Rock Candy Mountain #1, Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer
I think it’s safe to say that most of my friends are familiar in some capacity with the song “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, from which Kyle Starks gets the title and clearly inspiration for his wonderful, strange new comic. If you’re not, then you’re in luck. At the back of the comic is a short essay titled Hobo Harmony: A History of Big Rock Candy Mountain by Eric Newsom. You might want to read this first before diving into the world Starks has created. Newsom’s essay breaks down how “Big Rock Candy Mountain” is an ‘occupational song’, meant to depict a mythical place where the real-life problems of life on the rails were nonexistent, as well as a ‘ghost story’ or a ‘fairy story’. Kyle Starks successfully captures the essence of both.
Rock Candy Mountain is goofy, at times incredibly violent, and sometimes both goofy and violent at the same time. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear while reading Chapter One. Jackson, Rock Candy Mountain’s protagonist, is probably the worlds toughest, strangest, strongest, and Clint Eastwood-y-est hobo. He’s also on the hunt for the aforementioned, supposedly mythological Rock Candy Mountain. But finding the Rock Candy Mountain won’t be easy. There are police hot on Jackson’s heels, the hobo mafia to contend with, a newly minted, slightly inept hobo to keep an eye on, and on top of all that the Devil is after him. Literally.
Personally I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Jackson finds himself in the next chapter of Rock Candy Mountain. More hobo fights? A confrontation with the devil? I hope it’s a little bit of both.