Robot 6

Anthony Clark and KC Green got ‘Back’

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.28.36 PMI have a long list of webcomic creators that I wish were household names, and Anthony Clark and KC Green are right at the top. Their comics never fail to make me laugh through their general air of affable goofiness.

Clark first won me over with his 200 bad comics, a challenge to create a series of hastily drawn strips. The liberating freedom from making anything “good” turned out to be a successful improv exercise. Clark generated a series of hilarious non sequiturs through uncomplicated gags and simple, cheery drawings. His regularly updating webcomic Nedroid is also filled with cute characters; there’s a bear that’s an oval with stick arms and legs, and a similarly crudely drawn bird. The designs look like they were mocked up by a child, but the layouts have the surefooted mark of an experienced artist.

KC Green (Gunshow) may be one of webcomics’ most underrated talents. His style has the same childlike simplicity as Clark’s, except, perhaps, a bit more rubbery. His humor, too, tends to be a little more vulgar. He is, after all, responsible for a genitalia-related Internet meme. Yet, a lot of Green’s humor comes from classic comedy techniques. Long pauses, double takes … Green takes his sweet time with the pacing, letting long-simmering stares and tightly clenched jaws speak for the emotions. Recently, he has been using these same techniques to heighten a mood of spooky eeriness; the “Graveyard Quest” storyline has himchanneling the macabre sensibilities of his inner Charles Addams. Lately, it feels as if he’s been champing at the bit to craft a long-form narrative, as opposed to his typical gag-a-day shenanigans.

It felt as if these two creators were destined to one day come together. And that day has finally arrived. Back features a story written by Green and illustrated by Clark. Do you know how perfect the creative synergy is between these two? I could have said that Back was written by Clark and illustrated by Green, and you probably wouldn’t have known the difference. Clark’s artwork, though, is brimming with subtle detail. There’s a naturalistic texture to these simple shapes.

The characters introduced thus far have some appealing designs —  big, blocky squares and triangles with big bulgy eyes. Back opens on a snowy Western landscape, where a gunslinger who’s dubbed “Abigail” kicks her way out of the grave like the Bride in Kill Bill. She soon meets four three witches, who send her on a generic heroes’ quest, complete with a prophecy. Only Abigail’s fortune foretells that she will cause the “end of the world” … which, incidentally, she’s totally cool with.

Back is just starting out, so it’s still yet to be determined whether or not this is a “Must Read” title. It seems to crafting something more grand and epic than anything that Green of Clark have attempted before. Can two humorists succeed in the adventure genre? I have high hopes, given the pedigree of the creators.

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