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King City Vols. 1-2
posted November 12, 2009


Creator: Brandon Graham
Publishing Information: Image Comics, magazine-sized pamphlets, 32 pages, 2009, $2.99
Ordering Numbers:

I like the format of these new comics, a re-publication of an aborted Tokyopop series by the talented Brandon Graham. In case your life isn't concerned with format and page counts the way mine is, Image has been running a select number of comics in an magazine-sized format. It feels slightly smaller than the old Love and Rockets first series, but that could be an optical illusion. It's a nice showcase, and I can't think of any title in their roster that deserves the platform more than King City, which not only has the strengths of an early '80s comic but actually resembles titles like Mr. X and D'Arc Tangent in its presentation of a (mostly) human story in a fantastic setting.

Unlike those efforts, however, Graham doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get into the thick of an overarching plot or give itself over to any sort of recognizable character rhythms into which we can sink into a comfortable position and suss out future happenings. The first issue was given over to the introduction of the major character, his way of operating, and the bare bones of his previous life; the second issue continues those elements out just a little bit more and provides more context to an ostensibly competing character than I would have guessed at this stage in the series' roll out. I like any comic that feels like the Wendesday afternoon back home during the first semester after everyone's gone to college, and Graham is enough of a talented artist and designer that there's a high level of visual interest to be had in just watching over his shoulder as his characters poke around. My only worry is that if things do start to converge into more traditional storytelling strategies that the characters may not be sturdy enough to maintain our interest through exposure the way they do right now via suggestion. Still, this is one to watch, and I'd happily follow this series in a comics shop were I to have one in my home area.