It’s new comic book day! For some people anyway. Where I sit, right smack dab in the middle of the good ol’ U. S. of A, it’s Wednesday night as I type this up. Usually Wednesday is the day I get my fix. Usually I stop by my LCBS and ask the short, balding, plump little man behind the counter to check my box and he hands over a stack of the good stuff. Not this time. Not for me. Nothing, nada. Seems a snow storm has caused a delay in shipment cutting me off cold turkey.
No big deal you say? NO BIG DEAL? Dude, Rumble #3 is on that truck. Bitch Planet. Goners, Wolverines. I got nothing. I came home and pouted like a wee little baby. I sulked and whined. I got online to search for something new I could review but my mind wandered and I found myself camping out on Facebook and Twitter. Then, I saw it. Robert Kirkman, a guy I follow on Twitter – I don’t know how many of you have heard of him, has some epic news about his comic Outcast. That got me to thinking… yes, that’s right! My comic book store had a half price sale on trades last week and I picked up Volume 1 of Kirkman’s Outcast.
Now maybe you’ve heard of him, maybe you haven’t. Hell, I have no idea if you live under a rock or not. But I have. Love him or hate him, no one can deny that Kirkman will go down in the annals of comic book history as one of the greatest heroes to the medium. I have no ax to grind here folks, my application is not on file over at Skybound. I’m not gunning for a job to write for The Walking Dead (but I wouldn’t pass it up either). It’s a plain-Jane fact that Kirkman has brought comics into the mainstream. Sure, Marvel can lay claim to the same but here is the difference: Marvel brought comics to the big screen, Kirkman brought them to our living rooms. Never in the history of Nerdality, Geekism maybe, has being a geek been this cool. Eight to eighty, blind, crippled and crazy – everyone from your granny to your boss loves The Walking Dead. Kirkman did that for us. Sure, there were others. Frank Miller brought us 300 and Sin City. Mignola gave us Hellboy. But those brands are not as recognizable as TWD.
I remember ten years or so ago, a tattoo parlor I liked to frequent made it’s home above my local comic book store. I spent hours in the chair getting inked. I used to sit there and read The Walking Dead books and shoot the breeze with my artist. He was about the only person I would openly talk about comics with. Now comics are such a part of everyday that you can’t walk into a gas station without seeing some merch dangling from a shelf begging you to buy it.
Maybe I’m wrong, wouldn’t be the first time and surely not the last. Maybe all he’s done for the world is make us crazy for zombies. But then think about all the other subcategories of dorkdom that opened up. Survivalist groups, End-Of-Day theorists… Zombie Runs. Do you think those things would have the legs to carry them that they have now if it weren’t for Kirkman?
Before reading Outcast I may have agreed with that last statement. I never read Invincible. I had nothing else to judge the man on besides TWD. I almost didn’t want to like Outcast. I told myself not to. Be judgmental, be tough. So what if the damn thing’s only had six issues out and it’s already been picked up by Cinemax for ten episodes.
But then I read it.
Kirkman isn’t just some show pony that lucked into a fad. Outcast is a story about Kyle Barnes, a man plagued by demons, possessing many around him. After running for so long and losing so much, Kyle decides to make a stand and find answers to questions he has lived with since childhood. Solid writing, great subject matter and the ability to hook readers is Robert Kirkman’s super power. This book was a non-stop read for me, a real page turner. Paired with Paul Azaceta’s artwork, the perfect style for this title, the team drags us along, page after page – whether we want to come along or not. Azaceta is a master at subtle changes in facial expressions adding creepiness to an already scary subject. Elizabeth Breitweiser is on colors and her use of shadows and color change to set tone in each scene enhance this book to a point of down-right horror. This is one of those books where you don’t have to see the monster to be afraid of it.
All in all Outcast Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him is a great read and the perfect way to catch up on a promising series. I highly recommend grabbing a copy and stay tuned for more news on the TV adaptation. If The Walking Dead is any clue to the quality of show Kirkman can produce then it is sure to be a fan favorite.
Until next time…