April 30, 2015

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Garbage Quest by Bobby Mono


Written and Illustrated by Bobby Mono
Self-Published

A young knight discovers that a castle is full of trash, from old paint to a bastard sword. Soon he's on a quest to get rid of everything, but he'll have to do some really hard work just to meet government regulations in this quirky, comedic mini that's a lot of a fun to read.

In a series of mostly one-panel pages, Bobby Mono does a great job with the timing and pacing of the comic. As soon as the government official shows up to say the knight can't pollute the moat, we know we're in for a joking ride, and things continue, as he asks why the garbage dump wizard has an exclamation point over his head.

"Oh, that's because I'm a quest-giver," quips the wizard, who is in full beard and pointed hat mode. This is only the start, however, as the wizard gleefully asks the knight to first kick turtles and then push babies in the mud. Don't worry, though, they're evil babies, complete with sinister moustaches.

That's the kind of jokes you're in for, from start to finish, as we learn the only way to get rid of latex paint is to have a dragon burn it, or the man with overly large ears, who suggests a way to get rid of an old couch. Each gags follows the next in rapid succession, with the running gag of an interdimensional being getting the worst of the knight's efforts to clean up.

There's one other running gag that's a bit of a D&D joke, and it's a lot of fun to get to its resolution, which closes out the comedy, but you don't need to know the reference to find it funny. Mono's dialogue and visuals take care of the heavy lifting, and anything else you get is a bonus.

Visually, Mono's art reminded me a bit of Kate Beaton or similar creators, people who are able to take mostly flat images and make them interesting and compelling. I love his design for the wizard, especially when he's describing the tasks, for example. Mono takes the tropes he's working with and bends them to his will. You'll find better-drawn crystal-ball retail shops, I'm sure, but the setting, the calm manner in which the associate explains they do take used balls, and the way the orbs are distributed across the page do much to make the story work.

Unlike some minis of this type, Mono even makes a strong effort to set up the backgrounds. There are intricate brick designs on several pages, the dragon's cave has stalactites of varying sizes, and there's a bit of a smokey feeling to the blacksmith shop. It's some nice scene-setting that helps make Garbage Quest stand out among similar comics.

The best thing about this comic, though, are the visual set pieces, whether it's the dragon dutifully frying paint, a cultist eagerly taking bones, or that poor creature having all kinds of detailed trash thrown into its otherworldly home. This is a very fun, laugh out loud type of comic, and I'm really glad I picked it up. If you like jokes in your comics, you should grab it, too.

You can buy Garbage Quest here.