REVIEW: ‘Mashbone and Grifty,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mashbone and Grifty #1 from 5 Meats Comics is a trip “mang.” Created by Oscar Garza and edits and story by Rolando Esquivel, the story follows friends and private detectives Mashbone and Grifty as they tackle their first big case. When a man rushed into a bar and screams out “someone stole my cock!” within the first pages of the issue I questioned if the adult humor would land with me or if it would be too much. As the men listen to the cock’s owner explain the situation and ask for help, the double entendres are many but really well crafted.

As the pair realize that the cock is indeed a chicken name Mango they quickly accept the case to save the prizewinning chicken from El Luche, a luchador mask-wearing crime lord and owner of a cockfighting ring. Mashbone and Grifty #1 introduces us to our heroes in the opening with clever character bios, Mashbone is a humanzee with a bone through his head and Grifty is a loser. Beyond that, the dialogue in the issue makes our characters feel real and their friendship feel lived in. By accepting a case tied to illegal cockfighting, it’s clear that the pair is in a morally gray area, but then again, the client did raise Mango from a “cheecken puppy” to an adult. The humor in this issue lands perfectly. Whether it’s the use of double-meanings or a page that shows a side-by-side slice of life for our villain El Luche, or even if it’s when we learn that Grifty faces danger all the time, there isn’t a single moment that feels forced or timed badly.

The dialogue feels real, not only because of the well-executed humor but also because of the accent that leaps off the page. Some characters use Spanglish and are written with an accent with j’s replacing y’s, soft i sounds replaced with double e’s, and the use of the word “mang.” I could hear my uncles cracking jokes in the living room and see Cheech Marin delivering the lines.

When non-Mexican authors write dialogue for accented characters, it’s almost always generic, but her, Garza and Esquivel use their cultural knowledge to influence their writing and they nail it. With pieces of the story happening in “Little Mexico” and with many Mexican characters, the comic is filled to the brim with cultural references beyond just how the characters talk.

There is a poster of La Reina, Selena, candles with saints on them, a guest appearance by a character who is styled after the iconic Mexican comedian Chespirito, and a reference to the moment that scared Mexican children for life, la mordida. Even the choice to name a character Panfilo is a moment where you know the creators are Latin. These moments of Mexican culture is also why I think this story feels lived in, real. The laughs I had reading through the panels were genuine and I haven’t had that in a while — mainly because comedy comics usually isn’t my thing.

But if you’re not Latinx or don’t speak Spanish, the creators have also included a “handy el dandy” glossary to provide context and definitions to the Spanish used in the book making the dialogue extremely accessible and inclusive to all readers. The humor of the story is also translated to this page, it reads like people talk and explain Spanish words to people instead of just a definition sheet.

Beyond the story, the art is also distinctive, using a grayscale accented by a hint of red for effect towards the end. The art style is blocky and unique, with thick lines making this dynamic duo stand out from their backgrounds. The illustrations emphasize the humor of the comic and showcase how simplicity can pack a punch.

Mashbone and Grifty #1 is a mix between 80s buddy-cop movie and a Dick Tracy-esque detective noir comic. I’m excited to see what case the guys will take next and what jokes will get delivered. If you haven’t picked it up, you can catch up on the humorous action adventures of Mashbone and Grifty today.

Mashbone and Grifty #1 is available both digitally and physically.

Mashbone and Grifty #1
4.5

TL;DR

Mashbone and Grifty #1 is a mix between 80s buddy-cop movie and a Dick Tracy-esque detective noir comic. I’m excited to see what case the guys will take next and what jokes will get delivered. If you haven’t picked it up, you can catch up on the humorous action adventures of Mashbone and Grifty today.