by Rich Koslowski
Top Shelf Productions, $19.95
Rich Koslowski's career in comics has taken an interesting path. He began as an inker for Archie Comics, and then moved into self-publishing with his 3 Geeks, a series about well-meaning but terminally geeky comics fans. He then moved on to Top Shelf and into 'serious' comics back in 2002 with Three Fingers, a dark look at funny animals and the golden age of animation. Three years later Koslowski is back with The King, his latest Original Graphic Novel that continues his foray into serious comics territory.
There are two stories in The King: The first is that of the title character, a mask-wearing Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas who many feel may be the actual Elvis Pressly. Some believe he has come out of hiding; others believe he is Elvis back from the dead, and some of those believe that The King is a god, worthy of worship and adoration
The more interesting story is that of Paul Erfurt, a sometime reporter whose previous career--as a writer for The National Enquirer--consisted of spinning lies out of the truth. But as the only reporter to whom The King has agreed to tell his story, Paul now has to determine what is true and what isn't, and what is the difference between facts and faith. The King is cryptic in his responses to Paul's questioning, never giving a straight answer, but through his interviews with The King's entourage Paul learns about the transformative power of belief and grace, all from an unlikely source.
Though maybe I'm reading too much into the story. If The King has a fault, it's in the fact that the story is all on the surface, and there's no other depth to the narrative. Then again, I'm not a huge Elvis fan, so mayeb there are allusions that I'm just not hip to.
The King is a good graphic novel, although it could probably have used a bit more humor. The art is strong--probably Koslowski's best work to date--and he paces the story well. It's another look by Koslowski at the sometimes seedy, sometimes redemptive world of entertainment.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
(A review copy of The King was provided by the publisher.)