Please tell me you all watched RollerJam as a kid. Dude that shit was awesome and got me so hyped up for anything. Of course there was no better team than the Florida Sundogs. Those guys and gals rocked it each week. I think every insane person has dreamt of becoming a roller derby player at one point. You get to hit people, throw people, run over people, and skate all day just for points. Yeah man, that sounds like a blast. Fast and Frightening - A Comic About Roller Derby has to be read. It gives all those people a chance to feel a part of RollerJam. It makes that feeling of setting up the pillows in your basement with your bicycle helmet that has a taped on Sundogs logo running around knocking out pillows all come back to you. Those were the best days.
The comic is a great combination of introductions (to players and the game) along with giving us plenty of roller derby grit. The story follows a girls derby team from birth. We meet Stephanie, who decides after seeing a roller derby event with her three friends to start her own team; Coventry Outlaw Vixens. The four girls are our main gals, and make each human interaction in the comic so much fun. Their vibrant hearts and hard hitting elbows makes for a great excuse to read a comic about roller derby.
The whole comic takes place in England. But the comic makes fun of itself for this reason and has plenty of British jokes to keep you entertained. I think my favorite part of the comic was the building of the team though. It was fascinating seeing all these groups of characters, because let’s be real roller derby consist of some skilled ass characters. Then we get an introduction of how the actual sport works. So if you haven’t kept up to date, rest assured you can be reintroduced to this physical sport. The plot doesn’t take long to roll into the it, so I loved not having to read about so much build up, but instead got entertained with the cast and the story from the get go.
The comic is in all black and white. The art isn’t anything crazy, but fully captures the game and how it works. With so many people moving across a still picture, it can be a challenge, but Carlos Pedro and Keith Chan make it look effortless. I never questioned the movement of the girls. Along with the images what was cool about the comic was the soundtrack the book set up. About every two pages, when the derbying was happening, the author would put a track on the page. I love when a comic can take quotes or music to use in their comic. It made it more interactive, and I really wanted to listen to those during and after the read. It was fun.
After the team is picked, it is down to the nitty gritty stuff. From training to picking radical names, the comic shows it all of what it takes to build a team. We don’t follow all the girls. Some of the girls are overly aggressive, some just want to have fun, one is a burlesque dancer, and others blend into the crowd. As I said, the different characters is what makes up the derby. My favorite is by far Ruth though. A mother who just can’t seem to tell her husband where she is going every week. Her kid loves the idea, but for some reason she is holding back but will grow as all the girls do.
The comic is highly entertaining. Anyone interested in sports or chicks will love the story I hope they can come back for more. The story has lots of roller derby but even more just human experiences. Check it out for some sweet rides around the rink. So thank you Fast and Frightening for bringing back all those fond memories. Down with the New York Enforcers. Long live the Sundogs. And make a Whip It 2 already.
Writer: Russell Hillman Artist: Carlos Pedro and Keith Chan Publisher: Freaktown Comics Price: £12.00 Facebook Page