If you’re not familiar with Denver’s beloved Kilgore Books & Comics, I’d like to welcome you to their loyal fanbase. Their brick-and-mortar store opened in 2008, and by 2009 they had started their own micropress. Kilgore comics tackle a range of topics from humor to history, literary to lewd. Parents will need to peruse options before setting kids loose. I recently put my hands on a sampler and devoured all four. Here’s what I think of the books and Kilgore itself.
Blammo Number Nine
Blammo is a delightfully odd and confusing mashup of comics. The side-cracking tales tackle odd childhood pranks, post-religion “recovery,” and the odd fable, sprinkled with a stark and revealing theme of autobiographical revelation and self-doubt. A must-read comic for folks wondering if their career was the right move for them, especially artists. You can even buy Noah Van Sciver’s original art on the web-store.
The Plunge is a wonderful rendition of the tale of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive a tumble over Niagra Falls. The comic artist and author Emi Gennis recounts the life of an independent woman bridging the 19th and 20th centuries. Emi grabbed my attention early on, with a focus on detail. The fact-checking game of this comic is stellar. It was a wonderful read, and I found myself entirely unable to put it down. Like most graphic stories, it went all too quickly but was a thrilling ride nevertheless. 100% Kid-friendly to boot!
With understated and abstract art, Simon Moreton tells a confusing story, full of imagery combined with a dearth of words. Readers’ imaginations must drive the tale, but it’s an adventure of VHS tapes, childhood, and young love. The real story of What Happened is up to the reader to discover.
Scorched Earth is a bizarre tale of misogyny and raging narcissism. It takes every cheap shot at the worst parts of dating, interpersonal relationships, and the odd power trips of the totally clueless and self-absorbed. Read this brilliant tale by Tom Van Deusen and hate the main character without guilt or shame. Root for his total failure, and feel the blissful righteousness that is inherent in judging a totally fictional jerk. Word to the wise: Scorched Earth features nudity, sex, and substance abuse. Parental guidance is a must.
It’s always a delight for me to see independent artists and authors being printed with a more indie press. Kilgore isn’t playing to the masses with its comics. Instead, it’s fishing out the curious, weird, and goofy consumer like us. If you’re looking for a lark, a lesson, or a laugh, check out Kilgore’s website, or stop by their shop, if you happen to be in Denver. Kilgore has a loyal fanbase for a reason. Discover it for yourself. I dare you.