I just so happened to watch 1981's The Funhouse within the same two days I decide to read the first two issues of Tales of Rocky Point Park. As I was in the midst of this, I realized that both the carnival location of the film and the amusement park setting of the comic were very similar to one another, so I thought why not review both the comic and the movie! So, in a joint effort with that awesome blog, Paracinema...The Blog, I will do my review of Tales of Rocky Point Park here, while The Funhouse will be posted over at Paracinema.
Illustrated and written by Jason Mayoh, Tales of Rocky Point Park is a three part independent comic book that mixes rumors and urban legends with facts about the now long gone Rocky Point Amusement Park in Rhode Island. I only have the first two issues, so I cannot speak for the entire Rocky Point saga, but each of these issues are independent from each other for the most part and each issue focuses on a different aspect of the legendary amusement park.
Rocky Point opened its gates way back in 1847 and officially closed in 1996. It sat there after closing, rusting and rotting away till 2007 when the park was finally demolished, leaving behind quite the legacy for the many people that enjoyed the park throughout its long history. It was the most popular attraction in Road Island and one of the biggest and most beloved in all of New England. Being open as long as it was, Rocky Point built up many memories - and sitting for as long as it sat, abandoned and rusting away, those stories were to be passed on from generation to generation...stories that over time, evolved into legends.
That is the focus of Tales of Rocky Point Park, Mayoh takes the facts about the parks history, most of which are fascinating, and mixes them with the urban legends that have developed over the years. In the first issue, the main focus is The House of Horrors and the many sordid tales that the parks very popular haunted attraction brought. It also introduces The Viking - a figure that was an abused fixture of the haunted house that is turned into a sort of protector of the grounds in this morbid tale. In the second issue, Mayoh concentrates on the Skyliner, a sort of ski lift that carried passengers from one end of the park, to the other. With a great view of the entire park, people loved the Skyliner, but for some, the Skyliner was a trip to their doom as there were a few accidents, some of them even fatal.
Heavily inspired by E.C. comics, these Tales of Rocky Point Park are a lot of fun, while being more than just a bunch of made up stories. There are a ton of great anecdotes to be told about the park and to have those stories mixed with the urban legends that generated from the location is a recipe for informative success. Each issue includes about two pages of memories and recollections from a slew of people, from ex-employees to city council officials. The black and white artwork is solid and Mayoh uses a very classic comic book style that works well in this genre of storytelling.
I had picked these issues up a long time ago now and I'm happy that I finally got to reading them...I am very interested in learning more about the park itself and incidentally there is a 2007 documentary about Rocky Point titled You Must Be This Tall. I have known about it for some time and I have always wanted to check it out, but even more now I would like to see it after reading Tales of Rocky Point Park. I am not sure if the doc gets into any of the "stranger occurrences" of Rocky Point, but there is a lot of history to be learned about this one time place of joy and happiness that filled so many with an unlimited amount of nostalgia.
You can pick up Tales of Rocky Point Park from the official website here - you can buy each of the three issues separately, or in a collected graphic novel style book that contains all three stories. If anyone out there in Baby Eating land has ever seen the documentary, I would love to hear a little about it. Now in the spirit of haunted amusement parks, I would like to invite you to head over to Paracinema and check out my review of The Funhouse! The Funhouse and the Rocky Point comics went so well together and the accidental pairing gave me an excuse to do a comic review, which most of you may know, I have never done before, so I hope it was aight!
Enjoy the review!