July 21, 2012

,   |  

The Kind

Written by Ryan Estrada
Drawn Art by Ryan Estrada
Photographs by Jim Smith and Kevin Key (with a few others)
Whole Story

Duncan is just your average guy who is in love with a werewolf.  Julia is perfectly normal, pretty, shy, and a lover of dogs, but once a month, life gets complicated.  In this story, love conquers all--as long as there's a nearby emergency room.

Ryan Estrada originally planned this as an animated work, and while I tend to dislike when comic books are created out of other projects [Mr. Estrada has clarified that this was a comic first, then planned as a possible animated feature.-Rob]  This one works extremely well, due to Ryan Estrada's great sense of comedic dialogue and a plot that keeps moving so fast you don't stop to think about the many, many problems with the premise.  The Kind is an absurd farce, with its comedic roots in the most preposterous sketch comedy, and like the best of those ideas, stays just long enough to pull the joke off without allowing things to bog down in the details.

From the opening scenes, Estrada gives us an engaging everyman character who has a romantic side just waiting to come out.  Paired with an outrageous friend who drinks like a fish and speaks in stream of consciousness along with his long-suffering straight man boss, Duncan is the kind of guy you want to see do well.

And if this were a Julia Roberts-style movie (Is that reference too old now?  I have no idea who the new Julia Roberts is.  Hell, I had to be told what a Snookie was a few years back.), Duncan would be swept off his feet while his friends cheered him on and they all lived happily ever after  But this is romantic comedy via Scream (Hey look!  Another outdated movie reference!), and despite warnings that things will turn out badly, Duncan pursues Julia, even as she cautions him this is a bad idea.  The results are bloody, funny, and because this is a farce, ultimately do not have the consequences that you'd expect, other than a great closing one-liner from a doctor who keeps seeing the same patients every month.


All throughout The Kind, Estrada keeps the pace moving, never straying too long on one joke, whether it's Duncan's obvious ploy to get closer to Julia by a dog he doesn't even pet, his buddy's decision to wear a Wolfman shirt upon meeting Julia, or even making fun of clothing in a secondhand store.  He uses backgrounds to aid the jokes, such as when discussions of what movie to watch have deeper meaning, showing great range in terms of of artistic expression and use of language.  There are several running gags spaced just the right distance apart, and while the overall dialogue is not strictly natural, it works for these characters and the roles they are playing.


I admit that I was thrown at first by the entire comic being drawn over photographic backgrounds.  I'm not sure about why that decision was made, but I did appreciate the fact that there was no attempt to cover them over in Photoshop to make them appear "drawn."  After about ten pages, my eyes adjusted and I got used to the idea of having these characters who resemble John Kovalic's Dork Tower/Munchkin Game walking about in a Michigan city.  They don't interact very much with the world around them--Estrada draws whatever they need to touch or wear, for example--so it's a bit like having them travel through a set of storyboards.  Some readers may find this a bit off-putting, but I'd urge trying the comic anyway and look at the innovative way Estrada tries to use the real-life backgrounds with his cartoon characters.


The Kind is a fun comic that doesn't take itself seriously and doesn't want the reader to do so, either.  If you are a fan of comedic horror, definitely get this book before you lose your chance on July 23rd.  After all, the most you are out is less than one dollar, as it is part of the six book, pay what you want deal from The Whole Story.  If you want funny horror that makes at least one joke at the expense of furries, this one's for you!