Rating if the Book Were a Movie: R
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Letters: Andworld Design
Cover: Tony Harris
Publisher: AWA Studios
Story: 4.0 Stars
Artwork: 4.3 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.7 Stars
Dialogue: 4.3 Stars
Mechanics: 3.6 Stars
Editing: 4.0 Stars
About the Book:
Meet Bob Schrunk. He is the CEO of a major Fortune 500 company. When he’s on the clock it’s worth almost 500 million dollars to the world’s economy. A minute. Schrunk is the one percent within the one percent. He’s untouchable. If someone gets too close to being able to do anything that could actually damage him, Schrunk sends them to the Rumpus Room. The Rumpus Room is an underground holding cell Schrunk keeps his problem children in until he has a need for one of them. Then the chosen one is never seen or heard from again.
I met Mr. Russell at Portland’s Rose City Comic-Con in 2021. Not All Robots had come out recently and I got my copy of that book signed. There wasn’t a lot of conversation, as I was unfamiliar with most of Mr. Russell‘s body of work at the time.
At some other point during the weekend Lord Trekker also found his way to Mr. Russell’s booth. Lord Trekker is a creator’s dream at conventions. He’s of the mindset that if he likes the concept of one of the stories that the creator is talking about with him he’ll like them all. When he left Mr. Russell’s booth he must have had at least ten trade paperbacks in his arms.
We all have people who give recommendations for things like restaurants, movies, books and so on. You learn to use those people as a gauge. I have one coworker, let’s call him Big, Tall, and Mouthy, that loves going to movies. He won’t shut up about whatever movie he went to the previous weekend. I have learned that with few exceptions the more he likes a movie, the less I will.
Lord Trekker is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to most comics. If he’s telling me there’s a book I have to read, that book will quickly move up the list in my reading queue. About a month after we were at Rose City Comic-Con Lord Trekker handed me the TPB of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles.
I looked at him and said, “You’re kidding.” He simply smiled and told me to trust him. He wasn’t kidding and he was right. That book stunned me. I was surprised to see something that hard hitting come from either of the big two.
Another month or so went by and Lord Trekker handed me another trade paperback. This time it was Billionaire Island. I told him the cover looked interesting. He told me it was the same writer as Exit Stage Left and I was all over it, and loved it, too. Ever since I have been a fan of Mr. Russell.
I instantly added this book to the stack when I saw Mr. Russell’s name on the cover of Rumpus Room at my local comic book store. His no holds barred style continues in his grudge match with the one percent. The picture he paints makes it easy to hate Schrunk.
Schrunk is what you’d get if you combined Tony Stark and Howard Hamelin from Better Call Saul and made the individual infinitely more wealthy and more of an elitist snob. I loved this character development.
The book has a good pace to it. Getting more of an explanation regarding who people in the Rumpus Room are and how they fit in with the story would have helped keep the reader engaged more. We still get enough information to want to see where the story goes from here.
After realizing that this was Mr. Russell’s book, my first thought when I saw this cover was, “That is a very busy cover”. There is a lot going on here. It teeters on the edge of being hard to focus on any particular thing. After reading the issue one can see that everything on this cover is actually relevant to the story. That is very impressive.
The artwork on the interior pages is very well done. We get great lines and coloring. The facial expressions are terrific. The depiction of where Schrunk lived made it seem much easier to hate him.
Rumpus Room may not be the next “Great American Novel”. It announces its presence with enough authority to make itself worthy of consideration though. Russell’s refusal to pull punches while doing everything in his power to get America to wake up and pay attention has this geek on a budget highly anticipating the next installment of this series!