If you enjoy spotting easter eggs and tips of the cap to all types of movies and other pop culture touchstones, then 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is the series for you. If you enjoy your coming-of-age teen comedies blended with compelling family dynamics and thrilling crime story elements, then 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is the series for you.
Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Tyler Boss synthesized their mutual love of all things popular media into this acclaimed creator-owned five-issue mini-series. The collected edition is available now from Black Mask Studios. It's about a group of four kids doing all kinds of wrong. The ringleader, Paige is the type of character we wish we would have seen in 80s teen movies. And while the story may remind some of Stranger Things, we should point out 4 Kids debuted before the hit Netflix show.
Rosenberg has written a ton of books for Marvel, including Rocket Racoon and Civil War II: Kingpin, as well as co-writing The Archies for Archie Comics (a title that leans heavily on Rosenberg's other pop culture passion, music). But with 4 Kids, movies were clearly the fuel behind this particular fire. Which is why the series had a slew of variant covers, all of which paid tribute to some of his and Boss's favorite motion pictures.
SYFYWIRE asked the writer to share his thoughts on each of 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank's 23 variant covers and the films that inspired each one. Each cover and his commentary are below.
DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Cover by Tyler Boss.
"Obviously, Dog Day Afternoon is the obvious choice if you are going to do homages to bank robbery stories. We didn't want to just settle with this cover though, so the kids attend Sidney Lumet High School in the story."
ANATOMY OF A MURDER. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Early on, Tyler and I discussed doing the main covers for the series where each one was inspired by a different design era or idea. Obviously Saul Bass was a huge influence on our actual cover to issue #1. But the chance to do an homage to an actual Saul Bass movie poster was a huge plus."
BOTTLE ROCKET. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Wes Anderson's writing and design sensibility was a big influence for us on this book. With his latest films it might not be that evident but with Bottle Rocket, where things are a bit more grounded in the real world, we really love the way he blends absurdity, heart, and crime."
CHINATOWN. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Our book may not owe much to the movie but we are huge fans and it's a cool poster. I dunno."
CITY OF GOD. Cover by Amancay Nahuelpan
"City of God is one of those movies that comes along and changes how you feel about crime and gangster stories. In addition to being staggeringly good, it is also about kids. So obviously we hold it near and dear to our hearts."
LADY VENGEANCE. Cover by Amancay Nahuelpan
"This is the one that baffles people the most, but Lady Vengeance was a huge influence for me early on with this book. It's a film that does something that so few films even attempt- it almost completely changes into a different film half way through. The first half is this absurdist comedy and the second half is one of the most emotionally difficult films I've ever seen. Obviously we didn't go that hard, but I think if you read the book you will see me trying for some of that."
FARGO. Cover by Amancay Nahuelpan
"Obviously, Fargo is one of the all time great crime/comedies. So we stole its poster."
FRENCH CONNECTION. Cover by Amancay Naheulpan
"Not really relevant, but my dad used to write for a cop show years ago. And one of the producers was the cop that Roy Scheider's character was based on in The French Connection. So I grew up hearing stories I probably shouldn't have been hearing about drugs and violence in 1970's NYC."
GOMORRAH. Cover by Amancay Naheulpan
"Again, like City Of God, Gomorrah is a really powerful film about kids and crime. In some ways I think 4 Kids is the suburban American answer to those films. Take that as you will."
INFERNAL AFFAIRS. Cover by Amancay Naheulpan
"It's just a badass poster. We had a ton of trouble with the translation because I had 3 different Japanese speakers give me 3 different versions of the text. In the end I went with what I felt was closest but is probably way off. Mostly I just really hope we didn't accidentally say something offensive."
JACKIE BROWN. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Jackie Brown is a favorite movie of mine and does a really good job of building to an ending that seems both inevitable and chaotic. I'm a big fan of the sort of controlled chaos in storytelling and Jackie Brown excels at it."
KILLER'S KISS. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Stanley Kubrick is the greatest director of all time and so we wanted to rip him off for good luck."
LEON. Cover by Josh Hood
"Another movie about kids doings adult stuff. If I could cast anyone to play Paige in a movie version of 4 Kids it would be a 12 year old Natalie Portman. I was really happy with this cover because it's by Josh Hood, my collaborator on my previous series We Can Never Go Home."
OCEAN'S 11. Cover by Tyler Boss
"The best heist-comedy film ever made. For now. We're coming for you Soderbergh, Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts... well, maybe we're not."
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. Cover by Josh Hood
"This is one of my favorite movie posters of all time. It's so simple and striking. The characters are so small and the world is so huge. It just felt like possibility to me. I remember seeing it when I was a kid and being desperate to watch the movie."
RESERVOIR DOGS. Cover by Amancay Naheulpan
"If you read the book I'm pretty sure you know why we had to do this one. If you didn't read it, I'm not going to spoil it here."
RIFIFI. Cover by Tyler Boss
"I like Rififi but this poster? It's so good. It's not even the American poster. I believe it's the French one. We just thought it would be funny to steal it and put water pistols and slingshots in their hands. We were right. It is funny."
STRAY DOG. Cover by Tyler Boss
"I think this is also the French poster for Stray Dog. France just gets awesome posters. But yeah, it's elegantly simple yet really striking. Also, Tyler could draw it in like 20 minutes which was pretty important since we had to make like a hundred of these. "
THE STING. Cover by Josh Hood
"I wanted to do The Sting because it's a great caper film. Really great caper films are few and far between, caper comics even fewer and even further betweener. So we need to show love to every great caper film and try and get some of that greatness to rub off on us. This was a weird answer."
TOUCH OF EVIL. Cover by Tyler Boss
"Weirdly, our second bright orange cover. Who knew crime posters and bright orange went so well together? Mostly we just did this one because we thought it was funny to turn Orson Welles into a 12 year-old girl. And the movies great and all."
SNATCH. Cover by Amancay Nahuelpan
"I love this movie so much. It is equal parts great thriller, hilarious comedy, and just all around cool. It is a world where everyone is cool and slick, even the bumbling idiots. We went for the opposite with our world, where everyone is an idiot. But still. That blend of hyper stylization and all out genre is something we really went for with our book."
MILLER'S CROSSING. Cover by Dylan Magwood
"If you are telling crime stories and not studying the Coen Brothers, you are doing it wrong. They have such a good understanding of how to juxtapose humor and drama to maximize both. It is really rollercoaster storytelling in the best sense."
THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER. Cover by Kristen Gudsnuk
"Obviously I love the Muppets. Everyone loves the Muppets, right? This movie is a huge part of what gave me the courage to make a crime caper about kids. Once you've seen a pig and frog involved in a jewel heist, nothing seems impossible."