Coffin Kids #1

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Coffin Kids #1 Creator(s): Roslyn T. Amparo, Previn Wong
Publishers: Necroscope LLC.
From: USA
Price: US $2.95

To quote the creators, “Reaper has a gift and a curse. He absorbs light that burns his skin, but also allows him to disappear. With this ‘gift’ he makes a good living burglarizing houses. But when he finds a kid tied up in a coffin, he cannot help but get swept up in a murder mystery that he must solve or end up dead.”

Reaper the main character is an afro American teenager with a bit of an attitude and some rather strange logic behind his actions, for example when he finds a little white kid bound and gagged in a coffin he leaves him there because apparently, the cops are good at finding little white kids. There is more than a touch of bitterness about Reaper and this does mean that he comes across as a rather angry, even self centred individual.

Whilst this sounds like a criticism it is not intended as such merely a warning that many readers may not initially warm to him as a character.

He does have special skills and we see him using them as early as the second page. How he came about his ‘gift’ needs explaining because as we turn over the final page we are still no nearer an understanding of the origin of his abilities. Hopefully #2 will provide some clarification.

The comic is dominated by a grey wash which effectively captures a feeling of a twilight zone at dusk. It works well too in every area but one. The fact that the greys dominate every page means that there is a lack of contrast between frames and pages so that when the intensity and tension is lifted a notch the chance to visually show this through contrast is lost, as a result the narrative loses a little bit of it’s intensity.

The one place where visual contrast is effectively used is when Reaper is having a nightmare and that one page stands out as a real 'chiller' primarily because it visually contrasts the rest of the comic.

“Coffin Kids” has an impressive cover with the reader placed in the position of looking up from the bottom of a grave/coffin. It is a chilling introduction to a story that does deal with the horrific prospect of being buried alive [Mr. Poe has a lot to answer for].
This is a serious and chilling tale, this is a little strange when one considers that Amparo wanted to create a comic that paid homage to the cheesy teen horror movies of the 80’s like “The Goonies.” The tension is certainly present but as yet none of the contrasting lightness.

Overall the presentation is great although it may pay in future editions to avoid featuring cars; they are not exactly the artistic highpoint. Another visual issue is the sometimes strained presentation of perspective. I must say though that the primary reason for this is that the artist is determined to use a range of angles and perspectives to complement the narrative and so there is an element of adventure and risk taking in many of the panels. Most times it works sometimes it doesn’t, but what the heck nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As a first up instalment in a continuing storyline it sets the scene and whets the appetite with admirable skill. It is a fascinating premise and one that should develop into an engrossing tale, right now though it remains shrouded in mystery.

In a Word: Grave.

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