Tuesday, February 01, 2005

23rd Leg: Killroy and Tina

Comic: Killroy and Tina
By: Justin Pierce

Setting and Elements: A small american town called Wakefield, Alternate Universes, Superhero, Sci-Fi
Content Type: Action-Adventure, Parody, Humour

Art Medium: Hand-drawn and digitally coloured
Art Style: Semi-realistic, Initially gradient colours and cel-shaded later on.

Is About: The Almighty Despot of the Universe, Killroy, and Tina, the teenage earth girl he's biogenetically bonded to.

Website: http://www.killroyandtina.com
Frequency: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Availability: Latest page always free. Graphic Smash subscription for archives.

First Impressions and Presentation:
I should take this moment to point out that I've been a longtime reader of KnT. The fact that I have a Fulcrum fanart in my art gallery should be diagnostic.

So keep in mind that as much as I try to be impartial in my reviews, I might be a bit biased in this case.

That important disclaimer done, let's look at the website design: There are two versions, the original black design and the new red and white one. The red and white one is great for being spiffy and something different from the common black, but having the comic to the right reads a bit odd.

The Concept:
One of the charms of KnT is that the concept is pretty much as original as you could hope for.

Tina Matthews is your ordinary teenage earth girl with the normal problems that entails (Unpopularity in school, boyfriend, struggling single mother for parent). Killroy is the ultimate despot of the universe, the slaver of many planets and races. The Fulcrum of the Universe is a mystic and powerful being who for reasons that are later revealed, bio-genetically 'bonds' the two as punishment for Killroy. The chaos that ensues is Killroy and Tina

The Art:
In the beginning the art will no doubt look odd. Even with the revised versions for Graphic Smash, the proportions still look a bit funny and the lines slightly sketchy. The art does improve drastically as times goes on, and at the time of this writing, has reached a stage of what I'd call a certain stylised elegance.

Character designs for the normal human characters a little mudane, but the otherworld characters are fun and varied, and I especially love the alien designs. Most of them are done with a joke in mind (Lollipop dimension?!) rather than anything scientific, but that really fits in with what the rest of the comic is about anyway.

The panel designs remain in page format and hardly ever change or break out of their restrictions, although from time to time Justin tries something out like the animated lightning lighted page here.

The Writing:
Pretty much the thing that makes Killroy and Tina stand out from the rest.

While the first few chapters meander a little, but starting from the paintball war chapter the writing really tightens up and moves along. The whole story itself is very convoluted and complex, with a plethora of recurring secondary and supporting characters. Although sometimes the story deviates so much you can't help but wonder what relevance it has with the main story.

The two strongest assets KnT has in its repetoire are its sense of humour and level of characterisation. Although more of an action-adventure comic than a humour, there are lots of funny bits where Pierce makes fun of anything and everything. The dialogue in particular has a special zing without being trying to much to be 'zinging', if you get what I mean.

The characters on the other hand, are almost unique in comic-dom for their level of humanness despite super-human abilities. Like the smash-hit that was The Incredibles proved, it's a combination that can work rather well. For example, Tina inherits Killroy's laser vision, but can't use it most of the time because it fries her contact lenses. Plus, there are all sorts of little details and idiosyncrasies that flesh out the characters very well, like Tina being a neat freak and seemingly being on permanent PMS ;) , Killroy's tendency to NEVER use contractions or Brandon (the boyfriend) being a very loyal and supportive despite being totally unperceptive and possessing an inability to be serious.

The humour can be rather slapstick and oddball at times, but most of the time you get the impression it's being told with a straight face. How you get that impression from a comic, don't ask me... it just does.

I'm going to rant here. One thing I really really really dislike abhor and really really am sick of seeing in webcomics is the 'President Bush' cameo. It's getting to be done to death more times than the "I'm bored let's start a webcomic' joke. I know some of you can feel very strongly about your politics, but for god's sake find more interesting ways of parody, PLEASE.

Inserting a Bush lookalike that acts like an retarded idiot was never really funny in the first place, definitely not funny if you're not the first to do it, even less funny if your readership isn't American and couldn't care less and IMHO does nothing more than cheapen and make the comic look dated very quickly.

To be fair, KnT isn't the only one guilty of this. I'm not going to name any other names but you all know who you are.

Ok, rant over. Yes, I'm sleep-deprived and feeling nasty at the moment. I'm sharing Tina's tendency for being on permanent PMS now.

KnT is an enjoyable read, with a delightful sense of humor, snappy dialogue and a story that can only be called epic. You can already tell the scope of the story is ENORMOUS, and despite all that's been happening so far, I have a feeling we've barely seen what there is to see.

The Next Leg:
...will either be Slyvan Migdal's Ascent (which I have wanting to blog about for sometime and Justin Pierce is telling me on his blog to read) or Twelve Dragons (which I haven't read but looks like it might be interesting from the links page). Depending on whether I decide to sidetrack or not, we might get either or both.


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  2. nice collection of comics