TRVE KVLT, ISSUE #1
Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson
Artist: Liana Kangas
WHAT IS IT?
After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Trve Kvlt #1 arrives with a fun and funny story of a fast food worker turning to crime to bring meaning to his life. There's a bit of satanic panic thrown in for good measure.
Think Clerks II meets Raising Arizona.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Marty is in a rut. He’s been working at Burger Lord and living in the same apartment for 15 years. He doesn’t think his life will ever change. But, when he finds a handgun, Marty is inspired to change his life by robbing a nearby strip mall on his lunch break and make it back to Burger Lord in time to interview a potential new employee.
During Marty’s interview with potential new hire, Alison, the police arrive at Burger Lord. The police aren't Marty's only problem however as two members from the Church of the Immortal Heartbeat show up to get back something that belongs to…SATAN?
Wilson writes excellent dialogue, but especially in the scenes of Alison’s interview. Not only does it reveal a lot about her, but seeing Marty recognize himself in her and then his reactions to the police arriving is a great juxtaposition.
Kangas' artwork really captures the setting of Burger Lord. Her characters are also very expressive, but she captures subtle changes in facial expressions very well in close-up. There’s a 9-panel grid of Marty after the crime that works very well to show his range of emotions.
The color palette. Contreras uses a lot of purple, orange, and yellow for the interior of Burger Lord. It feels realistic but also fits with the lighter mood of the comic. The muted tones for the flashbacks work well to set those panels apart.
Some of the panels can be pretty wordy and Hopkins does a good job navigating that so there’s an easy flow and pace to the comic. The smaller font size used when a character is speaking in a lower or hushed tone is effective.
Marty’s inner monologue captions work well to give real insight into his character. Despite what he might claim about his value as a Burger Lord employee or his prowess in planning a robbery, Marty just wants more out of life and he doesn’t know how else to achieve it.
The humor works well here, especially the reactions of the various strip mall employees to the robbery. It works to lighten the tone of the comic but also inform the audience about Marty’s character seeing how he interacts with those he robs.
The main characters of Marty, Bernice, and Alison are normal people, but they aren’t boring. Their seemingly mundane lives are almost guaranteed to be filled with stories of funny, outlandish, and gross past customers and coworkers of Burger Lord.
The variant cover by Sweeney Boo as well as all of the pinups in the back of the digital issue (I counted 12) are great.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
The Kickstarter campaign promoted this comic as “satanic panic (and fast food) (and crime)." The series is set to be four issues so there may be plenty of satanic panic to come, but this issue is almost all fast food and crime.
Between the narration and the dialogue, there are just a lot of words on the page and perhaps Wilson could have done more with less. A few of the narration captions don’t add much to what is already being shown.
One of the flashbacks shows Johnnie and Lonnie, the twin owners of the Burger Lord franchise. Perhaps this is setting up future issues, but it seemed superfluous and distracting from the main story.
Marty’s appearance wasn’t always consistent, and although Kangas's artwork is excellent overall, there are some details that get lost in the background.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
I can’t think of another comic quite like this. This first issue is funnier and lighter than I anticipated, but also grounded in the realism of a main character with a regular job who thought his life would be more than what it is. Although the comic opens with a crime spree, it isn’t gritty, which I feel is a direction other creators would be inclined to take it.
Trve Kvlt is a comic for anyone that has ever stayed too long at a job they thought would be temporary and dreamed of having more out of life. I’m sure anyone that has ever worked at a fast-food chain restaurant will recognize themselves or their coworkers, but this applies to any job. The end of this issue has also set up an interesting problem for Marty as he's confronted with the unintended consequences of his crimes. I am definitely looking forward to the next issue to see how this plays out.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Divinity III: Shadowman and the Battle for New Stalingrad by Scott Bryan Wilson and Robert Gill
Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Case of the Missing Adults by Scott Bryan Wilson and Bob Solanovic
The Fix by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
If you like the art:
She Said Destroy by Joe Corallo and Liana Kangas
Black [AF]: Devil’s Dye by Vita Ayala and Liana Kangas
Eat, and Love Yourself: by Sweeney Boo
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Scott Bryan Wilson – Co-Creator and Writer
Prolific: Wilson has previously written for Batman Annual, Batman: Gotham Nights, DC Holiday Special, Star Trek: Waypoint and others.
Multi-talented: In addition to comics, Wilson has written short stories and novels.
Dream Team: Wilson and Kangas previously worked together before on a story for The Good Fight Anthology.
Liana Kangas – Co-Creator and Artist
Multi-talented: In addition to her artistic work in both traditional and digital formats, she recently cowrote Seeds of Eden with Joe Corallo at TKO Studios with artist Paul Azaceta.
Prolific: She has drawn covers for series published by Comixology, Mad Cave Studios, Image, and Vault. Per her website, “She’s also illustrated and been published in Z2’s Ludwig van Beethoven - The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology with Brandon Montclare and Frank Marraffino, AJ Mendez & Aimee Garcia’s Scrappy Heart Production first published work, East Side Saints, 2000 AD's 2018 Sci-Fi Special and 2145 Prog Future Shock, Black Mask Studio’s Black AF series Devil’s Dye.”
Award Winner: Kangas’ work has been included in the Ringo Award winning Planned Parenthood graphic novel Mine! and the Eisner nominated, Ringo award winning Image Comics’ Where We Live.
Gab Contreras – Colors
Outlander: She is a graphic designer, comic book colorist and illustrator from Lima, Peru.
Prolific: She has worked on various anthologies including All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World and Dead Beats ( both from A Wave Blue World) along with Strange Tails written by Erica Schultz and artwork by Claire Connelly.
On the Rise: Contreras is the colorist for Vault Comics Witchblood by Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle out March 17, 2021.
DC Hopkins – Letters
Prolific: In addition to being a staff member of Deron Bennett’s AndWorld Design Studio, Hopkins has worked as a letterer/designer for BOOM!, Dark Horse, DC, Disney, Dynamite, Heavy Metal, Humanoids, IDW, Image, Oni, Scout, and more.
Multi-talented: On his website, Hopkins self-publishes short comics that he has written/lettered, but illustrated by others.
Dream Team: He has previously worked with Wilson on the comic Appointed Annihilation.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
Trve Kvlt #1 was co-created by Scott Bryan Wilson and Liana Kangas. All characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of the above or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.