PopLurker Reviews: HardBody Issue One

PopLurker would like to thank Fred Schwartz and the crew of HardBody for providing us with a review copy of this brand new comic book.

Hardbody, a fresh new comic book, was a lot of fun to read. Truthfully, I get sent a lot of comics to read and review and this one had some of the strongest writing I’ve ever experienced. With Fred Schwartz having sole writing credits, I’m curious how much of this premise was his own, versus the contribution of his cohorts. But I would love to see him stretch his writing chops into other genres as well. Fred, you officially have a new fan.

Funny, clever, and fast paced, Harbody has a lot going for it. The premise, in a nutshell, is about a small, old, feeble Indian doctor named Vijay who has an affinity for hanging out in gyms and watching swole dudes get pumped. After a while,  Vijay decides he wants to be a swole gym dude that gets pumped. Except that every time he tries to work out, nothing happens. He’s flabby here, weak there, ugly everywhere, and so on. Therefore, he decides that the easiest way to become a body builder is by taking his favorite body parts from other strong men and building his own Frankenstein style monster of their parts. The twist? He uses his own head to top the beast, which is a humorous display of this weird little man’s ego.

I have to admit with diplomatic straightforwardness that I do not like the art in this comic book. The style reminds me of one that I call ’90s grotesque’ (not an actual categorization). That means the characters are overdrawn, the mouths are too big, and there’s a lot of 90s Mad Magazine influence, whether or not the artists intended it to be that way. There also tends to be a lot of rendering of and focus near the crotchular area of characters.

After Vijay takes himself as the new Frankenstein creation out to the gym for the first time, he goes on a murderous rampage and slaughters a bunch of iron pumping dudes in the gym. He sees a woman and flexes for her. Alas, she is afraid of him. That’s when Vijay questions if he is not in fact a marvelous creation, but a monster or golem as the remaining people in the gym deem him.

Tongue in cheek and exceptionally humorous, Hardbody is a really fun comic book adventure and tells a story I’ve truly never seen before. It doesn’t take itself too seriously or try to do anything existential– which is good for me. I have fatigue from so many comics that try to figure out humans, do the deep dive, discuss what it means to do XYZ…no, no. Give me a new story and make me laugh. I have bills to pay. I don’t need any more layered, dystopian marvels on my review heap, thanks.

I give Hardbody by Fred Schwartz, Savy Lim, Victor Moya, Martin Hernandez Tena, and Adam Wollet 4 out of 5 stars.

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