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Knuckleheads #1 Review: A “Hero” for the Real World

Everyone from Bruce Wayne to Peter Parker could bend our ears to no end about selflessness and “great responsibility.”  It’s the superhero’s creed, and it’s a theme that runs through many of today’s popular hero tales.   The common folk are always so fortunate that it’s the most noble of men and women who find themselves wielding an immense amount of power that they (thankfully) then use to combat wrongdoers.  Well, it’s about time we got a look at what might happen if an irresponsible knucklehead wielded this power instead.


It always seems to be some sort of accident: an escaped radioactive spider, experimental lab tests, a chemical spill—you get the idea—which begs the question, why didn’t this happen sooner?  That is, why did it take so long for the slacker superhero, Trevor Travinski, to come into existence?  Well, there’s no sense pressing the question.  Instead, pick up Knuckleheads #1 from none other than Monkeybrain Comics.

To take a step back from the world of fiction for a moment, any large task that might present itself in the real world would very likely be met by the question, “what’s in it for me?”  It’s not a question you’d expect to hear from the mouth of a run-of-the-mill superhero, those virtuous few who are both courageous and thankless.  For Trevor Travinski, knucklehead, “what’s in it for me” could be his catch phrase, the motto by which he lives his couch-ridden and unexpectedly super life.


Let’s get to the story already.  Trevor Travinski is a fat couch potato who was abducted by aliens.  These aliens implanted some crystal device into his fist, which apparently allows him to manipulate the physical and digital worlds, and which also gave him his name, Crystal Fist.  Trevor and his roommate Lance know little about the fist’s capabilities, but suffice it to say he uses a Nintento Wii controller to get Netflix for free, fix power outages (that affect him), cheat at video games, and battle giant monsters attacking the city.

What I find most interesting about Trevor is that he is an essentially unlikable character who you can’t help but laugh with—or at—I haven’t decided yet.  He demands free pizza when the delivery is three minutes late, does not like to be distracted from his video gaming, and can only be convinced to fight a giant monster if a beautiful woman is in peril.  Trevor is a bum, and we can only be thankful that he isn’t our last line of defense here in the real world.  

In short, Knuckleheads #1 is entertaining.  For those who are fans of superheroes, the comic contains interesting elements that one might find in a typical superhero story, but in very unconventional ways.  In his pink fuzzy bathrobe with his hairy gut hanging over the band of his boxer shorts, Trevor most certainly has a uniform that fits his persona.  His roommate, Lance, is perhaps just as crucial as Trevor himself; he’s his Alfred.  If not for Lance, Trevor might not ever leave the couch.


Brian Winkeler, writer, injects lots of popular culture into his jokes.  If that’s your kind of humor, then you’ll love his work.  Self-published with a limited release in 2010, Knuckleheads got a new life when Monkeybrain picked up, and Winkleler polished up the dialogue and art for the occasion.  It’s a story that took far too long to come into existence, and I think we should all thank Brian for bringing it into the world.

Robert Wilson IV, artist, has an interesting résumé.  Aside from illustrating comics, he illustrates band posters and t-shirts, most notably for the Mountain Goats.  His art complements the comic exceptionally well, as he too draws on a conventional superhero style for these unconventional super… guys.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call them heroes yet. 


Knuckleheads #1, overall, is a pretty interesting read.  While at times it feels as if the jokes are trying too hard to appeal to a certain generation, the pacing is good and you won’t want to put it down until you see what happens next.  Will Trevor and his Wii Remote be able to save the city?  It’s an odd question, and if it isn’t enough to grip your attention, perhaps nothing will. 



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