Killtopia is a 52-page, full colour, sci-fi comic from writer Dave Cook and illustrator Craig Paton.
Dave Cook’s work has been featured before on Geek Native with the likes of comic book Bust and then Vessels. The story was the same each time; a sensible Kickstarter that didn’t muck around and an output that pleased backers. Critics liked both Bust and Vessels.
The clearest indicator that the whole industry was watching when Glasgow publisher BHP snaped up Killtopia while the Kickstarter was still hot. 850 backers for a comic book. Shows what talent and hard work can do.
I got my copy of Killtopia from the digital backers’ reward bundle that was sent while the paper copies were still in the post. You can buy Vessels on Comixology but we’ll have to see if publishers BHP put Killtopia there.
But is Killtopia any good?
It absolutely is. Craig Paton’s illustration style seems especially suited to Killtopia. He drew a cover for Bust, so has worked with Cook before, and while Killtopia might technically be his first full comics project you wouldn’t know it.
The world is wrecked in the future. Bombs have gone off. Nations have fallen. There’s a nano-plague that is being spread by out of control mechs that roam the abandoned zones like wild animals.
The first issue in the series looks at the Wreckers. Wreckers are essentially TV-star gladiators. They wade into the dangerous zones, the ones where the mechs and their contagious terra-forming are out of control and do battle.
There’s more than just the salvage rights on the mech-scrap that the Wreckers profit from, though this turns out be a big plot point in Killtopia, there’s the merchandising rights that come along with being internet-famous. In the future people cosplay as Wreckers.
This mix of glam and post-apocalyptic dystopia? Patron draws that perfectly.
Throw in the bright colour pallet Killtopia uses and you have a heady cocktail to enjoy. There are lots of yellows and blue. It’s not just the use of Japanese characters that gives this comic book a manga feel at times.
The story tees off by letting us know about a forthcoming special event. The Wreckers don’t always go after the mechs. Sometimes, for big money, they go up against each other.
The running champion is a character in issue one but, perhaps surprising some backers who hadn’t been paying full attention to the many teasers, she’s not the main character. That honour goes to a young bloke who had been sneaking into the danger zone, taking on the mechs to collect scrap without a license and sell what he can in order to buy medicine for his infected sister.
That’s the setup. The world’s best, most well funded, professional Wrecker on one side of the ring. On the other, we’ve got this other guy, with barely enough credits to buy ammo, who just about manages to survive on the fringe of society.
A slam dunk. Killtopia creates a scarily believable future featuring capitalism after the bomb and drops you right in it.
You’ll pick sides in an instant and then wonder whether you’ve just backed the losers. Bring on issue two.