12.02.10 Review (Singular, No "S")

King City #12 (Image Comics): It was a dud week and I’d heard really positive things about Brandon Graham’s work, so I decided to jump in and give it a shot. Unbeknownst to me, this turned out to be the final issue, at least according to the Image Comics web-site, but I think that information might be a little dated. The site also lists the ship date as 11/24/10 and indicates a fold out poster would be included, which I didn’t get. Anyway, this probably wasn’t the best issue for me to sample, but despite some confusion, there’s a lot I did like about it. I guess Tokyopop originally published the material and Image is re-publishing it? There also appears to be some connection with Oni Press, since Graham uses the logo on the back cover. It was fairly difficult to parse the narrative thrust of the story and figure out this universe; I guess the demon king squid monster guy needs to be defeated(?), there are complex relationships – like the protagonist needing to rescue his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend(?), and cats seem to be revered(?). All that said, I was still able to really enjoy King City purely as an aesthetic experience. The penciling seems to blend a Paul Pope-style, Philip K. Dick-inspired, cityscape of the future, with the insular mythology of something like Scott Pilgrim, all with a Geoff Darrow level of detail. How’s that for a crazy comparison? The art is a virtual Easter Egg hunt through a thoroughly unique example of world-building. Many of the lines of dialogue also employ clever visual footnotes (spreading hummus on a hot chick’s ass was a hidden favorite) or show off a remarkable linguistic manipulation. It’s things like “hand doll” in place of “handle,” or “Suspicion Chips” in lieu of “Fish & Chips.” I enjoyed the quirky odd map of California, though the geography was way off, with Turlock north of Lake Tahoe, or Fresno north of San Francisco. $2.99 for 40 oversized pages is a steal in this market and even though some of it was a head-scratcher, the art and style are inventive enough to make me curious for more. Perhaps I’ll hunt down some bargain back issues or invest in a forthcoming collected edition. Grade B+.


At 3:43 PM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Sounds promising. I've seen this on the racks from time to time, but never picked it up. Any signs of Image collecting the entire series, now that it's done?

Production Junkie kicks in: Oversized you say??? What size, pray tell.

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Argh, I don't have the issue in front of me, but it's somewhere in between regular comic size and magazine size.


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