Published on September 8th, 2012 | by Cosmic Comix and Toys0
The Bulletproof Coffin
(Please join us in welcoming back Best Book You Didn’t Read columnist David Lee! Who took a short hiatus from this column to further his lifelong dream of creating the perfect in-store mix CD for Cosmic Comix. – Andy)
Hello everyone! I’m back from a nice long vacation. And while I wasn’t writing for Cosmic Comix, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t reading all sorts of good books. In fact, I took the opportunity to read a book recommended by a reviewer whom I respect. He’s one of those “hates everything” reviewers, so when he actually likes a book it becomes a must buy for me. Which is I why I read THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN, written by David Hine and illustrated by Shaky Kane, published by Image.
Steve Newman works for Voids Contractors. When a person with no family dies, it’s his job to clean the house. That’s right, it’s his job to haul all the dead person’s junk away! In his most recent house he found a collection of Golden Age toys, collectibles and, most importantly, comic books. Interestingly enough, the books are numbered long after the series actually ended. If they shouldn’t exist, then who made them? Did he find the books or did the books find him? And why does Steve suddenly have the urge to become a superhero?
In Bulletproof Coffin, Hine has crafted a story that is just incredible. You can read it as a trippy Morrison-esqe superhero pastiche or you can read it as a scathing commentary about comic books, their creators, and the companies that publish them. No matter how you choose to interpret the story, you will enjoy it. Hine has created a comic book within a comic book and uses that as a means to present various ideas about the industry. Some ideas you can’t miss and others are far more subtle and Hine has no shortage of ideas. In lesser hands the comic book within a comic book aspect would have come off as corny or just poorly executed. Hine shows his skills as a writer and the way in which he builds the story is perfect.
Shaky Kane is part of the Kirby Homage crew which includes the likes of Tom Scioli and early Ladronn. The inking is finer so you don’t have the heavy blacks, but you get the wide stance characters and some crazy designs. It fits the story perfectly and has a certain silliness that will remind you of the older comics it mimics.
The Bulletproof Coffin is one of those rare superhero comic books in which you don’t know what is going to happen next. And not in the bad where’s-the-plot-don’t-know-what’s-happening kind of way. This is a book that plays with your expectations and tosses them out the window. It’s a book that not only engages you as a superhero book but also a discussion about comic books. If you want a book that will entertain and challenge you, then this is the book for you.
- David Lee