Brandon Graham is one of a new group of comic book creators who have their feet planted in two worlds– that of American comics, and Japanese manga. Graham and others like Brian Lee O’Malley (SCOTT PILGRIM), Becky Cloonan (AMERICAN VIRGIN, DEMO, EAST COAST RISING) and Cory Lewis (SHARKNIFE), are creating some very exciting comics that mix some of the iconography and storytelling of manga with a western sensibility that– for me– is a very invigorating thing to watch unfold.

Graham recently released KING CITY through TOKYOPOP– and it’s a book I instantly found fascinating. KING CITY is infused with tons of wonderful and imaginative concepts and characters. The story follows Joe and his cat as they wander in a seeming aimless fashion through the title city. Joe’s cat has the ability, with the right injection, to become any tool that Joe may need at any given time. Throughout the book, the cat becomes in turns a perisope, a skateboard, a parachute– and performs an autopsy…. all the while, maintaining his feline appearance. During the course of the first book, Joe finds himself mixed up in a situation of dark intrigue that ends up pulling in the few friends he actually has by the end of Book 1 (it’s a 2-part story). Grahams art seems to be a wonderful mesh of many influences like Paul Pope, Mobeus, Jaimie Hewlett as well as tinges of the aforementioned manga– which all flows together into something new and wonderful. The story vacillates between high tension and a laconic pace in its storytelling. That creates a dream-like quality that just enhances the reading experience. There’s a sense of alienation… of not belonging… as an underlying theme to KING CITY. As we follow Joe, and meet his friends along the way, there’s a pulse of dread and danger thrumming under the surface of what seems like an almost idle existence that Graham’s characters lead. KING CITY is a two-dimensional reverie that I truly enjoy immersing myself in.

I highly recommend KING CITY to anyone looking for something that’s unusual and truly different from what’s being published by the Big Two. You can find examples of Brandon Graham’s work at his DEVIANTART gallery.

OK… have a great day, all.

This is Entry 362.


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