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‘King City #1 and 2’: A comic review

King City written and drawn by Brandon Graham (Multiple Warheads). This series was kind of tough to trace in its lineage. From all I can tell these issues I have are from a second run of the series. It was initially published by TokyoPop, a U.S. company that translated and distributed manga (Graham is from Canada and currently lives in the Northwest, so that distribution always seemed odd to me). But since the company had hit hard times (and recently closed down) it is now published by Image. When reading this I had little knowledge of the series, but have been drawn to Graham’s art style.

Writing:

If I had to describe the writing in one word it would be, nonsensical. Two issues in and I don’t really know much of the premise of the series. I can see the outlines of the relationships between the characters, but at the moment it’s fairly vague. I’m sure that these issues serve at establishing those plot trails that will be connected somewhere later on in the series. I’m still trying to figure out the characters in what they do and their baggage and while this apparent in two characters, it isn’t as clear cut elsewhere. But it’s two issues and that’s a lot to accomplish already.

What is here is fun and/or interesting. Issue #1 was far more on the fun/silly side, while Issue #2 maintains it somewhat it begins to add some elements of seriousness into the narrative. I can see many influences of the anime FLCL already in this series. Like FLCL, King City appears to be blending serious themes with silly characters and situations. The second issue already posits these more serious themes of the series.

Design:

The comic is still written inside panels, however the panels are far less defined than a typical panel. Several of the larger panels have diagonal horizontal edges. Other panels are half page, with full page ones. This is used to increase the sense of space in the comic. Larger panels also emphasize visually the importance of content of the panel, when compared with the panels surrounding it.

Art:

As mentioned already, the art for this series is what really got me curious. First off, the covers are fantastic. Nice use of soft colors and fluid lines give them a very bubblegum-pop feel (again, another probable influence of FLCL). It’s inviting. Even the cover for Issue #2, which is far more chaotic, still appears interesting because the use of those warm soft colors.

The interior is all black and white, but I don’t think that takes much away from the comic. While the color palette is really great from the covers, the use of fluid lines is still present. City areas are nice to look at, and same with interior scenes. But the real highlight is the characters themselves. The designs and execution are easily the most interesting thing in the comic for me. It also creates a great potential to lend itself to the narrative later on in the series.

Awesome

Final Opinion:

These first two issues are good. While the writing left me wanting a little more fleshed out, I’m interested and I want to read more. The art, in the form of the actual narrative and the covers, is the highlight of these issues for me. If you want to know if this series is for you, judge based on the artwork presented, as well the expectation for potential silliness. In that case, the series is probably not for everyone. I did like what I read, while not being the best, and looking forward to later issues of the series (which there are several already in print).

King City is created by Brandon Graham and distributed by Image Comics.

Brandon has a really cool blog he writes in consistently:

http://royalboiler.wordpress.com

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