Dave Cook, the mastermind behind Killtopia, has just finished funding his latest comic on Kickstarter - Deadliner. Working with artist Donna A Black, Dave tells a simple story of a writer suffering from writer's block in the wake of his friend's death.
Deadliner is a story about self-doubt and insecurities. About how our un-named protagonist battles with this. Can he finish his eagerly anticipated second book or will his struggles break him completely?
As usual, at Comic Book News UK, let's start with the art. Donna A Black delivers a hectic style that perfectly mirrors the spiralling emotions of the protagonist. It's frenzied, emotional and full of jarring panels. It's a perfect match for the story on offer.
The story is told through narration text boxes so you already know what's going through our man's head. The art places you in his head. Reading is one thing. Seeing everything in this style sells the experience.
There is a good use of colour used throughout, some of this adds to the experience immensely. It is as frantic as the art and makes everything more unsettling than if it was all in black and white.
Rob Jones worked on lettering and uses a style that compliments the story and artwork. It's another tool to sell that this is a story full of anxiety. Sometimes the writing wasn't the easiest to read, but given the story and art style, it's not too big of a problem. It fits this physiological horror trip better than clearer to read text would.
As for the story, this is very different to what we've seen from Dave Cook before. He's created an atmospheric, unsettling read. Most, if not all, writers suffer from writer's block at some point so you know some of this is going to be personal. To write these feelings down into a story makes a dripping and slightly uncomfortable read.
Although part of this narrative would have come from a very personal space, several moments are clearly exaggerated for effect. Dave's not going mad. But adding some personal touches makes the story relatable, particularly for other writers as you follow the monologue through doubts and insecurities that the protagonist struggles through.
Deadliner is a beautiful and unique piece of work. It's not told like a traditional comic and its sure to hit hard with some writers. Everything merges well to create an experience that is dark and unsettling as the story slow burns its way through. It's basically everything that Dave Cook promised it would be. Highly recommend.
I’d also recommend you follow Dave Cook (@davescook) for all the latest. And you art lovers can follow Donna A Black (@DonnaABlackArt) for some more creepy artwork. If you want to buy yourself a copy, keep an eye on Dave's store for when it becomes available: https://davecookcomics.bigcartel.com/