rock/rockabilly band, have them mixed up with a bit of sci-fi and time travel, add some mystery and intrigue with a government organization and intervention, and sprinkle some humor throughout may be a bit much to tackle, but it comes across surprisingly organic and believable. What Gunn and Yak have produced in this first volume is something quite different from what you’ll find on the racks at your LCS. In fact, it’s something you never realized you needed until you turn that final page. Source Point Press has a hit on their hands.
4.5 Out of 5 Stars
THE BOXMASTERS #1 can be pre-ordered through Source Point Press!
Letterer – HdE
Publisher – Source Point Press