I bet everyone thought I was going to pick We Stand On Guard #2 for the finest book of the week just because they mention Winnipeg, Manitoba in the book. Well, you are all wrong. I am no sellout. Only the best book of the week is worthy enough to get my praise. No gimmicks or silly name drops are going to win me over, better luck getting my vote next time American born Brain K Vaughan. Instead I have picked Kaptara, a book with no gimmicks, only dynamic writing and beautiful art from a comic creative team that call the best country in the world home. They are the Canadian super talent of Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod. Kaptara is the best book that touched my fingers today and the only book that has my spit on it (more about this later…or maybe I’ll just leave it at that). Speaking of BKV, Kaptara has been called the “Gay Saga” by Zdarsky himself, and as we all know “gay” is the new “child sex slave saved by bounty hunter”. So you better watch out Brian, you may have won your last Eisner. Gay Saga is bending you over.
Chip Zdarsky is a very funny guy, just take a look at his twitter page. He even has the credentials to prove it, he ranked #2 on the Nothing But Comics list of Twitter users. It took me a few issues of Howard the Duck and Kaptara to really find Zdarsky’s groove as a comics writer. I was expecting joke, joke, joke, joke. But when Chip has more than 140 characters to write the jokes don’t just slap you in the face, they take you out for a nice dinner, have pleasant conversation then bring you back to a classy apartment where they caress you, hold you close, wait for that moment when all is right in the world and you drop your guard, then slap you in the face. While reading issue #4 of Kaptara I literally laughed out loud at one point and then found myself trapped in a vicious cyclical giggle fit. Every panel threw me back into the giggles, hence the cycle (more on that later…or perhaps I will just leave it at that as well).
The issue is all about Darton. If you are not on a first name basis with these characters yet, he is the ripped fellow with the flowing locks. He is the Prince of Endom and Regional Blowdart Champion of the Four Colonies, for eight years running now I believe. Darton gets off…on the wrong foot with a colony of bug creatures because he is unintentionally stealing some of their Bilfor flowers to make poison for his darts. The Hexamen bug people did not take this very well. However, a brawl was soon dissolved when a familiar face was found. Keith found Laurette, who was saved by the Hexamen and fighting along side them. Laurette brought the gang back to the bug lair and that is where the real fun began.
Darton, the macho warrior that he is, visited the local pub with intent on drinking and bragging about his favourite person in the world, himself. In walks the king of the bugs, with similar motivations and this turns into a “who’s is bigger” friendly competition (Chip was right, it is the gay Saga). After many pints of beer the men decide to partake in a blowing contest, dart blowing that is, and since it is the birthday of the King’s son, it is natural that they should try and shoot out a candle which is placed on his head. And cue the vicious giggle cycle.
Every panel and every line of dialogue after this point is so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing. I like to leave the spoilers out so I won’t tell you what comes next but I assure you the next 4 pages are shades of brilliance. Zdarsky is right in my pocket of humor and because of that this book is extremely enjoyable.
McLeod has no easy task on this book. His style is just cartoony enough to match this goofy story. There are moments where a dialogue bubble is delivered straight faced by a character but because of McLeod’s goofy looking characters, it comes across with the perfect amount of dead pan sarcasm that it is surely supposed to have. The world that McLeod is crafting has so many grand and magical images, it is beautiful. The world looks fun to draw and it is evident that McLeod enjoys the characters and scenery he brings to life. He will also sprinkle in an element of the world we all know and live in to construct a juxtaposed panel that will make you chuckle.
The Canadian dream team of Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod knock Kaptara #4 out of the park. That’s a sports metaphor, seemed appropriate. Really, what I’m trying to get at with this review is step up your game Brian.
I dated a McLeod once. She said she had to go to the bathroom and then walked out of the bar never to be seen again…can’t win ’em all I guess.
The jokes directed towards Brian K. Vaughan are just that, jokes. BKV is the best of the best.