By:Chad Derdowski
Review Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Source: Mania

Prison Pit is a book about fighting. Lots and lots of fighting. In fact, the whole book is essentially one horrifically brutal and gory fight scene after another. The story opens with a couple of robotic-looking guards depositing the protagonist , C.F. (apparently his full name is too horrifying to reveal), on a barren alien world populated by monsters and vile criminals. The rest of the story pretty much amounts to C.F. kicking all kinds of ass on a quest to recover a strange alien creature capable of excreting a steroid-like drug so that a bigger (and much tougher) alien monster won’t kill him.


The Good

Prison Pit reminded me a lot of Gwar, professional wrestling and the comic strips my friends and I used to draw in junior high. In fact, it may as well be a comic strip that my friends and I drew in junior high: the art style seemed eerily reminiscent of something I might’ve whipped up back then. It was gross as hell and filled with blood and gore and just straight-up repulsive juvenile humor. It was a lot of fun.


The Bad

It’s probably too awesome for a lot of people to handle.

If you’re looking for deep, meaningful work, this isn’t it. It isn’t particularly thoughtful or insightful and there isn’t a lot of metaphor. I don’t think it says anything about the human condition, the state of the world or humanity in general. In fact, there isn’t really even much of a plot.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be the “bad” section?


Cover art to PRISON PIT BOOK ONE by Johnny Ryan

The Bottom Line

Dude, it’s great. Just shut up and buy it. Be warned: it isn’t for the weak of heart or those who can’t handle a fair amount of awesomeness. If you don’t like seeing characters with masks of blood covering their faces, intestines being forcibly removed from body cavities, limbs being severed and used as bludgeoning devices or tons of hardcore violence drawn in a very crude manner, stay the hell away. But if you enjoy FUN, then you might want to give it a shot. Prison Pit appealed to the twelve-year-old boy that still lurks within my heart and hopefully will never die. I had a smile on my face the entire time I read it.

In all honesty: it isn’t going to be for everyone, but it’s a perfect example of “it is what it is”. You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t: it’s not like you need to feel bad about it. It’s not one of those comics where only the pretentious, artsy-fartsy folks get it and everyone else just pretends to. In fact, those of us who did enjoy this book are probably vastly less intelligent than the rest of you. That being said, I’m giving Prison Pit an A and as soon as I’m done writing this review, I’m going to sit down and re-read it.

Take a look at the cover: it speaks volumes in regards to what you’ll find inside. If the artwork appeals to you, then buy it and enjoy it. It’s a really good time.

Mania Grade: A
Title: Prison Pit Book One
by: Johnny Ryan
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
Price: $12.99