Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It Came From Kickstarter: Die Kitty Die #1

Die Kitty Die #1
Story and Art: Fernando Ruiz & Dan Parent
Inks: Rick Koslowski & J. Bone
Colors: Gelnn Whitmore
Letters: Janice Chiang
Additional Art: Gisele Jagace, J. Bone, and Shouri

I contribute to a lot of Kickstarters, mostly comics and games (both RPG and board), and I do my best to use The Matt Signal Facebook Page (like it if you haven't, please) to spread the word on the projects before they're complete. But I have been very lax about actually writing about the finished products, and I'm looking to remedy that with a recurring column featuring the projects I've crowdfunded. On Sunday, I received the digital first issue of a new series, Die Kitty Die, from creators Fernando Ruiz and Dan Parent, and so today I'll be sharing a review of that issue!

If you're not familiar with either Fernando Ruiz or Dan Parent, these are two very talented guys. They were both regular contributors as both writers and artists to the classic Archie line for quite a while before the recent reboot. Fernando's name might be familiar to a wider audience at this point, as he was the artist on the wonderfully bizarre Archie Vs. Predator (and hey, wouldn't it be awesome to see him do Archie Vs. Alien. C'mon, Dark Horse and Archie, make it happen). These are two masters of the Archie house style, which you can see reflected in Die Kitty Die. But trust me, this might look similar in style to classic Archie, but it's its own thing and a little less all ages.

Without giving too much away, the basic plot of Die Kitty Die is that Kitty is a Sabrina the Teenage Witch type character, only one who exists both in the comics and the real world; she survives on the royalties of the comics based on her life. With sales on her comics not what they used to be, her publisher decides to reboot the Kitty comics, but they need a hook and a publicity stunt, so they decide the death of Kitty is the way to go. Only not the death of the comic character, oh no. What better publicity than the death of the actual, real life star?

The first issue of Die Kitty Die is actually three or four comics in one. The issue opens with a classic Kitty story from the comics. It's a funny little story, sort of a PG-13 version of a classic teen romance comic like Archie or Patsy Walker. The dialogue is bawdier than would have been allowed in the '60s, especially in regards to Kitty's... ahem... endowments, but it's a very funny little short.

From there we enter the main story, where we meet the real world Kitty (not quite as buxom as her comic counterpart) at a comic shop, her friends, and the status quo, that Kitty is worried about what the comic company is going to do with her in the comics; they've married her off and had her fight zombies, and there's a hint of meta-commentary on the comic book industry in this scene. It's a charming little bit, where you get to see Kitty show off her powers, see someone else use magic, and get to know the world of Kitty.

The second chapter takes the meta-commentary of the first chapter and puts it front and center. Here we meet the publisher of "Kitty Comics," as well as the editor and chief, and one of the creative staff. Each of them is a stereotype of a faction of the industry. The publisher is in it just for the money, and doesn't care about the art. The editor-in-chief is the biggest dude-bro you could imagine, and is excited for the reboot because he can bring in a Hollywood writer and that will mean attention and plenty of "likes of Space Book." And the executive wants to bring in a trendy indy artist whose work is sketchy and slow, but it's got indy cred. It's not the subtlest of commentary, but it's pretty darn funny. And with the decision that killing Kitty is the best way to build buzz since their new PR friendly creative team will need a couple years of lead time to get the book set, the plot is in motion.

The final chapter of the issue is right out of a classic '70s or '80s horror movie. Kitty gets home, and undresses down to her skivvies, only to be interrupted by Dippy the Dead Kid, a Caspar analogue we met in the comic shop earlier who was bemoaning the cancellation of his comic. Only Dippy isn't the friendly ghost, and we quickly see that he is a little creep who isn't friendly to Kitty at all. It's a great set-up for some real horror next issue.

Along with the main story, the issue has a bunch of bonus material, including"Kitty's Katwalk" a fashion spread like in old issues of books like Millie the Model with art by J. Bone, pin-ups from Gisele Jagace and Mike Rooth, and some parody ads. It's a great package, and has more pages than your average for a $4 comic.

I also have to applaud Ruiz and Parent for getting their Kickstarter out on time. For those of you who don't usually do the Kickstarter thing, when you get a projected release date of February, you expect April if you're lucky (I still have a project that expected a hardcopy of the book in December 2014 that still hasn't paid off). And lo and behold, issue #1 of Die Kitty Die had a projected date of February and arrived in February.

There are a lot of comics published through Kickstarters these days, from creators of varied level of experience and skill. Fernando Ruiz and Dan Parent are great creators, and their book lives up to the pedigree of its creators. If you're looking for a comic that's fun, a little bawdy, with some very nice art, and a fun story, you should definitely check out Die Kitty Die.

The first issue of Die Kitty Die is available for digital purchase at Gumroad right now. If you're a person who prefers their comics in physical format, a trade of the four issues will be released this summer under a cover by Matt Signal favorite Darwyn Cooke, so keep your eyes open for that.

1 comment:

john said...

The fact that the project came out on time is no surprise here. Both gentleman are the very definition of professional. The book is funny, a bit naughty but never nasty and something comics aren't any more -- fun!