Read This Book- “Klik Klik Boom #1” from Image Comics

No one thinks they are an old person until they spend time with young people. This has been driven home to me daily in my interactions with my students, most of whom are around 16 years of age.

Last week, one of them asked me how we used to text on flip phones when there were no touch screen and just the number buttons. They knew that the buttons had letters on them, but there were three buttons so how did the phone know which one we would press? After I explained having to press the same buttons multiple times in order to get the right letter, they looked at me shocked, and let me know that, with the exception of some modern day, ultra hipsters, and cranky seniors stuck in time, flip phones without touch screens were probably not on the verge of a comeback.

Polaroid cameras, on the other hand, just may be. In recent years I have had a small but growing number of students who have found these relics from my childhood and are using them once again.

It makes sense, when you think about it. Our kids today are awash in a virtual world that has been cropped, edited, scanned, resized, reformatted, digitally retouched, and sent into the electronic void to live or die on a wave of digital likes and dislikes from the dull and overstimulated masses for years now. Permanence is rare in our world, physical media is even rarer. Most people today look at thousands of pictures a day, but to physically hold one in your hands, to own a sliver of a moment of time in someone’s life, frozen in the amber of the moment, well, you can understand why people would find that worthwhile, and why children who grew up in a digital age of flashing lights and shadow people would find that even more important.

And if that kid also happens to be a skilled hunter and assassin who likes to dress like Lady Gaga and Elton John’s secret love child, well, all the better!

Which, of course, takes me to this weeks read: Klik Klik Boom #1, written by Doug Wagner, with art from Doug Dabbs from Image Comics. A brilliantly written and illustrated comic about a girl disconnected from, and yet fascinated by, our world, Klik Kilk Boom is a real treat that I’m excited to talk about, so let’s not waste any more time and just get into it.

Here’s the blurb: MINISERIES PREMIERE Klik Klik Boom #1

Meet Sprout a mute assassin who communicates exclusively through polaroid pictures.

Being raised by her doomsday-prepping grandfather in the rolling hills of Idaho Sprout has never been around other people watched TV or seen clothes outside of Army fatigues. Now she’s headed to the big lights of New York City to avenge her grandfather’s murder but will the city’s mesmerizing glitz and glam help her succeed-or be the death of her?

One of the things I have long lamented is the fact that, for a medium that is so tied to art, so many writers refuse to allow the art to actually tell the story. Page after page of brilliant and expressive artwork, covered by thought balloons, speech bubbles, location information, and other rambling narratives usually take paragraphs to convey what can be shown in a single frame or expression.

Usually when I see a comic drowning in text that tells me that the author is either a) a frustrated novelist who is expressing themselves through a different medium, or b) unwilling to trust their artist to properly convey their vision. So when I saw that Klik Klik Boom was going to be about a mute who communicated through polaroid pictures, I was a little concerned that we would have page after page of though bubbles and polaroid captions, but instead…

Well, instead we have something pretty great.

Doug Wagner has done what the best comic writers do; write a clever story with interesting characters, and then trust his artist to bring it to life. And that’s not an easy ask for this kind of book. Sprout communicates entirely through photos and gestures, and is extremely disconnected from the world around her. To convey all of that through gestures and frozen images is a big ask, but Doug Dabbs does a fantastic job with each panel, and it makes the book come alive in a way that too many comics just don’t.

It would have been easy for Wagner to fill the pages of Klik Klik Boom with though bubbles and unneeded narration, but he doesn’t, and the comic is all the stronger for it. As Alan Moore said, comics are a medium where the artists and writers work with the viewer to create the world together. When everything is spelled out for you like a child then you lose that investment in the medium, and the value of the work is lost. Trusting your audience to follow along, allowing them to figure things out as the story progresses, letting them pick up or miss clues, that’s part of what makes comics so great.

And that’s what makes this comic such a great first read. Wagner trusts his artists, and he trust his readers, and the result is comic that is fun, fast paced, and full of tiny clues that will no doubt have you rereading the books again and again to see what you missed the first time around!

Also violence. Good old fashion violence!

Issue 1 of Klik Klik Boom drops in June so call your LCS and ask them to reserve you a copy!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

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