comicsthegathering dot com logo


by Doug Warren on February 28, 2018

Plot/Script/Letters: Richard Starkings
Plot/Script: Tyler Shainline
Art & Colors: Shaky Kane
Design: Jonh Roshell
Publisher: Image

Getting into The Beef, I was impressed. They say one of the hardest things to do is make a good bad movie. Think about The Toxic Avenger. Everything that is amazing about it is also really bad. And countless people have tried to replicate it, and they never get the amazing, just the bad. But, in the first few pages of The Beef, they captured what was amazing about bad 1980s comic books and Ad Council PSAs.

There are flashbacks to “Then” where we meet Chuck (pretty sure that is a beef pun because the book is full of them), and the whole thing is just so amazingly 1980s awful. Shaky Kane captures the stiff movements, dull expressions, and dead eyes in such a way that I legit felt like these characters were played by bad actors. That’s right. These characters made me temporarily forget they were drawn in a comic book and come to believe that they were bad actors. That is artistic genius on another level. Unless, that was a complete accident and it was Kane’s intention to, you know, just draw them normal. I don’t know. Still impressive, right?  Maybe even more so.
But, bad 80s artwork isn’t enough to keep a comic afloat. The script was lacking. First off, I am not even quite sure what it is. Until the last page, there was no indication that this would turn into a super hero story. There were times at the beginning of this issue where I wondered if this was pro vegetarian/vegan, anti-meat propaganda. Which, I mean, I think I would be fine with either way, I just want to know. But I’ve finished the issue and I still don’t know. And there were some places at the end of the issue crapping on GMOs, which looks like it would make it easier to decipher, but it doesn’t. I really don’t know at this point if the comic is made by anti-GMO vegans or if it is made to make fun of anti-GMO vegans, and I feel like that is really something you should know. I mean, you watch one episode of Captain Planet, and you think, man, those guys really want to save the Earth. You read one issue of The Beef, and you think, huh?

Also, the further into the book I read, the slower it became. The less interesting the dialogue was. I am not lying when I said I dozed off reading it. At 4:00 p.m. on a Tuesday. Following a night where I got an extra hour of sleep. And every word of that is the hand-to-God truth.

And then we see the transformation. And it isn’t one of those that instantly clicks and makes sense, you know, like getting bitten by a radioactive spider and having spider qualities. No. I had to read it a couple of times, and it’s a stretch, but believable. But my real question, did they create a hero or a villain? I don’t know. There really didn’t seem to be anything redeemable about Chuck before he turned, but nothing to make him super evil either.

Look, you aren’t going to get answers in this issue. And since you haven’t picked it up yet, you don’t have questions either. Maybe it’s best to stay that way. But, this series could have some payoffs in the months ahead, but, eh. Who wants to make that kind of commitment?

Our Score:


A Look Inside