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The children are the future, and King City is for the babies

May 12th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

I wrote about Brandon Graham’s King City for Comics Alliance.

It’s dumb, but I’ve been trying to write about King City for ages. The last time I tried was around issue 4. I think the final text on CA is a mixture of ideas and sentences from three different drafts from several months worth of starts and stops. I finally got focused and put some elbow grease into it, using issue four as the lynchpin, and I think it turned out pretty okay.

The thing is, King City may well be my favorite ongoing comic right now. It’s a book I save to read until several days after new comics day, in part because I know it is going to be fantastic and in part because it makes everyone else making comics look lazy. It’s that serious. Graham is filling each page with amazing ideas and the briefest of thoughts and it all works. It hangs together. Reading King City is like playing Jenga with ideas and concepts, but it never tips over. It stays upright. The oversized floppy format, the black and white art, the page count, the backups, the back cover, the whole book works. It’s cluttered and messy and it all works.

(I haven’t been able to get “Sometimes her cigarette smoke smells like flowers” out of my head since I read it.)

I didn’t want to screw it up when I wrote about it. This is the book that everyone should be reading. It’s your stepping stone to a world of great comics. And like, writing it up and doing a halfway job on it? That’d just be sloppy. I wouldn’t do it justice. I think the CA piece comes as close as I can right now. I may write about it more later on, as the series lumbers toward its conclusion.

One more thing.


I love this comic, man. Y’all should be reading it.

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7 comments to “The children are the future, and King City is for the babies”

  1. I just recently read the first volume. Looking forward to the collected second volume. And, yes, it is one of the best books out there. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.


  2. Great. Yet another thing to tack onto an Amazon order.


  3. If you’re gonna be a comics evangelist right now, then you’ve chosen the right book to be using as your bible.

    Great piece on CA, great piece explaining the piece. Graham has fashioned a world like no other from whole cloth, and it’s impossible not to be drawn into it. Every time I go apartment hunting on Craig’s List these days, I keep hoping to see an ad for a place in King City.


  4. King City is one of the best books on the market right now, and it saddens me that more people aren’t reading it. If you like KC, Graham’s next project is with Oni, Multiple Warheads


  5. I’ve been a big admirer of Graham’s work ever since I picked up Multiple Warheads on a lark. I was really bummed when it seemed as though King City might be killed by TokyoPop’s financial troubles, and relieved when the Image co-publishing deal came about. Yet, I always have a hard time selling people on why I enjoy Graham’s work. The beautiful artwork’s a given, and the clever puns and throwaway gags that litter his pages are endlessly entertaining. But I think his real talent is in layering this strange, frenetically energized sci-fi stuff over instantly relatable and human characters and stories.

    Also, anyone who digs Graham’s work should also check out his buddy James Stokoe’s stuff. His Won Ton Soup reads very much in the same vein as King City, and his newest work, Orc Stain, is a beautifully illustrated fantasy tale.


  6. [...] on the web, David Brothers praises King City, an OEL title that was picked up by Image Comics after Tokyopop canceled it… Joe McCulloch [...]


  7. Great piece. I missed this book when it was originally published by Tokyopop, but have been picking it up monthly since Image started republishing the first volume. I haven’t been disappointed yet. Every time I re-read an issue, I find myself poring over the details in every panel, discovering new things that I may have missed before.

    I always leave it for my very last read of the week too. After reading King City, nothing else really seems to stand up as well. The same goes for his pal James Stokoe’s Orc Stain. Those two books alone best just about anything else out there in terms of pure imagination.