Written by Dave Cook
Art by Craig Paton
Letters by Robin Jones
Flats by Ludwig Olimba
Edited by Sha Nazir and Jack Lothian
Publication Design by Kirsty Hunter
Cover Illustration by Craig Paton
In a world where there are more comics than time Cook spent a lot of effort on social media getting people hyped up about Killtopia in an effort to have a successful first few days on Kickstarter. This tactic was largely successful and Killtopia not only made funding it smashed through stretch goals like an angry Hulk. I was one of the people who bought into the hype and was super excited to get my hands on this book. I can say with confidence that the hype was worth the wait and more than worth the value of the Kickstarter rewards.
Killtopia is set in a cyberpunk future Japan and in Cook’s own words via the Kickstarter page.
The series has been created from a love of Japanese culture, dystopian fiction and the work of Japan’s finest video game developers – all qualified and culture-checked by family members and friends living in Japan.
Let me say that this is very important to me. I don’t like to see appropriation of culture, I like to see appreciation, and homage. I feel like the homage and appreciation hit the necessary notes and never feel disingenuous, there is never an instance of second guessing, and when Cook says “qualified” I believe him. The story takes place in future Japan and is centered around a kid named Shinji and the world’s first sentient robot named Crash. The plot is elegant and the world building is extensive, Killtopia is actually a small part of the futuristic city so the layers go deep. The plot is more than just Shinji and Crash and both characters represent a separate part of the world. Shinji is a wrecker, a bounty hunter of sorts that tracks robots and collects their tech. Wreckers are basically famous and the way they interact with government and gangs is all part of the bigger plot. There is so much going on at once but it never feels overwhelming, every aspect of the story holds its own weight, and all the separate characters represent a solid part of the story. Very impressed with Killtopia, all around excellent writing.
The kind of art that Paton has reminds me a lot of the british stuff like the styles found in 2000AD, but more than that, and more recently released his style reminds me of what Ramon Villalobos has done with Bordertown from Vertigo. Their styles are very similar, it was strange too because I had just read both comics back to back. Killtopia has a very distinctive need for the character design to match the character feel and the character development and Paton brings his A game when it comes to the punk style characters. All of the character design is so dynamic the characters could carry the comic themselves, in fact I believe their so good most of them have their own print. Not just characters either, the background and world is also part of what makes Killtopia so special. The cyberpunk world is brought to life so beautifully it’s almost like some of the pages could be made into print as well. The color flatting happens to be something that really pulls the art together and gives me that full on cyberpunk feel. It’s mostly a muted pastel color palette but Olimba’s style fits perfect with Paton’s and really helps to make the world feel exactly what I think a cyberpunk world would look like. Funny that I compared it to a Vertigo title because I feel like Killtopia could easily be a title seen at Vertigo or Image.