Monday, September 20, 2004

Kyle Baker GN Reviews

For some reason, I got into a Kyle Baker kick this weekend:

Undercover Genie
by Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker is one of the funniest, most original creators working in comics today. So why doesn't his work seem to get the respect of consumers? Why the heck isn't Plastic Man selling at least three times what it does? Reading Undercover Genie won't do anything to clear up the mystery. You see, this collection of short strips, illustrations and character studies is full of wit and fine drawings. It makes for an excellent sample of the wide range of style and subject matter of which Baker is capable. In the introduction, Baker explains that while the comics world has been ignoring him, he has been making a fine living in commercial illustration. Our loss, alas.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Birth of a Nation
by Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin, & Kyle Baker
Thankfully, Baker's latest effort, a collaboration with cartoonist McGruder and director Hudlin, isn't being ignored. In the wake of what is a thinly disguised version of the contested 2000 presidential election, the disenfranchised residents of East St. Louis decide to seceed from the United States, forming their own country: Blackland. It not the laugh-out-loud comedy that some of the reviews might lead you to expect, but it is a very interesting 'what if' story. Baker turns in some of the strongest work of his career, selling what could have been a dicey scenario.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

King David
by Kyle Baker
For the obvious reason, the story of King David was one that always interested me growing up. I really dug the whole 'David and Goliath' bit of course, but I was always disappointed that in the end King David turned out to be a prick. This is not among Baker's better artwork, as the overreliance on computer art and the murky and uneven coloring stand in contrast to the very strong storytelling, a technique that combines sequential art and traditional prose.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

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