Kickstarter Spotlight: Kane Maverick
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What’s in a name?
Kane Maverick! The name just screams masculinity, adventure, and something just a bit ridiculous. The adventures of Kane Maverick the man, and Kane Maverick the series have a lot of ties to the pulp adventures of the 40’s and 50’s as well as the idea of the dashing male hero and the more far out comics of the 60’s and 70’s, specifically The Fantastic Four and The Flash.
he first issue finds Kane Maverick and his team, The 5 Mavericks, going into battle once again with Kane’s arch nemesis, Doctor Whiro. The battle leads them back to the Doctors evil lair, where Kane and Whiro get sucked through a portal and into our dimension. Kane then encounters Ana Tom, an Oakland resident in her early twenties, trying her best to live a nice quiet life. Worlds collide, hijinks ensue, adventure awaits!
But going back to the ideas brought up at the start, Kane Maverick is more than meets the eye. I find that comics are a great place to explore ideas and questions we face in our own lives, and put them through a blender of color, impossible places/people, and a special kind of drama that can make us take men who wear their underwear on the outside seriously. It’s fantasy for sure, but the best comics turn a kind of fun house mirror back at our own world to show us a possible future that awaits us if we’re not careful, or a kind of truth that you can only learn on a cross-dimensional adventure with a talking giraffe.
For example, the idea of the hyper masculine male, which sprang into comics from the strongmen of the circus, is still pervasive almost 75 years after Superman and Batman made their first appearances. The pulp comics especially presented a sort of ideal rugged man who was totally self-sufficient. A one man army who had the brains to match his brawn. They were impossibly handsome and muscular and especially back in those days mostly white. Now I myself am neither impossibly handsome, not particularly muscular, and not white, yet I still see myself in these characters? Why is that?
It probably has something to do with the one thing everyone, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever other labels you want to throw out can relate to, and that’s the desire to live free. To be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and not have to ask questions or permission. To be able to travel the world at a moment’s notice, to explore and see places you could only imagine in your wildest dreams. We all long to shake off the drudgery of everyday life and become self-activated and do what makes us happy, but for most of us it’s not that simple, but fantasy allows us to live vicariously through characters like Doc Savage and Indiana Jones.
And that’s the beauty of those pulp adventures. They were fun, thrilling, dramatic, but also a bit campy and tongue in cheek. There’s a darkness that’s been creeping into every corner of the world of fantasy lately. Companies have been throwing around buzz words like “grounded” or “gritty” or “realistic,” which are supposed to somehow mean better or more credible. There seems to be an idea that no self-respecting adult could enjoy something silly or colorful that winks at itself and you, grinning from ear to ear. Yet there’s something endearing about those comics from the ‘60s and ‘70s that seems to be missing from today’s comics.
I’m not saying there’s no more fun comics out there, Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer, Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, are just a few delightfully weird and quirky books. But the key word there is few. For every book with heart and levity, there’s at least ten about raging anti-heroes, filled with mindless violence and sex, characters that are hard to like, and everything is super serious all the time. I’m not putting down those books, heck I buy a lot of those books each month, but at certain point there needs to be some kind of balance.
Kane Maverick sets out to challenge a lot of those comic book tropes, with a big goofy grin on its face. What happens when a man of action and adventure faces problems he can’t just punch and blast his way out of? What happens when a villain has more time to do things than just be evil? Kane Maverick comes from a non-linear dimension, so everything is all action all the time. But in our world he has to live moment to moment, which means creating his own adventures. And that’s one of the real lessons of Kane Maverick, to live life like your own personal adventure, because it’s short, but if you live it right, it’s more than enough.
I’m not going to lie and say that Kane Maverick is the most important comic of our generation or that it will change your life forever. But I will say that it’s important and special to me. I probably won’t make any money from this, and frankly I don’t care. All I want to do is make comics, whether I’m getting paid a million dollars for it or it or making them out of my own pocket. Crowdfunding is a great way to bring things to life that otherwise would never get made. Comics especially, since comics are really all about community, bringing so many different kinds of people together in their shared love of colorful 2-D worlds. What fun would Batman and Superman be if you couldn’t argue about who would beat up who? How many awkward kids read have read or made a zine and felt like they found their place in the world? So whether it’s a little or a lot, I hope you decide to help us bring Kane Maverick to life and in turn I hope we can bring a little more fun back to comics.