Stuff I Read: Killer of Demons and the Laugh Out Loud Cats

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.

Because really, there’s nothing more hilarious than the plight of the homeless during the Great Depression. And I say that as someone who’s no stranger to the idea himself.

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.

25 thoughts on “Stuff I Read: Killer of Demons and the Laugh Out Loud Cats

  1. KoD sounds awfully exactly like Crossgen’s Route 666 comic. Except that Route 666 is more creepy and unsettling.

    But yeah, Laugh out Loud Cats is teh sheet. Haven’t seen that Wolverine bit before, but now that I did, I can now concede of Koford’s brilliance.

  2. Glad to see you reading Bad Dog. Maybe there will be a crossover with The Hard Ones in about five years.

    And yes, that is a neat way to enter a room. Especially if you’re indoors.

  3. I’m actually intrigued by a Yost written book now. Thats pretty strange. So them sending you a review copy had SOME positive impact at least…

  4. Yay for Ape Lad (Koford) getting a positive review! People who like his work should also check out the Hobo set in his Flickr photostream (under the name Ape Lad), in which he drew, in a wide variety of styles, all of the 700-and-change hobos listed in John Hodgman’s “The Areas of My Expertise.”
    Sorry if this has been posted before.

    Also, only knowing Joe Kelly from his Deadpool run once upon a time, how does Bad Dog compare?

  5. KoD also sounds a little like Reaper (the TV show) only there the protagonist is a store worker who was chosen by the Devil and set forth to capture demons and send ‘em back to Hell. I suspect the similarities end there.

    And I remember Ape Lad from his wonderful hoboes stuff and his fantastic series of A to Z pictures. I actually once ‘stole’ (or applied the “fair use” policy, however you want to look at it) one of his monster images for my avatar. Because it was cute in a monstrous sort of way. Anyway…

    I’ll have to check out his Laugh-Out-Loud Cats stuff. He’s a great artist.

  6. As the owner of a couple of pieces of Ape Lad art, I can definitely say that he is awesome. (As, by extension, am I.) Everyone should go out to your local internets and buy this book!

  7. KoD sounds awfully exactly like Crossgen’s Route 666 comic.

    I read Route 666 when it came out, and I don’t think Killer of Demons is very similar at all, given a markedly different setting and tone. “Guy Or Gal Who Can See And Fight Demons” isn’t exactly a bold new idea, after all, so it’s all in the execution.

  8. Reading through the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats archives, I’m finding them a bit hit-or-miss. Maybe it’s because the whole lolcats thing is so played out. Some are very funny, though.

  9. Hm, I was thinking that David Sloane was sort of a modern day ROM:Spaceknight, which would explain why Chris loves it so.

    I hope his wife’s name is Brandy.

  10. Chris,

    I just hooked on your description of ‘the demons are 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.’ to draw similarities to Route 666. Maybe ‘exactly’ is too strong a word, but that’s the feel I got from reading your synopsis. But hell, if you (of all people) say KoD is good, who am I to argue?

  11. I presume that KoD doesn’t deal with the possibility that the protagonist is not chosen by God but actually totally frickin’ nuts, like Bill Paxton in that movie Frailty.

  12. Office Space + Army of Darkness? isn’t that Shaun of the Dead? or the short lived Good vs Evil series on SciFi?

  13. True Fact: I loved Good vs. Evil (aka G vs E) and have a poster for it signed by Bill Sienkewicz that I won from a Wizard magazine contest.

  14. Lets see relatively everyday folk , `killing’ demons…

    Brimstone, Ghostrider, Route 666, Killer of Demons, Good vs Evil, Supernatural, Killing Demons, Buffy/Angel, Charmed, Carpe Demon, Ninja Scroll (kinda, along with, what half the manga out their?)etc…

    Nope, not the idea. All in the execution, indeed.

  15. The only thing I remember about G vs. E was Mick Foley’s guest appearance. He wasn’t on that poster, was he?

  16. Hey, I recommended Bad Dog and I Kill Giants too, and I don’t get a shout out?

    Damn!Can’t even get 15 minutes of fame

  17. You were part of the “ton of people.” Just think of yourself as being like the Oscars that are given out on the day before because nobody cares about them.

  18. “True Fact: I loved Good vs. Evil (aka G vs E) and have a poster for it signed by Bill Sienkewicz that I won from a Wizard magazine contest.”

    I feel your pain…I liked that show to.

  19. “Just think of yourself as being like the Oscars that are given out on the day before because nobody cares about them.”

    I don’t even know if that was an insult or not.

    And my whole point in recommending Bad Dog and I Kill Giants was because since I’ve started visiting this site I’ve read dozens of comics that otherwise I wouldn’t have known, just because they we’re recommended here. I was just returning the favour.