4 Kids Walk into a Bank
11-year-old Paige and her friends like to do normal kid stuff-- play D&D, eat pizza, ride bikes, and rob banks. This book is about all of that.
Meet Paige, Stretch, Berger, and Walter. They’re going to rob a bank so Paige’s dad doesn’t rob the bank and go to jail. 4 Kids Walk into a Bank is such a vibrant and charming story that it makes writing a genuine review difficult. How do I not sound like I’m blowing smoke here when I genuinely just loved everything about the story I just read.
Coming late to the party, I naturally began reading and making Stranger Things parallels, even though 4 Kids came earlier. Such is the nature of 4 Kids– the brazen theft of themes, motifs, tones and structures is never denied by Rosenberg as we have grown accustomed to seeing from various creatives in the industry. He embraces the pastiche and that unabashed usage of so many elements lends to the immeasurable charm of this book. By the time I reached the end, I quickly realized that although the book owes a great deal to many other properties and creators, it is, in fact, an incredibly unique piece of work.
Tyler Boss’ incredibly elegant artwork and layouts plays a large role in that uniqueness. Boss has a knack for stretching the boundaries of the medium, whether that be from a two-page spread of computer searching or a Sunday Funnies take on architecture to show movement through a space. In an era where the 9-grid page has come back en vogue, Boss comfortably delivers back-to-back 24 panel pages in an almost rebellion against the norms and I’m here for every last bit of it.
On the unexpected side of things, I noticed the fascinating interplay of gender politics and identity throughout this book. Walter, our shy, nervous, science wiz of a character is always depicted as female during the opening pages “play” moments, while Paige the self-proclaimed tomboy leader of the squad is always male. It is never remarked upon by any of the other characters except that Walter named his elf princess Walter because of his lack of imagination, making 4 Kids an excellent example of how such subjects can be intergrated into the medium in way that normalizes and naturalizes rather than exploits.
The ending of 4 Kids was perhaps what truly pushes this book over the top and into the realm of classic but I swore to myself that I wouldn’t take part in spoiling that for other potential readers. Just take my word for the fact that the ending of 4 Kids is what sets it apart from the frequent comparisons to The Goonies, Stand By Me, and Stranger Things absolutely unequivocally. You need to go read it for yourself.
4 Kids Walk into a Bank (Rosenberg, Boss, Mauer) is an incredibly charming tale that steals from everything and makes no bones about it. It is an instant classic well worth your time and money.
4 Kids Walk into a Bank: Steal Everything That Isn’t Nailed Down
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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