BOOM! Studios | Kaboom
(W) Ryan Ferrier (A) Ian McGinty (C) Fred C. Stresing (Backup Story) David DeGrand
Nostalgia can be a powerful thing, but more than that, it can be a profitable thing. Jumping on the recent trend of reboots and rehashes to tap into childhood memories, BOOM! Studios is bringing back many favorites of the millennial generation. Of course, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is their flagship nostalgia title, but through their Kaboom imprint other 1990s hits have made a comeback. One of those is Rocko’s Modern Life, a show so manic and fast paced most parents didn’t notice the adult themes present in each episode. Fans of the show should be happy to know that insanity is successfully captured by the creative team of Ryan Ferrier, Ian McGinty, and Fred C. Stresing.
If there was any lesson to be taken from Rocko’s Modern Life, it’s that growing up sucks. Children have a desire to reach adulthood so quickly, that some manage to forget how to be a kid. While getting a car and staying out late seems like pretty good reasons to want to fast-forward to adulthood, Rocko’s Modern Life managed to slap down those expectations by showing life post-childhood is far from sunshine and roses. The story by Ryan Ferrier reflects this overall idea, tackling the pros and cons of employment.
As a child, many think that what their parents do for a living may be cool. Many that have an opportunity to visit their parent’s place of employment are in awe of the place mommy or daddy spends the bulk of the day. Ferrier makes a concerted effort to shatter that illusion. Rocko’s boss is frank that this job is a soul-sucking nightmare in what is literally hell heck. His time outside of work is spent being drained and exhausted, though his friends are happy with the cool stuff he can buy with money.
Unfortunately, the story does stumble towards the finish line with a rushed resolution, a fault that was present in the show too. Ferrier likely could have spent a couple issues writing of Rocko’s misery, or his attempts to prove himself “unemployable” under the terms of his contract, but instead he gets released from his job in a manner that underwhelms, though it does show Rocko as a generally kind and sympathetic individual.
The artwork by Ian McGinty and Fred C. Stresing is a near-perfect recreation of the show’s look. Character renderings and settings look to be transplanted directly from a 1990s CRT television to the page. Being a continuation of an established cartoon, there is little to criticize when looking at the art itself. The page layouts, on the other hand, are another story altogether. The book moves at a frenetic pace thanks to the liberal use of splash pages and 3-panel layouts. While that does work for the book’s snappy, quick dialogue and overall manic nature, it does contribute to the aforementioned rushed ending.
Surprisingly insightful and hilarious, this might just be the most fun book released this week. Rocko’s Modern Life #2 is silly, entertaining read with a dark underbelly. Nostalgia for the show may cause many to pick it up, but they might be inclined to check out the next installment thanks to the surprisingly sharp jabs it takes adulthood.