Kim and Kim, the stars of Black Mask Studios's Kim and Kim, are back this week in Kim and Kim: Love Is A Battlefield. Did I need to write "Kim" over and over so many times? Well, I'm hoping to be able to use "Kim" for my SEO keyword this week, so this should make the internet robots happy. If you don't know what an SEO keyword is, well, then I want to come live with you, in the late '90s — we'll go to Blockbuster and breathe the vanishing air of temporary, generously limited freedom.
But forget all that; that's not what you came here to read about! You want to know about Kim and Kim, why you should seek out Vol. 1 as well as start buying Vol. 2! You must have never read K&K before, because if you had, you wouldn't need convincing to pick up Vol. 2. If anything, you'd be convincing me! How would that even work!?
Kim and Kim (Vol. 1) is a glammed-out, punk, cyber, futuristic action and adventure comic for everyone — but especially the queer and trans comic folx. I say that because I feel like there's a tendency when trying to move "Queer" art to the general public to try to, for lack of a better phrase, not scare away the cis normies; a tendency to frame things like, "It's actually for everyone! You're included!" And you know what? Totally. It's totally a comic that is for everyone who likes comics — you don't have to be queer or trans to enjoy the ride. That's a totally fine little sales line that I'll happily agree to with a bob of my pink ponytail.
LGBTQ comic readers often have to deal with the Big 2's constant bumbling and fumbling around Queer Characters and storylines. We're expected to be placated because they made Captain America gay for a Twitter-based thought experiment once or made Iceman gay, and so there, they fixed it. But Magdalene Visaggio has done what people who have been trying to support marginalized voices in comics have been clamoring for: created some NEW CHARACTERS to tell stories about Queer and Trans characters.
It's just really, really validating to go from the ugly, karmic nightmare that is Twitter, where people debate whether or not you actually exist, to a comic book for a little escapism and find that not only does a character like me exist, but they are the star and they are wonderful and funny and sad and fucked up just like me (us). They also are super broke and dealing with parents who misgender them, as well as truly terrible exes, questionable bathroom hookups, party planets, and again, being super broke.
I'll totally admit to being a little wary before reading Vol. 1 (which I read immediately before starting Vol. 2). I don't usually like, and this is going to sound awful, but "fun" comics. Like, I recently read Southern Cross Vols. 1 & 2, and it was AMAZING! It was so dark and weird and twisted and beautiful and brilliant, but it wasn't exactly "fun". At least not a wisecracking, head-whacking, side-splitting, rollicking good time you want to revisit time and time again. More like an "AHH, OMG, AHH," kind of way, like that Grant Morrison comic from a couple years back where everything horrible happened to everyone and it was just a five- or six-issue psychic mind wound. That kind of fun.
Kim and Kim is like Doctor Horrible fun, until you go online and see the latest thing Joss Whedon has said about anything. But yeah Kim and Kim is FUN in that giddy, laugh-out-loud kind of way that when it's over you go, "You know what, maybe I'll read that again, because that was fun."
That isn't to say that it's all light and breezy. Real issues are dealt with and they are real issues in the realest sense. Being broke, having strained familial relations, bad people in your past and weird people in your present; but most importantly, the comic is about the bond between the Kims. That Kimilial bond (yup, it's now a term, DEAL WITH IT) is very much one of the main focuses of Vol. 1 and definitely is a major factor again here in Vol. 2.
Being with your chosen fam, having them hold you when you need it while being on the receiving end of an amazing holding from you when they need it. Kim and Kim is full of moments like this, moments that crystallize friendship and the importance of those bonds in our queer and greater human communities. It's a beautiful, moving book that sucks you in and gives you a high five and a shot of something sweet and then throws you through a window, but it's funny and you don't mind.
I realize now that I've spent almost 1000 words here not really telling you anything about what either the old or the new volumes are actually about. But you know what, you can more than likely find succinct little descriptors from any place selling it (or, I mean, I'm sure Black Mask Studios could help) — and you didn't come to me just to find out in four or five lines what the book is actually about, did you? Oh shit, you did?
Well, this one involves a shady character from Kim's past who comes back and messes with the rather tenuous present of the Kims. Old broken trusts are mended and broken again, and your heart will go on a rollercoaster of Planet Clubland excitement. Surely that's enough to get you to buy it already, right? It's going to have to be.