You Had Rob at "Kaiju": Single Minded on February 23rd, 2022

Some short reviews of this week's comics by ROB and SEAN

Kingjira: Hungry Like a Monster
By Marco Fontanili
Published by Scout Comics

A giant monster is chowing down on a city (as is their wont) but sometimes even Kaiju have a craving, as we see in this hilarious, brilliantly illustrated one-shot by Marco Fontanili.
I absolutely love wordless comics when they cut loose with visual gags including "dialogue" that's really just symbols. It's a trick as old as time--what do you think the cave paintings were, when you come down to it?--but I never tire of it. When you add a subject matter that I'll give a chance to no matter what (like giant monsters), I'm even more intrigued. 

This little gem from Scout is just so good on so many levels. Let's start with the beer-bellied Godzilla stand-in, who comes complete with a little speedo with "K" on it like a belt buckle or a wresting championship belt. He's never meant to be particularly terrifying, more like an over-the-hill monster looking for one more good time. But Lord, can he destroy a city. Fontanili shows his titular character wrecking the holy hell out of the city, with buildings coming down faster than Joe Biden's approval ratings. It's an extremely detailed, city, too. These aren't just prop buildings sketched quickly. There's a James Stokoe level in the backgrounds and detailing on Kingjira that other parody comics might have skipped out on. It not only adds to the quality of the comic, but also gives the reader something to linger on beyond the jokes.

The use of color and sound effects are also really awesome and make this stand out beyond other, similar comics I've read. (You'll be shocked to learn that many comics creators love playing in Toho's sandbox, either officially or unofficially). While the main background is tan, Fontanili spikes almost every page with a highlight color of some kind, periodically mixing them (as we see in the awesome nuke-breath death of the soldier, where Kingjira turns pink while his blue beam murders). The comedic noises are of course ever-present, but my favorite was the use of laughter as a background image, leading to one final climax in the story--and a just dessert for Kingjira. This comic was just a pure joy to read from start to finish, then immediately re-read twice for this review. Easily my pick of the week and I will just go ahead and tell y'all this is going to be on the final favorites list for 2022. (ROB)

This is not a drill. Run, do not walk. The pizza-eating Kaiju is coming! Scout has a one-shot dropping this week, and I cannot imagine a more suitable palate cleanser than a Kaiju in search for pizza as they level an entire city. Comics have done the Kaiju story before, and there’s only so many ways one can write a gigantic city-destroying fire-breathing monster (all of which are fine and good and I am also very much here for), but Kingjira: Hungry Like A Monster has one thing that other Kaiju comics do not: heart.

The eye-catching cover for this stand alone comic is exactly the type of cover you’d expect. The bright pinks and the pastel yellow and blues make this cover irresistible and I found it difficult to take my eyes off of. Character design for the adorable, but hangry Kaiju placed front and center as slices of pizza hover and tease just below. It’s these visuals that set reader up for the nearly 50 page story that I had a terrorized joy reading through.

If that brief description of the cover wasn’t enough to convince your cynical side, just wait until you feast your eyes upon the interior artwork. Marco Fontanili’s linework and his panel layout choices match irresistibly well to the pulpy yellowed paper the interior pages are printed on. The yellow-tinted pages give the vintage artistic style of Marco’s the exact momentum and hospitality that this story needs.

I am not familiar with Marco’s art but after reading this comic I’m sure as hell going to change that. His linework is something to behold. He mixes cute with vintage horror in ways that haven’t quite been done before. There are some splash pages in here that’ll make you pause and gaze into the tedious tenacity as you pick your jaw up off the floor. Moving on to the next page may sometimes be a challenge.

As a largely silent comic, sans the “roars” and “gnams” and “ka-booms” and “hehe’s”, Kingjira speaks volumes to how downright enjoyable a single comic can be given that it utilizes every facet of the medium. It goes without saying (well ..not really cuz I kind of just finished a whole review as to why) that Kingjira is a must-grab at the shop this week. That terrorizing Kaiju in search of some pizza to quiet his rumbling tummy is a story I can enjoy over and over again. This’ll give regular readers of Kaiju centric stories enough body horror to calm the hunger, and it’ll give regular readers of Scout comics something new to expect and hope for: one-off one-shots that feature downright good times. (SEAN)

Impossible Jones #3
By Karl Kesel, David Hahn & Tony Aviña
Published by Scout

The last we saw Jones she crashed in on her pal Fosca for some revenge that was due. The events of her so-called secret origin story still manage to control her immediate decisions and revenge on those who she claims responsible for her previous capture is at the top of her list of things to do.

The Saint of Knives made a splash last issue upon entry on the final page. Now, as he and Fosca battle Jones, the impossible is about to happen. Appropriately named as “Yeah, That’s Right— I’m A Superhero!” this issue steps out and muddies the water between friend and foe, black and white, hero and villain, good and evil ..and yes, Even ..Steven.

Collected and serialized previously through a series of successful Kickstarter campaigns, I am thrilled that this series is now seeing a wider audience with Scout as they each get republished and distributed to a wider audience. Kesel, Hahn and the rest of the creative team do this story of a villain turned ..good(?) when she stumbles upon superpowers of her own. The artwork is classy retro, and the dialogue and character designs plant tongue firmly in cheek making for a laugh-out-loud hilarious romp of a story.

I’ve read these issues over and over. The third in this first arc is a personal stand out from Impossible Jones. As new readers discover this joyride I’ve been pointing them to the crowdfunding campaign for its next volume. Currently in between campaigns, and awaiting second issue, your moment is now to catch up here with Scout’s reprints of the first volume as they get serialized, then head over to the crowdfunding campaign to catch up. See you all there! (SEAN)