June 1, 2018

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HeroesCon Highlight: Kyle Starks

HeroesCon is one of our favorite shows, and we wanted to highlight some of the terrific comics creators that will be there.  You can find all of our HeroesCon coverage here.

If you're not familiar with the work of comics creator Kyle Starks, you're really missing out on hilarious, dramatic and affecting comics. I first became aware of Starks' a few years ago when he was running a Kickstarter for his comic Sexcastle (later published by Image Comics). Sexcastle (a sample page is below) is a fantastic homage to 80's action films like Cobra and Commando. Starks combines outrageous humor, occasionally absurdly graphic violence, and furious action into a terrific, high-energy read. Starks' style is deceptively simple and relatively minimalist in most scenes (not a lot of time spent designing detailed backgrounds). Starks' style may be deceptively simple and spare, but don't let that give you any misconceptions about Starks' skill as a storyteller. He focuses on the main action and what matters to the story, and as a result he engages in crisp, economical storytelling.  Starks is also a fantastic storyteller when it comes to action and fight sequences - while some of the action is hyperviolent in an exaggerated, comic way, Starks' storytelling is always clear and easy to follow.   

I think Starks has even gone up a level with his most recent work, Rock Candy Mountain, published by Image Comics. Rock Candy Mountain was unquestionably one of my favorite comics of 2017. It tells the story of a troubled traveler named Jackson riding the rails in post-WWII America. Jackson is a veteran who's seen and done terrible things and who's suffered immense personal loss. He joins up with an out-of-work actor, and they travel the rails, as Jackson is looking for the mythical Rock Candy Mountain, which was the subject of an old folk song. The book is full of Starks' terrific fight sequences, but it's also a well-researched dive into Hobo culture, and a moving, affecting story of the toll of war. Oh, and the Devil shows up. 
I absolutely recommend you look up Starks' work regardless of whether you make it to HeroesCon. It's full of action, energy, humor and ideas.