Buffalo Speedway, written and illustrated by creator Yehudi Mercado, “award winning animator, writer, and director,” is unlike anything I’ve read this year. It’s the best “fun with a point” read I’ve had the pleasure reading the first few issues of Reed Gunther (before the Image Comics deal). Buffalo Speedway is definitely for more mature readers, but the fun level is just the same. Buffalo Speedway is the story of Turbo Pizza, the last independent pizza delivery hut in Houston to hold their own against the big box pizza chains, one of which is lobbying owner Francis Booth AKA “Mr. B” pretty heavily to sell out, and the eclectic mix of delivery drivers that comprise Mr. B’s staff. The cast of characters, from OJ Simpson fan Figgs to the big, dark, and silent The Dragon, are the most interesting and fun characters to watch in action since Jay, Silent Bob, and the cast of Chasing Amy. Each character of Buffalo Speedway is well rounded enough to be unique, yet recognizable enough as archetypes to draw smart comparisons to other genre similar characters.
Figgs, the story’s main character, has realized that he is becoming a “lifer” pizza delivery boy. It’s not that he doesn’t have dreams of doing something more with his life, it’s just that his biggest dream, his Friday regular, the hottie Pia, seems destined to remain an unattainable dream…for now. Everything comes to a screeching halt though the day that OJ Simpson’s arrest warrant is issued for the murder of his wife and her friend. OJ is about to lead the police, and the nation, on a slow speed chase and everyone in Houston, Texas just ordered a pizza to go along with the show. How will Figgs deal with his favorite player being on the run? How will he deal with his feelings for Pia? How will he win the race to make the most runs against The Dragon and his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda 426? Finally, will his best friend and apartment crasher Super Cheese ever find a place of his own? Thankfully, we won’t know until we read the future volumes…
…and that’s a good thing. Buffalo Speedway is set up by Mercado to be a multi-volume exposition on the life of not just pizza delivery boys, but the life of the small business owner and the struggle to survive in the world of the Big Box Store. The story is well written enough, with enough humor and dramedy to keep readers hooked, and jonesing for more. Thankfully, courtesy of Mr. Mercado, I have two more volumes to devour and talk about in hand.
Buffalo Speedway is the perfect example of “Other Comics” (i.e. Indie Comics) that are far enough from the mainstream superhero grind, yet interesting enough artistically to be worth reading and looking forward to on a regular basis. Highly recommended.