Regular Show: Parks and Wreck
December 5, 2017
Regular Show: Parks and Wreck is a fun series of 14 shorts, collecting kaBOOM! comics Regular Show Annual 2014 #1, Regular Show 2015 March Madness Special #1, and Regular Show Special 2017 #1. The collection dives into the world of Mordecai and Rigby with some of the Cartoon Network show’s favorite themes: basketball, pizza, video games, birthdays, getting out of doing work, and extreme supernatural happenings. There are 15 different authors in this collection, four of whom wrote and drew the entire comic, including the accompanying illustration, colors, and lettering. Half of the creators in Parks and Wreck are women, and several are women of color, a notable percentage of creator diversity for mainstream licensed comics.
The comics curated for this collection are primarily rowdy and wacky like the show itself, and fun for any Regular Show fan to enjoy. These include “WiFi Madness,” a story written by Yumi Sukagawa and illustrated by Allison Strejlau. Strejlau’s clever art matches the mood of Sukagawa’s well-conceived story perfectly and adds an element of detail rarely seen in the show’s animation. For example, the Wifi Demon’s goatee is an upside down wifi signal. It is these tiny things that contribute to the humor and absurdity of the comic’s happenings, and make it a believable Regular Show story.
Another highlight is Sara Goetter’s “Ghost Genesis Mecha Fight,” a somewhat baffling yet understandable comic. The appeal of this story lies in its skillful mesh of the rational and the ridiculous, and in its friendly humor. The banter between characters Muscle Man and High Five Ghost versus Mordecai and Rigby is a central soft rivalry critical to the storyline. Goetter executes a small look into another encounter between the four characters with precision and lands the best “My Mom” joke in the entire collection.
“The Last Slice“ is a two-page comic in which Alex Solis conveys the intimate fraternal bond between Mordecai and Rigby. It is worth mentioning not only for the density of its Regular Show understanding, but also for the crucial cuteness of a baby duck. Solis clearly grasps the layers of the relationship between the blue jay and the raccoon, and chooses a typical argument over the last slice of pizza for its premise. His nod to one of the very best episodes of the show, “A Bunch of Baby Ducks,” will delight readers who know the reference. For those who don’t, they can enjoy an adorable baby duck.
Yet, there are several other stories that reach out of the typical Regular Show experience for something more. “Spring Equinox“ is one of them, written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Molly Ostertag. There is no question as to why Ostertag’s name is one of the first in the author listings for the trade paperback. Ostertag transforms the world of the city park to a dense forest, truly exploring what she can do with the theme of spring equinox and Regular Show put together. Ostertag creates a medieval, mythical feel to Mordecai and Rigby’s world as they speculate about the magic of the upcoming spring equinox. The clean lines and rich colors throughout her illustration, the delicate way in which she chooses to create a simple or a complex backdrop for each panel, show the great care Ostertag took during the creation of this short comic. This creator explores the idea of supernatural that the original television show so often focuses on, in a different and beautiful way. It is one of the best Regular Show shorts I have ever read.
“Fancy Dinner“ is the second truly rich highlight of this collection. In a rare look at Rigby’s daily inner musings, written and drawn by Hannah Blumenreich, we see him try his best to be a good boyfriend to Eileen. His attempts to make her a fancy dinner so that he can give her something nice, like the nice things that she does for him, result in what any Regular Show fan would expect: unmitigated disaster. There isn’t anything out of the ordinary about Blumenreich’s comic, which makes it a unique gem among the other, more classic Regular Show extremes included in Parks and Wreck. There are not supernatural happenings, yet Blumenreich manages to create an unusual look inside Rigby’s rare good intentions and Mordecai’s efforts to help him. It is a nice look into Rigby’s heart, which is something viewers rarely see in the show.
This was a collection of comics that left me wanting more, but perhaps more about other characters that were not Mordecai and Rigby. Though the show focuses on the two park workers, the Regular Show comics seem to be a place where creators could explore the worlds of other characters, as Ostertag did. A focus on side characters is rare in Parks and Wreck. There is a singular Benson-focused story, two stories about Muscle Man, a very long nod to High Five Ghost, and that is it for specialized stories. This is mildly disappointing to me, as I see such a great variety of character focus on other Cartoon Network kaBOOM! comics like Adventure Time. We don’t see any of these comics focus on Skips or Pops, two of the older and more fascinating characters from the show that are integral to the history of the park. There is not a single panel with Mordecai’s ex-girlfriend Margaret in it, no mention of the character C. J. at all, and not one comic about Eileen and Margaret’s friendship. We got Eileen and Starla, but not without the context of their boyfriends. It would have been nice if the collection had included stories about these characters.
In the end, Regular Show: Parks and Wreck is a decent collection of comics primarily centered around Mordecai and Rigby, with a few gems sprinkled in. It left me hungry for more Regular Show comics, particularly comics done by the skilled creators mentioned here. Many of them took great care to not only enrich the world of the city park, but to look inside the relationships and the hearts of the central characters. This is rare for Regular Show, and made this particular collection a delight to read.