What do I know about roller derby? Well, I watched Whip It a few years ago. That’s about it. Thankfully, BoomBox released SLAM! the other day so now I am much more educated in all things derby. Penned by Pamela Ribon, writer of many things from Disney’s Moana to Rick and Morty comics, with art by Veronica Fish, of Marvel’s Silk and Archie comics, colours of Brittany Peer and Jim Campbell’s lettering SLAM! follows two young women as they roll into the world of this fascinating contact sport. Behind the actual sport, though, the comic, as with a lot of BoomBox’s titles, is a warm and simple story about finding one’s community. SLAM! continues the tradition of BoomBox putting out accessible and reliably fun comics on the market.
Bookended by the rookie rumble game our leading characters, Jennifer Chu and Maisie Huff, take part in, the middle of the comic covers how these two got into the sport in the first place. Chu, a postgraduate student, seems to be doing everything right, yet is always alone. She is “the loneliest girl” at her gym, and her dating life in currently on a self-imposed hiatus. The loneliness comes to a halt after she is invited to a roller derby game by a couple of eastside rollergirls at the gym that day. She signs up for derby practice the same day. That is where she first meets Maisie. “Too skinny from a diet consisting of tears and fury”, Maisie Huff ends up at the game after her relationship of 3 years falls apart. Jennifer and Maisie quickly strike up a friendship, help each other through the practices and, eventually, play in the rookie rumble game, looking to turn the pieces of paper with their derby nicknames pinned to the backs of their shirts into actual jerseys.
At its core, SLAM! is about getting up after a bad fall. It’s about getting unstuck and becoming stronger, both physically and mentally. Winning doesn’t even play into it. The score doesn’t matter, one of the characters says, as you all win the after party. Oh, it’s also about having cool haircuts. There’s a panel at the end of the first issue that sums up the comic pretty nicely. That panel is attached below.
The first issue of SLAM! Doesn’t have anything particularly new or revolutionary in it, but, in a typical BoomBox fashion, it sure is tons of fun. If you want a quick read with badass characters and roller derby, or if you just want a nice loving kick up the butt, then look no further than SLAM! To slightly alter the opening line from the musical masterpiece that is Space Jam by Quad City DJs, “everybody get up it’s time to [read] slam [#1 from BoomBox, available at your local comic shop or online] now.”