I think if I were to hang out with creator Skuds McKinley I would find that we have a lot of shared influences and interests. I feel as if I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but Rumble Moon comes across as if it was created for me. I know that’s highly egotistical of me and frankly silly to think. I know that it wasn’t, but at the same time so much of it appeals to my inner being that again… it feels that way. In actuality there were many others this was created for or at least supported the Kickstarter project to make sure that it was printed and if McKinley was able to make me feel special reading this story I can only imagine how everyone else felt.
Now to be honest a lot of my reviews are done off of a digital copy. That isn’t to say that I don’t still purchase the physical copies, but comics have become more and more digital for me as I take on more and more reviews. With Rumble Moon I supported the Kickstarter so that I would get a physical copy of the book. There was something about McKinley’s art that caught my attention instantly and made me want to physically hold this comic in my hands. I’m glad I did because it’s a wonderful print. The smell of the ink and the paper is like heaven. I could sit here and smell the book for the rest of the review and still tell you to purchase it, but I won’t. Then there’s the feel of the pages. Not quite glossy, but still a little roughness; the color of the page more orange then white, but still feeling of a high quality. I can tell you that this paper isn’t cheap which is why other publishers don’t use it, but if they did I would buy every issue. Rumble Moon feels like a comic. It feels like that special issue your Dad would randomly give you to read that you would hold on to and cherish regardless of the contents. Rumble Moon is special.
Now while I was instantly won over by the art, the presentation, the paper stock, I assure you I wasn’t a push over on the story. Thankfully I didn’t have to be, because the story is of the same level of quality. This really is the complete package.
The one-shot is broken up into smaller stories giving it an anthology feel to it. Each story follows its own set of characters and has its own narration style. I would love to say that I had a personal favorite, but I enjoyed every page of this book.
I will talk about the longest story because I mentioned similar influences and interests earlier. It’s clear that the last story “Mican” has an anime/manga influence to it. In the notes in the back McKinley describes it as “Post-Anime” in which he attempts to capture the guts and not the style of medium. He succeeds as he meshes elements of anime like mech suits, androids, and infectious parasites with an abandoned city, vinyl records and two friends that bust each other’s balls. It’s a very entertaining story.
McKinley describes his story process in the back of the issue and it’s very interesting. He took a free form approach in which he created the story page by page. You’ll be able to pick up on this a little while reading especially with “Mican” because of the length, but it’s actually awesome. It’s like you’re creating the story with him as another idea pops into his head and suddenly the story shifts getting bigger and bigger each time. It’s an incredible reading experience.
Where to begin with the art? It’s like Paul Pope, Moebius and Vasilis Lolos had a baby and that baby was Skuds McKinley and he had pencils in his hand upon birth and everyone was like, “that’s weird”, but then he drew his mother and everyone cried because it was that beautiful… I really fucking enjoyed McKinley’s style. I would say that it teeters more toward Paul Pope which is awesome to me, but McKinley brings his own flair making everything look cool. The main character in “Foxy Dolce” is one of the most attractive female characters I’ve ever read in comics. It’s not just her looks either; it’s that McKinley manages to visual display her personality as much as he captures her physical beauty. There’s an aura to her that spills out of the page.
All of the art is in black and white which works with McKinley’s style. It allows him to destroy a page when needed, cramming in every possible detail and then to contrast that on the very next page. Though he’s not relying on solid shadows like say Frank Miller, he is using the same concept and using it masterfully.
I’ve been trying to talk about the lettering more in my reviews because lettering does play a huge role in the story. It’s actually the thing we end up seeing the most, but talk about the least. I’m pretty sure that McKinley hand-lettered everything in this story and if that’s his handwriting then it’s pretty damn cool. It gives each story this personal touch to it. Suddenly you’re not reading a comic, but someone’s journal. It’s never difficult to read or follow and again it just looks cool.
I want more of Skuds McKinley’s work. I want him to create more and I sure as hell will support any and all projects he works on. I hope never to see him on a mainstream book because I’m more interested in his own ideas. The worlds he creates are the ones I daydream in and that’s awesome. I’ve been waiting for comics that really spoke to me and my influences growing up since… well since I was a kid. I think I’ve finally found a creator that does just that and I love it. Don’t do me any favors and check this out; again it was created for me, but you can do yourself a favor and check it out. I think you’ll like it.
Score: 7/5 (That’s Correct)
Writer/Artist/Creator: Skuds McKinley Self-Published Price: $1, $5 or $10 (depending on the version you want) Website