Six months ago, I was assigned a review of Regular Show: 25 Years Later #1, and I didn't quite understand why. I'd never seen an episode of the TV series, and I had no desire to take on another spinoff comic book. Looking back now, following this week's conclusion of the Boom! Studios limited series, I realize that getting this assignment was the best thing that could have happened. A book that I never would have given a second thought turned out to be one of my favorite comics of the entire year, and that's not an exaggeration; I've loved every single second of it.
Flying under the radar, this Regular Show follow-up comic has been equal parts endearingly silly and emotionally profound. The story follows Rigby and Mordecai 25 years after the conclusion of their run on TV, now both with families of their own. They have new responsibilities now, and, like many of us, they feel as though time somehow escaped them. All of a sudden they are fathers of teenagers, wondering where their young and vibrant lives have gone. Once reunited, the duo wishes they could have just one more adventure from their youth before returning to adulthood. Ultimately, they get more than they bargained for when a magical elf turns them back into young men and steals their children to raise as his own.
Over the course of the six issues, Rigby and Mordecai get to have another wacky adventure, the likes of which they asked for, but it comes with some massive reflection on their part. They quickly realizes that, as much as they loved their youth, their lives have changed for the better. Being husbands and fathers is a much more exciting quest than they gave it credit for.
From the get-go, this book was incredibly easy to relate to despite the fact that I am not yet a parent. Anyone who has grown up can easily understand what these guys are going through. At some point, we all look back and realize that are lives aren't the same anymore. Whether it's a new job, a marriage, a move to a new city, or a couple of kids, so many of us have had a moment of reflection regarding what our lives used to be. And more often than not, that moment is kind of scary.
That fear of growing old, of your own mortality staring you in the face for probably the first time, is what made this series so profound. Christopher Hastings boldly stares that terror down and cracks a smile as he flips it the bird. As we realize, alongside Rigby and Mordecai, growing up is an adventure in and of itself, and it shouldn't be feared. It should be embraced. Running around and doing whatever we wanted as kids was a ton of fun, but there's no reason why the same can't be said of adulthood. Sure, raising a family is a great challenge that comes with a massive amount of responsibility, but it's still an adventure in its own right, the likes of which our younger selves could never imagine or comprehend.
There is so much to unpack in this book, which is not what I expected going in. It assures you that getting older can be difficult, but that you never have to do it alone. Your best friends are your best friends for a reason, and they aren't going to stop their journey with you just because the adventure looks different.
All that to say, it was a joy and honor to review Regular Show: 25 Years Later over the past few months. Not only was it fun, but it also helped me reflect on some of my biggest fears. At the end of the day, what more can you ask of a great comic? Please read this book if you haven't already. I promise you'll be better for it.
Published by Boom! Studios
On November 28, 2018
Written by Christopher Hastings
Illustrated by Anna Johnstone