DIGITAL REVIEW: Gabriel Hardman’s Kinski 1 & 2

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I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I purchased this digital comic, but I’m a sucker for dogs and Monkey Brain comics haven’t let me down yet. Gabriel Hardman’s Kinski is simple, yet elegant, with a twist of mystery and so much potential. The story is centered around Joe who works for a traveling government-type job that he’s obviously burnt out on. While outside of his hotel he becomes attached to a lost sweet, black labrador and renames him Kinski. The instant connection is quickly severed when Kinski is detained by the animal shelter. The dog consumes his attention becomes an excuse to ignore crappy day job. The broken hearted fool tries to adopt Kinski but the original owners beat him to it. Joe makes it his mission in life to rescue this dog and here’s where the trouble and story lifts off.

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The story is told  in a six-panel grid. This format makes swiping my phone to the next panel so enjoyable. There’s an intense scene with Joe scrambling around for the owner’s information at the shelter, and he splits seconds before the clerk and officer come back. Hardman is known for his attention to detail on various Planet of the Apes and Star Wars titles, but this simplistic-pulp style fits this series perfectly. I really like the use the zip-a-tone and how the crisp the black and white art work looks on my phone. Hardman is one of the most underrated artist and story tellers in the business, and Kinski just strengthens my argument. Hardman touches on the Klaus Kinski reference, it’s subtle film buff trivia that people like Word Balloon’s John Siuntres will get a kick out of. It’s funny how dog names are such a conversational starter.

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Joe thinks he’s doing the right thing but his “dog crusade” becomes a headache and implode at every turn. I kept catching myself yelling at my iPhone and getting annoyed by his actions, but I feel like I’d do the same thing given his situation. The supporting cast are his co-workers and his antics effect them on multiple levels. I can only imagine what happens next and how this will effect everyone’s lives as the story continues to unfold. I must suffer with anticipation until the next issue hits my germ infested smart device.

The comics are only $.99 each and I’d gladly pay more. You can buy the first and second issues here. Read the first five pages of #2 before you buy:

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Henry Barajas is the co-creator, writer and letterer for El Loco and Captain Unikorn. He has also written and lettered short stories for two successful Kickstarter SpazDog Press projects: Unite and Take Over: Stories inspired by The Smiths and Break The Walls: Comic Stories inspired by The Pixies.  He is the Newsroom Research Assistant for The Arizona Daily Star and was nominated for the Shel Dorf Blogger of the Year award for his work at The Beat.  You can follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas.

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