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King City TP by Brandon Graham
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King City TP (edition 2012)

by Brandon Graham

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892135,585 (4.41)9
Member:dutts
Title:King City TP
Authors:Brandon Graham
Info:Image Comics (2012), Paperback, 424 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Comix

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King City by Brandon Graham

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This is one helluva kickass graphic novel. It collects the twelve individual issues of King City released in 2011. Brandon Graham creates a fantastical sci-fi/fantasy realm where just about anything goes. Beautiful black and white illustrations with a touch of manga and a whole lotta quirky. Outrageously inventive. Thoughtfully constructed, frame by frame. Packed with more puns per page than a novel by Flann O’Brien.

King City stars an … uhm … Expert Thief/Escape Artist/Cat Master/Dude. I said Cat Master!!! What more could you possibly need to know?!?!? He was selected, you see, to … train with these Cat Masters and was …adopted by this cat who … when he injects the cat with … these drug things … well, the cat can do just about anything you can imagine. Cat Periscope, Cat Machine Gun, Cat Cleaver of Death, Cat-a-chute … I mean, seriously. Do you need any other reason to run out and buy this? I think not. It’s just about the coolest comic of all time. Admittedly, the main character is a bit overly obsessed with the female anatomy. Admittedly. He’s a bit juvenile. But HE’S A CAT MASTER!!!! And he did have his heart broken. And his best friend is a one-woman/water-breathing-alien kind of guy, so they sort of balance each other out.

It’s just … one last time … CAT MASTER!!!!











( )
  David_David_Katzman | Nov 26, 2013 |
I’m not a big comics reader – for me it was always something associated with superheroes, which I can’t abide – but it’s something I’d like to get into more. I heard about King City ages and ages ago, but only recently saw that it was published as a collected volume, and figured now was the time.

King City is quite obviously a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously; in fact, Graham mentions in the afterword that he started drawing it as an escape from unenjoyable paid jobs in the industry. It takes place in the titular King City, a bizarre and fascinating metropolis of indeterminate location where all manner of people, monsters and aliens make their home. The main character, Joe, is a “cat master” – a spy trained in the art of using a cat which he injects with syringes that can transform it into anything from a telescope to a defibrillator to a deadly weapon.

Yes, it’s that kind of story – but Graham achieves the necessary balance between not taking it too seriously, and not taking it seriously enough. There are poignant relationships and important moments here, and it never just rolls away down the slope as a gigantic oddball joke. The crux of that is the relationship between Joe and his ex-girlfriend, so that even while they’re battling unleashed demons or rescuing her new boyfriend from a secret medical facility, Joe’s reflecting on how he feels about her. It (loosely) reminded me of Dicebox, in that the characters are strolling through amazing landscapes without really being fazed by them – the inverse of most fantasy or science fiction. King City might technically be about a cat master and his allies fighting against a deadly threat to mankind, but it feels like a much more familiar story: being a twenty-something deadbeat hanging out with your friends and eating takeout food, watching TV, drinking beer, and simply enjoying life in the endlessly entertaining mess that the streets of any great big city are. It’s awesome.

And the city itself truly is the drawcard here. Apparently Graham was requested by his publisher to change the original title from Catmaster to King City, and I’m on the publisher’s side there. Like China Mieville or William Gibson, Graham is a writer who loves the concept of the city, of the compost layer of history, of thousands of people – thousands of stories – going about their lives every single day. (It’s a concept I’m equally fascinated by.) A city is more than the sum of its parts, and with his marvellous style of drawing – which crams in as many details, side-jokes, snatches of graffitti, strange characters, billboards, and overheard conversations as possible – Graham creates a living, breathing city that’s as much of a character as Joe the Cat Master is.

There’s so much of this town that I never think about. All this city going on all at once. You can spend forever in a place like this and still see hundreds of new faces every day. Face. Face. Face. All of everyone piled up on each other. I wonder how much is going on in all those windows.

Alan Moore mentioned on HARDtalk the other day that the most interesting stuff in any industry, but especially in comics, is usually going on at the margins. King City is a perfect example of one of those indie gems, a fun and creative story spun by a struggling writer who has deservedly found success. ( )
2 vote edgeworth | Apr 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160706510X, Paperback)

At last! The long-awaited collection of the complete King City series is here, chock-full of comic book games, puzzles, and wordplay! Joe is a catmaster, trained to use his cat as any tool or weapon. His best friend, Pete, falls in love with an alien he's forced to sell into green slavery, while his ex, Anna, watches her Xombie War veteran boyfriend turn into the drug he's addicted to. King City, an underbelly of a town run by spy gangs and dark dark magic with mystery down every alleyway.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:17 -0400)

Follows King City residents Joe, who can use his cat as any tool or weapon; Pete, who falls in love with an alien that he is forced to sell into slavery; and Anna, whose boyfriend is turning into the drug to which he's addicted.

(summary from another edition)

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