4 Kids Walk Into A Bank Gets The Hardcover Treatment

by Brendan M. Allen

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is the darkly comedic story of four burgeoning child criminals and their elaborate plans. When a group of bumbling criminals show up in her father’s life looking to pull one last job, young Paige has two choices – let her father get caught up in their criminal hijinks or enlist her three best friends to do the job first. Paige picks the bad one. 180ish pages of full color comic-booking about friendship, family, growing up, and grand larceny from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Tyler Boss.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank doesn’t waste any time warming up. Okay. It wastes a little time warming up, while the kids finish up their ill-fated D&D mission in the opening sequence. Not really, though, because we learn a ton about these kids and their complex relationships through the horribly botched fantasy mission.

There’s Paige, the headstrong tomboy, Stretch, the super tall kid, Walter, the painfully shy kid, and Berger, the kid next door, who swears way too much. The kids are tight. They live near each other, have the same bullies, love the same games, have each other’s backs when a group of ex-cons assaults one of them, have a nightly CB radio routine…Y’know. Kid stuff.

There’s also this bank thing. Had to be. It’s right there in the title. Paige’s dad is mixed up somehow with a group of dangerous felons. The goons want Dad’s help robbing a bank. Paige doesn’t think they can pull it off, so she enlists her friends to rob the bank instead, in a beautiful and naïve attempt to keep her old man out of trouble.

4 Kids is brilliantly timeless. The creative team may have had a period in mind, but honestly, these kids could have been growing up in the 70’s, the double-aughts, or anywhere in between. Has to be sometime after the mid 70’s though, because D&D didn’t roll around until ’74.

Matthew Rosenberg’s script is ripe with the philosophical, psychological, and sociological overtones that flourish in adolescent subculture. That’s an overly fancy way of saying he gets kids. He gets who they are, how they think, and how they interact. None of the dialogue comes off as an out of touch adult writing what they think kids should sound like. It’s all genuine. And hilarious. But dark and sensitive and deep. Also hilarious.

One of my long standing pet peeves in comics, besides when kids talk like little adults, is when kids get drawn like little adults. Fully the same proportions and ambulation, but 62% the size of an adult. Tyler Boss’ kids don’t look like adults. Boss captures the awkwardness and goofiness of puberty and the individuality of each kid’s experience with it.
Then there’s that wallpaper. I have never, not one time, seen a wallpaper artist credited on the title page. 4 Kids has one. And she’s good. Courtney Menard killed that wallpaper. I would buy that wallpaper and hang it in my house.

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a fun, authentic book that deals with coming of age in a very difficult situation. It’s The Goonies and Stand By Me. It’s Ferris Bueller and My Girl and Ocean’s 11 and The Outsiders. It’s everything awkward and beautiful and painful and awesome about being a kid. It’s kinda okay and freaking awesome, but also really, really sad and pretty funny.

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank HC, Black Mask Studios, released 11 December 2019. Art/design by Tyler Boss, flatting by Clare Dezutti, lettering by Thomas Mauer, wallpaper design by Courtney Menard, and script by Matthew Rosenberg.

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