- Man Goat & the Bunnyman #1 (of 3)
- Story by
- Joe Brusha
- Dave Franchini
- Written by Joe Brusha
- Art by Guillermo Fajardo
- Colors by Ulises Arreola
- Letters by Taylor Esposito (of Ghost Glyph Studios)
- Edited by
- Kellie Supplee
- Dave Franchini
- Coming 4-14-2021!
Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, the Loch Ness Monster: all are age-old folklore fodder, but could they actually be real? In recent years, the myth of Man Goat and the Bunnyman has grown locally, and many have claimed sightings of the two unique creatures, yet no concrete evidence exists… and that’s exactly how they want it. Dealing with the things that nightmares are made of so we don’t have to- deranged mutants, satanic cults, demons, summer vacationers- Man Goat and the Bunnyman protect us from the evils that hide in plain sight. But they don’t want your adoration, they just want to be left alone.
Phil and Floyd are a couple of average fellas, doing the best that they can with the hand they’ve been given. They’re just like the rest of us, except that Phil is a womanizing goat man and Floyd looks like a giant East Bunny who’s looking for love, drops pellets of poo when frightened, and flies into a psychotic rage when threatened. So yeah… pretty average.
Zenescope might not have the market cornered on over the top, off the wall titles, but they sure do have a knack for it. It helps that the people running the show- Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, & Dave Franchini- proudly acknowledge that their approach to comics is akin to that of Michael Bay’s film making flair. Much more “summer blockbuster” than “indie arthouse film”. Now, I had no real idea what I was getting into when I took a look at Man Goat & the Bunnyman, but I kinda thought that at the very least it wouldn’t be boring.
For this three issue limited series, Joe Brusha leans hard into the tongue in cheek attitude that makes movies like Tucker & Dale vs Evil not only watchable but also arguably instant classics. The ridiculous premise works best in the relationship between Phil & Floyd, just two mismatched but likeable personalities who don’t see themselves as part of what’s strange in the world. Their dialogue reads like the kind of talks you’ve had with your best friend, that one person who knows you better than anyone and isn’t afraid to let you know when you’re being an idiot. The addition of Phil & Floyd’s hobby as keepers of the unknown and slayers of evil cultists, hillbilly or otherwise, is just the hot sauce thrown in to make the chili great.
Helping to bring the hilarity and uber-violence to the page, the team of Guillermo Fajardo & Ulises Arreola have embraced Zenescope’s insanity with what I can only describe as joyous abandon. Man Goat & the Bunnyman has to be one of those projects that comic artists love, because there isn’t the barest hint of restraint that I could find. Honestly, in a story about a demonic goat person who’s a hit with the ladies (“Animal magnetism is in my DNA, Floyd. You can’t change science.”) and a rabbit/human hybrid who carries an axe into a gunfight because his paws make shooting problematic, holding back just isn’t something that would make the dream work. Fajardo handles all of the crazy action and bizarre character designs, using every trick I can imagine to show the personality of everyone involved… in Floyd’s case, more than one. On the colors, Arreola swings a brush heavily doused in arterial red for a good chunk of the issue, and holds to a more standard, cartoony color palette for the rest. Together, the two have put out a visually entertaining, never boring, ultimately readable comic that pairs art to script without a hitch.
For lettering, it’s tough to pin down a name more recognizable to me than Taylor Esposito. Whether a panel is action and sound effects heavy or the dialogue is flowing, he handles his business. I’m not exaggerating when I say that bad lettering can ruin a good comic, so it’s nice to see Esposito’s name on a credits page. As a reader, I don’t have to worry about word bubbles getting in the way of the artwork, or text being stylized to the point of being unreadable. Being able to just sit back to relax with a comic book, which would be why most of us read them well into our middle age, is reason enough to give the unsung letterers out there a covid-safe socially distanced high five.
I can’t really lie, I’ve rolled my eyes at Zenescope’s output in the past, being more interested in the titles that haven’t involved their fairy tale universe. They’ve put out some great horror comics, some good comedic reading, and in the case of Man Goat & the Bunnyman a bit of both. Definitely not for kiddos because of strong language, violence, & some sexual situations (insert all of your “horny goat” jokes as you see fit), I would have to recommend this one to fans of Supernatural, Lethal Weapon, & the works of National Lampoon.
Final Score: 11/13