Written by: Sarah Graley
Art by: Sarah Graley
PublisheR: Oni Press
Kim Reaper follows a college student with a part time job as a grim reaper. Seriously. If that’s not a concept that at least sounds intriguing to you, I’m confused. It’s the reason I was kind of excited going into the book, despite not having heard of it (or the creator, Sarah Graley), before this week.
Unfortunately, I didn’t much care for it. The set up is solid enough. Becka, the reader insert, is interesting, and having her stumble into Kim’s world mostly works. It’s cute and super light hearted. I imagine those two descriptors will be enough to garner it an audience.
For the first half, I was content with mapping out my review as “well, this isn’t for me, but it’s a perfectly competent comic.” But the back half feels random and weird for the sake of being random and weird. It’s the type of humor that doesn’t feel particularly well thought out and aims to get cheap laughs just because of how ironic it is.
That’s not inherently damning, but in Kim Reaper, it’s handled carelessly. I found myself wanting to go back to the dialogue between Kim and Becka. Even if I didn’t feel super invested in the characters, at least that wasn’t making me cringe with every new panel.
Will this work for some people? I mean, most likely, yeah. It’s humor, and was never going to work for everyone. Personally though, I’m bummed because I was just starting to maybe come around to the characters–potentially enough to make me want to come back for another round of this comic. The humor turned me off.
Visually, the book is quite good. Graley’s style is definitely reminiscent of Boom Box books. It’s not exactly revolutionary at this point, but it’s a style I really like. It’s adorable, and it reflects the tone perfectly. Kim Reaper is not necessarily a book that wants you to take it seriously, and the visual style matches that.
Y’know, I think actually writing out my thoughts on this book has resulted in me maybe being higher on it than I thought I was. I came out of it thinking I wasn’t a fan, but there’s more page space spent on the things that I like than the things I don’t. Had the book led on the stuff I liked, maybe this review would have been generally more positive.
Overall, I think Kim Reaper is a well-done comic that’s written for a specific audience. I don’t think that audience is me, but the two leads might be charismatic enough for me to give the book another chance. We’ll see where I’m at a month from now. In the interim, if anything about this does sound like it’s maybe your thing, give it a shot.