by Kyle Platts
Sometimes I question whether I’m alt enough any more. I always thought I was when it came to comics. Howard Cruse, Roberta Gregory, Julie Douchet, Chester Brown… late 80s and early 90s – loved it all. But that was years and years ago.
So here, when I pick up and read Kyle Platt’s debut, one of these Serial Box things from Nobrow presenting an artist’s work in a pro-looking package, and it’s full of the same sort of piss and vinegar that is oh so familiar, almost an alt comics 101, I’m saddened to report all I get is a vague nonplussed feeling.
It’s vibrant certainly, eye popping colours all over, full of pop culture references given new meaning and extra body fluid; a space based X-Factor talent show, a cutesy car thing in Paul The Pickup Truck that turns the cute on its head straight away, Madonna does the old folk’s home, that sort of thing. The sort of thing that Viz does, but with better production, bit more cutting edge perhaps. Yes, as that cover should tell you, this is grotesque weirdness with a smile, from a young, vibrant, alternative artist.
And all I get is that vague, nonplussed feeling I mentioned. It makes me feel old.
And although part of me feels pissed off with myself for being old, there’s a part of me taking the view that Kyle Platts is a damn good illustrator, but not necessarily as good a comic artist.
So am I past it, or does wanting something to do more than simply look pretty yet alternative on the page equate to putting on the pipe and slippers? Or is it simply that what I’m looking at here might just be a talented illustrator with not enough to say, or maybe not the experience to say it well enough, not able to deliver the promise shown perhaps?
Personally I reckon it’s all of the latter. Because as nice as some of Platts’ stuff in here looks, and it is nice, some of it really nice, each strip, long or short, feels just a little empty. At its very best, just as with the cover there, or the example below, it has a style strangely reminiscent of the old IPC style, sort of a Numbskulls with nasty body fluids and swearing … that was funny, that was interesting, but over the course of the whole book there’s just not enough of that feeling to keep me going.
So, no, not for me. But not meant to be either I reckon. You young people, with your brilliantly production values and full colour printing. You don’t know you’re born, in my day……….