Brian Wood. Did you hear that? Good. Get used to it. You’re probably going to hear it a lot if you’re reading anything I write about comics. In 2002 Brian Wood was in the middle of blazing a creative trail. His prolific output from this time period included writing comics for AiT/Planet Lar, Oni, Vertigo, and Image. Pounded by Brian Wood and Steve Rolston arrived on stands early that year, and I’m not sure if anyone noticed. Obviously they were all in the wrong if they missed it.
What makes Pounded stick out from Wood’s other work is that it’s a.) light, and b.) funny. These aren’t common qualities in Wood’s work, which makes this three issue mini-series quite special. The nice thing is that, like the majority of Wood’s other work, the characters have heart. The story revolves around Heavy Parker. I think it’s safe to say that the lead singer of “Heavy Parker and the Park Side Loungers” is a flaming douche. He plays punk rock and is often called a poser…because he is. Heavy relies on his trust fund to fuel his partying “punk rock” ways across all of Vancouver. Punk Rock according to Heavy includes banging every girl who has legs, doing a bunch of drugs, and playing loud, vapid music. Eventually Heavy breaks the wrong girl’s heart. His 17 year old girlfriend, Missy, goes off to college in New York City. Heavy decides it’s an awesome idea to sleep around in her absence. She comes back rebirthed as a true New York City punk rocker…and with a posse of 5 giant guys.
Seeing Heavy get what he deserves is pretty satisfying, and it’s fun to be a fly on the wall in Heavy’s world. He expects people to feel sorry for him when he just goes around being a horrible person. The nice thing is that no one does, and a lot of the people around him let him know he’s done a lot of crappy things. I guess what I really gravitate to is that I see people like Heavy more often than I’d like to. It’s fairly relatable with tangible characters. Sure it’s told in a slightly over the top way, but that’s what makes it fun.
While Wood’s structure and dialog add depth to the book, it wouldn’t be nearly as awesome without artist Steve Rolston. Rolston pencil’s, inks, and letters this black and white look at his home town. Since the story takes place in Rolston’s hometown, the backgrounds are plentiful and well defined. They add a lot to the environment the characters exist in. His characters are a little cartoony with a hint of manga. Rolston has a really clean style that adds the light element to the script. In fact, after reading this, it makes me sad that Rolston hasn’t collaborated with Wood since. I would like to see Rolston draw more of this world.
Pounded is a fairly short read. It’s the type of comic that you can just pick up, and enjoy it without having to know much of anything. You’ve met people like the ones that are inside. They’re a little amplified, and they’re pretty darn entertaining. If you want to pick it up and give it a chance, you can get it here on Amazon. It’s like $9 for the trade paperback. Go check this out if you like good stories about people being people…and giant a-holes getting what they deserve. If you’ve got a college girlfriend who’s never checked out comics, this might not be a bad place to have her start. Stop reading this and go click the button. NOW! CLICK IT! STOP THE READING! Just go do what you know you need to do in your heart! I’m done typing.