What Did I Learn?
This review is on King! by Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford. It’s about The King taking care of business, as you would hope and expect. And it’s better than that. The King’s story is that he is an undefeated, former pro wrestler who kills monsters for cash.
He is contacted by a… messenger… who I am sure is symbolic but I am not quite smart enough to make the connection. I know a few Elvis fans, so I’ll ask them if any of his songs or history refers to such a …concept.
This messenger tells him he has one hour before the zombie invasion begins as a hole is opened in the fabric of the universe. It will be at a burger joint close by, which gives the King a chance to get a peanut butter banana burrito (with bacon and extra cheese, naturally) before he has to earn his pay. And let me tell you, they picked the wrong place to begin their invasion.
And it continues to get better. Hall adds touches like including the Vienna Lance that serve to deepen the story in ways you can’t anticipate. Is this a one-off inclusion or will it be an important piece later on? We’ll have to see.
This interview with Hall and Bradford actually gives some other information about The King I didn’t find elsewhere. This interview hints at why King retired from wrestling, which suggests to me that a prequel is needed.
The pacing is on time and always makes the most of the choice of moment. I find it pretty impressive, actually. Some of the moments chosen communicate a whole scene’s worth of events. Others capture an interesting moment, with a few smaller panels acting like asides.
I don’t have a link handy, but I once read this great piece of advice about being creative. Turn things on their head, it said. Need a scene with environmental dangers, a big escape and a climactic moments? Pick something truly unusual. Have a yachting party in the (already established) dessert so all participants are together to observe and participate in the proceedings. Now think about the elements in King! and consider how likely it is that you or I would bring those elements together. Elvis, wrestling, the Vienna Lance and never mind peanut butter banana burritos. (I hopefully assume that such a thing does not exist as a delicacy in the real world.)
What Did I Learn?
This is an example of what happens when you have a fun idea and you run with it. This is an even better example of knowing that if you like a comic concept, then there will probably be an audience if you can give it some polish. Get yourself some King!