Kingjira (#1) – Marco Fontanili

5 out of 5

Godzilla wants pizza. Or, er, Kinjira, rather. And this is shown on the cover for Marco Fontanili’s wild “silent” comic, and is not a misleading “twist” on the overall thrust of the over-sized oner, as that’s how it starts – Kinjira hungry! – and that’s how it ends, and inbetween, government army and science types try to stop the monster’s destructions on its way to filling its belly.

Fontanili, whose art style has the busy, detailed linework of James Stokoe, with the more severe, angular inking / stylization of early Peter Kuper, or Ted McKeever, is proof of how flexible and powerful this storytelling medium is, and also how important it is to have a good grasp on narrative – that fantastic, eye-grabbing art can probably carry a book, but that combined with proper writing chops, it lifts it heads above the masses.

“Kingjira” is certainly a comedic tale, and perhaps skirts being wholly silent due to sound effects and pictographs representing characters’ words or thoughts, but that’s all very visual still, and Fontanili employs these additions with skilled pacing and framing to nail funny or violent beats. The latter bit is again the power of storytelling, as there’s some garish stuff that happens here, but as compared to the grindhouse Pentagram of Horror series, Marco’s tweaks here to character models and definitely to the color palette – a hallucinatory swath of Brendan McCarthy neons – make it all funny and fun to look at and read.

A special shoutout to those colors, which give the book an extra bump over any doubts as to its display of utter skill: Marco does not feel locked down into depicting any one item with a consistent color – Kingjira can be blue, or green – but does use it very purposefully to indicate mood, or to highlight focus, or as an offset for the same reasons. This is balanced with plenty of negative / white space as well, making each page just masterful all around, as art and story.

Now we just need the rest of Marco’s work published for us non-Italian speakers…