A review of the small press comic Buffalo Speedway.
Real life situations being exaggerated into something more than they are – or, in the most unique cases, an exact regaling of what they are – will always make for the best stories. Fiction that has a foothold in truth will always establish more of a rapport with the audience, creating empathy, eliciting a stronger emotional reaction, and therefore expounding a stronger narrative. The beauty of Buffalo Speedway lies in the truth of its narrative.
The first noteworthy innovation of this comic is its approach to storytelling. The onset of every chapter features a playlist, with prompts listing when to start playing certain songs. Although it can potentially be frustrating to flip back and forth to see what songs you need to play at certain designated points, having a soundtrack to go along with a book adds a new dimension to the medium, making it more enjoyable. Personally, I think the choice of music leaves something to be desired, but that is neither here nor there. After all, it's someone else's playlist. Not to mention, despite my own personal feelings toward the songs out of the story's context, they do fit the scenes perfectly. Particularly the scene with American Pie, which creates a moment that competes with Wayne's World's "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene.
Regarding the artwork- it fits each moment perfectly. When it comes to the art in comics, there are several things that can be quite irritating: when character's proportions are completely irregular; when the color- or lack thereof- doesn't fit the scene or makes it difficult to discern what is happening; or when the scenes or overall flow of activities is impossible to deduce or is almost painful to the eye to decipher. However, none of the art in Buffalo Speedway has that problem. For example, at one point there is a flashback; everything is illustrated with a distinct pinkish hue, and there are even small marques to let you know when it begins and ends. And though the women of this series were all drawn specifically for titillation – although in its defense, their breasts were small for comic book standards- the characters were still drawn very distinctly and in a way that properly conveyed each of them as unique individuals. Whether it was The Dragon's imposing physique, Super Cheese's Leonardo Nam-esque appearance, or the truly sultry nature of Brandy, each character has their own style and, for the most part, their own palette.
The story itself is relatively original; it follows the crew of Turbo Pizza as they are in the middle of the busiest pizza delivery day in contemporary American history. The boss, Mr. B, puts together a Top Driver Race; whomever makes the most runs gets five percent of the take, putting about 10,000 dollars on the line by the end of the story. Vying for this coveted total is Super Cheese, the Asian stoner character; The Dragon, an imposing Mexican with a truly sensitive heart of gold; Chance, resident white trash teenager, douchebag, and our hero; and finally Figgs, a black twenty-something trying to decide between a lifetime as a pizza boy and making the next step in his life as a cop. It's very easy to enjoy each of the main characters in the story. Even though there is a distinct despicability of Chance's racist and homophobic attitude, his comic relief more than compensates; despite his flaws, he is still a team player.
Final words: there isn't much of anything to dislike here. For anyone who has ever worked as a pizza delivery boy (or girl), this will strike a distinct chord of familiarity, much like the movie "Waiting" did for waiters and busboys everywhere. Not only are there realistic problems, there is a quality amount of genuinely good storytelling and even better comedy. This comic felt more innovative, interesting, and entertaining than anything else that's come out lately. And it just goes to show that you don't need powers to be a hero; sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time.
Buffalo Speedway can be purchased here!
Written or Contributed by: Dan Kester, Outhouse Contributor