Every now and then, a well-meaning publisher will mistake me for what the industry has termed a “Reputable Influencer,” mostly owing to the fact that I’m one of the few people with the guts to stand up and declare that Marvel’s short-lived sci-fi/trucking series U.S. 1 is objectively great. When this happens, they’ll send me something to review, and I’ll do my best to give it a fair shake.
First up, we’ve got a new Image title from Christopher Yost and Scott Wegener, Killer of Demons.
To be perfectly and brutally honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Yost’s work for Marvel on books like X-23 and X-Force–although to be fair, those are books that wouldn’t really appeal to me under any writer–and I’ll admit that I originally gave this one a pass when I saw it in Previews. But it’s a well-known fact in the comics industry that the work someone does for one of the major companies is often a world apart from the stuff he’s doing for himself.
Take a look at Joe Kelly, for instance. I’ve been avoiding that guy like the plague for years thanks to some nigh-unreadable stuff he did at DC, but I grabbed a copy of Bad Dog #1 after a ton of people–including Dorian Wright and Hector Plasm writer Benito Cereno–recommended it to me, and ended up enjoying it enough that I’m willing to give his other recent stuff a second look. I mean, it didn’t quite set my world on fire, but, well, it was certainly no Justice League Elite.
And that’s about how it worked with KoD. When I finally got a chance to sit down and give it a read, I thought it was a hoot.
With Killer of Demons, Yost and Wegener have crafted a book that’s essentially Army of Darkness meets Office Space. David Sloane is an office worker at a tobacco company who was chosen by God and set forth to–as the title implies–kill demons. The catch is that not only are the demons everywhere–from the night staff at the local White Castle to his psychologist’s secretary to almost every one of his coworkers–David’s the only one who can see them.
Which, now that I think of it, is sort of the plot of the Chaos! Comics Undertaker series from the ’90s, starring the professional wrestler of the same name.
But Yost and Wegener, unsurprisingly, do it worlds better than that one did. Yost is able to pull off the laconic and reluctant hero who genuinely does not want to fulfill his destiny without having David come off as whiny or unlikeable, which is no mean feat in and of itself. Add to that all the nice touches, like the fact that he’s making a reputation as a serial killer and his wife’s a cop who wants to bring said killer down, and you’ve got a pretty compelling read with a nice hook to it. And Wegener, well, anyone who’s seen his previous work on Atomic Robo should be familiar with just how good an artist he is, and the White Castle scene that went out as a preview for this book is just more proof of it.
It’s fun stuff, and it should be available at your local comic shop today. Give it a read!
Next up, The Laugh Out Loud Cats Sell Out, by Adam Koford!
First, a little background. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the LOLCat phenomenon–which I assume means it’s either your first day on the Internet or you’re my mom–I’ll do my best to sum up.
A while back, a bunch of hackers on steroids decided it would be a good idea to take pictures of their cats, and then put funny captions on them, which are written with poor spelling and grammar because… well, because they’re cats, and nobody ever sent their cat to school. It’s a wonder they can write at all. Anyway, it took off in a big way–because the Internet is nothing if not a way for people to send pictures of their cats to each other–and it eventually led to a website where people post the pictures and then comment on them using the same broken grammar, which is just weird.
Into this Internet Cat Machine came Adam “Ape Lad” Koford and The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats, a series of cartoons attributed to Koford’s ancestor, Aloysius, who not only created the phenomenon back in the ’30s, but managed to presage virtually every aspect of modern life that the latter-day LOLCats would reference. Like, say, Wolverine:
Koford’s strips are utterly charming. There’s really no other word for it; he somehow manages to make them funny, endearing and occasionally even heartwarming, and somehow even more patently ridiculous than the original photos. And how? By recasting the housecats of today as hobos.
Anyway, it’s hard to explain, but fortunately, Koford’s hundreds of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats strips are available at Koford’s website. The book functions as a sort of best-of–although my favorite, the one about Jack Kirby, is left out–and features an introduction by hobofficionado and humorist John Hodgman, but like most print collections of web content, it’s something that you’re free to sample in its entirety before you decide if it’s worth shelling out your cash for the hard copy.
And personally, I think it’s well worth it: Koford’s a great cartoonist, and he’s managed to catch lightning in a bottle with this one in a way that should be embraced, rewarded, and enjoyed for as long as it lasts.
The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out is a nifty-looking 160-page hardcover that retails for $12.95, but Amazon’s got it in stock for a little bit less.