KIM & KIM Vol. 1
By Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre
Kim & Kim is a refreshingly modern and ultra progressive science-fiction story about courageous badasses that happen to be part of the LGBTQ community. Kim & Kim, or “The Kims” as they’re called, are dimension crossing, planet-skipping, best friend bounty hunters seeking the mysterious Lady Babylon in their super hip, flying van.
That description makes this book almost impossible to label, which is ironic because labels are basically meaningless here. In a world where anything can happen — and we’ll get into that more soon enough — the fact that the main characters are queer is hardly the sole focus beyond creating fully realized protagonists with well thought out backstories to add to the books overall style of branding. The Kims interact with a terrific cast of characters, some human, some not, and face all the dangers that come along with their chosen career path, such as battling robot gorillas — which they do more than once! Give this book a chance and you’ll love the characters for who they are, more than for what they are, not to mention the fact that the story sweeps you up instantly and holds your attention for the entire first volume.
Collected here are the first four full-length issues of the series, with a great collection of covers in the back from various artists. This book is full of stuff you just can’t do outside of comics and so, rest assured Kim & Kim fully utilizes the medium and wastes no time delivering action and color and dynamism from the very first page. It’s a comic fan’s dream come true when you get a book that appears harmless at a glance, but turns out to be as raunchy as it is beautiful and as violent as it may be cute. This is great young adult material and erases any potential confusion with heroes who are confident and positive about themselves and their lifestyle, even if they are in danger of missing their next rent payment.
Kim & Kim’s writing, by Magdalene Visaggio, is clever, witty, and hilariously funny without sacrificing serious subject matter. The yin and yang effect of humor and seriousness is done with genuine sincerity. No gimmicks here, just pure comedic timing that allows quiet, reflective moments to exist just before or after moments that’ll have you chuckling out loud. Scene changes, though abrupt at times, are magnificent and fluid. At times you may find yourself so wrapped up in the mayhem of the story that you might begin to wonder if you’re missing vital plot points. Then, suddenly, you’re presented with a list of “What conclusions to draw from being attacked by robot gorillas,” and everything starts to make sense in a comforting, if no less chaotic, manner. The timing is precise, deliberate and a sign of wonderfully professional writing. For equal levels of excitement and originality, Visaggio deserves applause, loud and obnoxious applause.
The artwork consists of that popular wide-eyed manga style. Artist Eva Cabrera creates a whimsical sense of movement in the action and gives her characters real personality. Her sense of style gives the entire book more credibility and appeal. The expressions are full of emotion and never let the reader down in telling the story. Each has their own look too in the same way real people consider their outfit and hairstyle before going out. The best part here is everyone, for the most part, seems to have a fierce and edgy fashion sense that not only adds to who they are, but gives the entire comic a rock and roll quality that makes it trendy and cool. Panel arrangements, like the script itself, are meant to deliver impact when it counts. Every scene has some sort of high quality fun to it, while others contain moments that surprise or reveal and it’s done just right every single time. Facial expressions, costume design and body movements are one thing, but to create entire panels that yank at your emotions over and over is nothing short of professional.
Combined with outstanding colors, provided by Claudia Aguirre, Kim & Kim’s illustrations scream to life with striking vibrancy. There’s a flare to this book that comes through mostly in the coloring. Not only has Aguirre created a new layer of dimension and texture, but she’s also created a consistent palette that changes the reader’s perspective. Although real world issues arise, this is not the real world and the chosen colors are a reminder throughout that we’re in a setting that is better, fantastic and far more surreal than our everyday humdrum existence.
We all have times when we want the world to know who we really are. Each of us has moments in our lives when we just want to shout out and let our inner beings shine as bright as possible. That self-expression is why some of us create and why some of us choose how to present ourselves for any given occasion or setting. Sometimes our presence is meant to blend in, and sometimes we stand out, but either way diversity is something to be cherished whether we are round pegs in square holes or not. All of that and more comes through within the pages of Kim & Kim Vol. 1 and, frankly, there may not be a better example on the shelf than this.