SHAKY KANE: "THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN" / BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / ETC
Well, of course, you've ALL been reading Shaky's new comic The Bulletproof Coffin...
Of course you have...haven't you?
Best comic / floppy (or whatever we're calling them nowadays) of the year - or I'll tear up my collection of Jimmy Olsen 80-page Giants!
It's what every comic should be: FUN...engrossing, synapse-ticklin' good fun; fulla lurid candy-floss n freakshow colours, recognisable-yet-trickmirror-distorted archetypes and brain-bending retrofuturistic concepts that fold back in on themselves; if it's PoMo, then it's PoMo-by-default because Shaky's own peculiar obsessions (and the way he bends them to fit his own imagination) will always remain Shaky's obsessions and m.o., so any referentiality comes purely from the fact that he's constantly referring back to his own interests / reference-points / body-of-work, enhancing, updating, re-mutating it / them...the Shakyverse is a constantly-expanding, yet oddly hermetically-sealed Personal Event Horizon - a weird bending of light and logic that hints at fresh cosmic vistas while somehow - via some loophole in the laws of comic-book physics - looking at the back of its own head.
He's never - ever - stopped being Shaky Kane - has always remained true to his game - and that's what counts.
I could talk about meta-narratives that arc back across nearly 30 years of work, of themes and cross-associations and linkage; of how certain tropes or characters or situations re-emerge at points, bisect themselves, turn into something new; of how X and Y relate back to so-and-so or the fact that Scene Z in Bulletproof Coffin is, errrm, a reference to blahblahblah; that I've got paintings - paintings, goddammit - in my wardrobe of proto-incarnations of Red Wraith and Coffin Fly that date back 15 years; or tell you stories of him sending me sketches and finals of The Hateful Dead Bubblegum Card Series sooo long ago I can't bear to think about it...but I won't.
It makes it sound like the guy is just endlessly reworking old ideas from his sockdrawer or approaches his Art with some degree of contrivance, which I can assure you is certainly NOT the case. Shaky is just Shaky; he does what he has to do - usually with absolutely no thought whatsoever of who / what his audience might be...and that's why it's so fucking gratifying to see him (finally) get some serious kudos and exposure via this series. I know him well enough to be able to say he would still do the things he does - furiously drawing away in the small hours - even if they were to be never seen or read by another person. It would be heartbreaking if that were the case, but it's true nevertheless. I mean, those bubblegum cards...who in their right mind would've done that in a pre-Internet universe?
Well, he would.
That's why, if you've not bought this series, then you should.
Here's another five reasons:
Sorry, but I can't help pointing out that I (kinda) make an appearance in #4:
I've always wanted to appear in an Image Comic. Fourth Wall n all that. It's a reference to...ah, knickers - who cares. It's just v. cool. Screw Grant's "Fiction Suit" - I didn't even need to get out of bed and put me socks on for this. Thanks, Shaky.
Now I just want Rob Leifield to put me in the next reboot of Youngblood.
If there are any similarities between the Shakster and Kirby, then it's the fact that he (also) spits out more concepts-per-minute than just about anyone I know. So, so much for the self-referentiality / meta-narrative jag; just as well I didn't mention it, huh? I've been lucky enuff to hook up with him a couple times in recent weeks and, well, he spins more ideas in a casual conversation than most people do in a month, a year. That's why he's Shaky and we're not.
He's also one of the funniest / warmest / loveliest guys you could ever meet. He makes me laugh. A lot.
(Yes, yes, I know I promised Part Two of the Official Kid Shirt Shaky Kane Interview ages ago...I recorded an hour-long tape over the phone, but 80% of it was just the two of us messing-about, laughing, chucking silly shit around, in-joking, and the rest was, uh, salacious unprintable tales of bad behaviour by Comic-Book Pros that would put Bleeding Cool out of business. Sorry.)
A few weeks ago, Shaky introduced me to Dave Hine - the poor fellow who has to make sense of The Shakyverse - the Stan to S's Jack - and he's an extremely nice bloke too. Amazingly, our paths have never crossed before. Taunton boy, I think. He's writing some character called Batman that you might have heard of.
Hine and Kane: the best four-colour team-up available right now.