Written by Scottie Young
Illustrated by Aaron Conley
Published by Image Comics
Something is rotten in the town of Rottenville, where the population is “a bunch but not too much” and the small burg is best known for having the most bullies per capita than any other town in the world.
Created by Scottie Young and Aaron Conley, Bully Wars is a fun and engaging comic looking to hook young graphic novel enthusiasts with its edgy style and all-too-relatable tale.
Given that humiliation and danger lurk behind every corner, the bully situation weighs heavy on the mind of our protagonists, school-work enthusiast Spencer, comic-loving Edith and lovable lug Ernie, as they head out on the first day of high school.
Unfortunately, as soon as they assemble at the bus stop, the rowdy Rufus quickly corners them and lays down the law of the land: The weak are fodder for the strong, whose job it is to remind them of the natural pecking order of society.
Fortunately for the trio, Rottenville High School has its own bully ecosystem to which Rufus is unaware.
And soon enough, the bully become the bullied.
The school’s biggest bully and reigning Bully Wars champion Hock does his best to educate young Rufus what it means to be high school thug. Freshman Rufus’ education includes getting stuffed in lockers, supreme wedgies, lunchtime target practice and a look look at the inside of several toilet bowls.
After finding out what life is like at the bottom of the food chain, Rufus joins forces with the geeky trio in an effort to win the upcoming Bully Wars. If he wins, he’ll no longer be the target of Hock and his gang, and if Rufus wins, he promises to protect the gangly group.
The story of Bully Wars is not complex.
It lacks conventional superheroes doing heroic things for heroic reasons. Instead, we get a delightful romp perfect for any tween who ever got a wedgie. It isn’t about the greater good or a hidden morality lesson. It’s just plain fun. And sort of gross.
The book’s art in reminiscent of Ed Roth’s Rat Fink with grotesque caricatures that made up the Kustom Kulture of the time. Chock full of tentacles, tails and dark imagery, Aaron Conley’s twisted tone fits the comedic nature of Scottie Young’s story thanks to its retro hot rod art style. The use of the eye-catching art keeps the book edgy with random monsters, creepy crawlies and assorted body parts.
Bully Wars is a stand along comic that packs a punch with its striking color scheme, brash style and fun content. The story isn’t new, but it can be new to youngins looking for a relatable comic. It’s a perfect starter comic for those looking for an introduction into the genre.