What Did I Learn?
Today’s review is about a comic named Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery, by Rick Smith. Yehuda Moon is the title character who owns a bike shop, the Kickstand Cyclery, with his friend Joe. Joe also loves bikes and biking but he’s more of a practical nature than Yehuda, who truly lives on his bicycle and dreams of a day when everyone else does too. They are joined by a number of other very unique characters, such as Sister Sprocket and Thistle Gin.
Right off the bat- in the comic, a number of characters ride in the rain and snow. I like riding my bike but I have had troubles with ponchos and tires, and I tend to find the icy patches on turns. Perhaps I’m not a big enough of a bike fan and/or my town doesn’t really plow until the day after the snowstorm. And then it takes weeks before the sidewalks… let’s just say that things aren’t conducive to winter riding around here. And then there’s the hills…
It really can’t be emphasized enough that the main character Yehuda is a real, true blue bike advocate. He thinks we ought to do away with all cars. Fortunately, Joe tends to let Yehuda know he’s a little bit too into the biking lifestyle. Your preference and opinion may vary about how much is too much, of course. I can appreciate Yehuda’s love for biking. (And actually, you might feel like we could do without cars as well if you saw what Yehuda has to deal with from car owners on his biking trips.)
The comic is also full of bike talk, too. They call it wrenching when they fix a bike and CPR is cost per ride. (As best as I can tell, that’s not English slang but I’m willing to be educated.) And the comments … are filled with true cyclists. These are just the kinds of fans you want as regular readers. You know, the ones who can really appreciate the theme behind a comic.
I’m also very impressed with the amount of story that one can create based on biking. Like the comic making scene, there is plenty under the surface to work with. Even the visual gags (like this one) are often bike related. It’s pretty clever, actually.
Recently, the Kickstand Cyclery (an abandoned train station) has burned to the ground. It’s still being rebuilt as this review is being written, so what the rebuild will add to the strip is undetermined. And that’s the nature of this comic. The storylines just seem to fade in sometimes. The one character, Thistle, was originally just a bike customer at one point and then a number of strips later, became part of the cast. Joe currently works as a wrench for a rival bike shop just to keep bread on the table after the Kickstand burned down. And one has to wonder what will become of the Ghost Bike… There are plenty of strips which could be anytime, newspaper style strips and others which are clearly part of a storyline. It’s very interesting to see that in action. I doubt it happens by accident.
Its also nice to see a site offering concrete patronage and support options without making the whole site a push about donating to the artist. Of course, the ad to buy Voume 1 currently takes up the prime real estate of the screen of the home page -but- that’s not the same thing as
What Did I Learn?
It is obvious to me that if you’re a bike racer or an avid bike rider that you would both enjoy and identify with Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery. But here’s the thing. I didn’t have to be a bike rider to be entertained by the comic. The structure of this comic really drives home the niche aspect and lets the characters shine.