Pooling Their Resources
Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Hayes takes a look at Image’s Kane & Able by Krent Able and Shaky Kane, out from the beginning of June…
Kane & Able
Writer/Artist: Shaky Kane and Krent Able
Image Comics has a long-standing relationship with Shaky Kane going back more than a decade, and the potential for a comic from him with this title may have been on the company’s marketing department wish-list for about as long. Opportunity knocks via Krent Able, whose visceral black comedy in places like The Guardian and Vice involves buckets of viscera and an art style able to mix Robert Crumb and Mad’s Jack Davis when he wants to. Image puts the artists and the well-matched professional pseudonyms together, two stories each from two British creators in a comic that’s not really an anthology but is definitely the most Shaky Kane & Krent Able object you could find right now.
This comic’s official genre is horror, although the word means different things to each artist. Able attacks pulp horror comics of the past, twice. Creepzone stuffs actual public-domain 1940s characters Nightmare and Sleepy through the patented superhero revisionism machine: equipped with PTSD and a knack for ultraviolence, the unhappy duo encounter a nest of vampires in an Asda car park. The other story is Black Fur, something like an underground comix homage to EC horror – or maybe an EC remix of an underground strip, either works – with a city’s human population coagulated into one vast fatty colossus by a villain in fetish gear, before a superhero black bear flies in on a jetpack and attacks the problem with chainsaws. A letters page helpfully spells out one political subtext from the several available; and the ending pokes at the comics business itself, a topic that has been on Kane’s mind in his and David Hine’s series The Bulletproof Coffin ever since 2010.
And is again here, since Kane’s two solo strips are new Bulletproof Coffin-verse stories, looping back around the characters of that series and even revisiting the inciting incident from issue one. Plenty of Kane’s other favourite visuals and themes pass through: George Adamski and his UFO theology via TV’s The Invaders, characters in huge conical helmets from all the way back in Kane’s Deadline days, and the mistreatment of comics creators by their publishers. Not for the first time a version of Kane himself turns up, sat in an Artists Alley simmering at the indignities endured by Jack Kirby and others. The horrors in Bulletproof Coffin‘s disintegrating narratives are always more psychological than gory, the dry crack-ups of modern life and the sexual violence that grows in the cracks – not by accident does Bulletproof Coffin hinge on gothic New England houses from the Norman Bates/Edward Hopper school with masked prowlers skulking around inside. Kane’s current art style with its scratchy lines and flat colour blocks mixes Kirby with Curt Swan, but manages to use those two great artists of the exterior gesture to peer into the interior life, drawings of lived-in characters looking for something to live for. Which is far enough from Able’s juicy chainsaw dismemberments that the comic is more of an impromptu jam session than an anthology; but Image should definitely give this supergroup another gig.
Pooling Their Resources Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Hayes takes a look at Image’s Kane & Able by Krent Able and Shaky Kane, out from the beginning of June… Kane & Able Writer/Artist: Shaky Kane and Krent Able Image Comics Image Comics has a long-standing relationship with Shaky Kane going back more than a decade, and
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