Monday, October 30, 2006

Kilroy Is Here #4

Kilroy Is Here #4, 1995, Caliber Comics
writer: Joe Pruett
artist: Mike Perkins
letterer: Roxanne Starr

You’ll have to forgive me. My mind isn’t all here. With nearly an entire month’s worth of Halloween themed or related comics under my belt, I was really looking forward to the coup de grace, the issue I purchased weeks ago specifically to read on All Hallow’s Eve. Now, amongst the hundreds of comics scattered across my bedroom floor, I can’t find it. What’s worse, my girlfriend is already fast asleep, preventing my eager and frustrated hands from tearing apart my leaning towers of geekdom with the noisy desperation my troubled heart yearns to let loose. Of course, this has nothing to do with today’s read, but with the sacred celebration mere hours away, you can imagine my aggravation.

Kilroy Is Here is an independent effort from the mid-90s with a rich backstory and an even richer context in the comics realm. A few times throughout this tale, the author references a comic called Negative Burn, where the title character Kilroy must’ve appeared before scoring his own series. The characters’ interactions and feelings toward each other definitely imply a tapestry of past events. From what I can gather, Kilroy is an eternal driven by mankind’s penchant for evil and his corresponding instinct to avenge it, even at the protest of angelic agents. He looks like the Crow, all goth and trenchcoated, muttering more about his plight than actually fulfilling it, at least in this issue. A few reporters pursue Kilroy to the Lincoln Memorial, where all parties converge for what’s bound to be a battle royale. Alas, that’s where this installment ends, which is always my luck with these random picks. Sigh.

Still, I must admit, the writer pours enough grief and melodrama into his characters to create the illusion of action, if only through the tension of his hero’s dilemma, which made this issue a fairly enjoyable read. Artistically, I wasn’t sold, but Perkins demonstrates a promise that could’ve benefited from some masterful coloring or an alternate inker (alternate to himself, is what I’m saying). His blocking was cinematic enough to pack the punch the writer intended, which is good enough for me, and his heavy inks created a mood that was befitting the day before Halloween – dark . . . a little too dark. Again, if Perkins concentrated solely on his pencil work here, I could’ve been more impressed. Kilroy is here, but I don’t see him going anywhere.

I mentioned this issue’s context in the comics realm. The supplement material in this issue mentioned Caliber Comics’ contributors, including Phil Hester, Bendis with his acclaimed piece AKA Goldfish, and David Mack’s Kabuki. Who would’ve thought that these indie efforts would become the darlings of the medium in the 21st century? Back issues offer this rare retrospective from time to time, reminding us that the names that grace the cover of Wizard Magazine every month were still struggling artists at one time or another. Like Kilroy, they may be here now, but back then, no one knew who they were, let alone where.

I’m going to venture into the fray one more time, hoping I find the comic with which I’ve been hoping to celebrate Halloween. If not, I have a poor plan B. I feel like someone’s dropped an apple in my goodie bag.

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