Writer/artist Sarah Graley’s Kim Reaper #1 reads like Death from Sandman‘s college years mixed with the surreal wackiness of Regular Show as British university student Becka accidentally follows her crush, Kim, into a portal where she is about to harvest the soul of a dying cat. Instead of getting a job folding clothes, flipping burgers, or slinging overpriced televisions and game consoles,
One thing I found refreshing about Kim Reaper #1 is that Graley doesn’t make a big deal about Becka’s sexuality. She has a big crazy crush on a Goth cutie that happens to be the same gender as her. Her feelings for Kim are relatable for anyone who has had a college class and kind of instantly fell for someone because they were wearing a cool outfit, had a sticker by a band they liked, or answered a question really competently. However, this isn’t just an awkward slice of life romance comic as the plot takes a turn for the weird pretty on when Becka forgets that boundaries exist and follows Kim into a pink portal that snagged her cellphone. For the most part, Graley uses a neutral color palette, but any time magic or weird special powers (Like chugging energy drinks 24/7 without getting a heart attack.) pop up, she busts out the pinks and shimmering greens.
Both the slice of life and working as Death’s temp worker parts of Kim Reaper #1 are fascinating thanks to Sarah Graley always going full throttle with her artwork. A lot of the visual comedy in the comic comes from the characters’ wide eyes, and Becka has heart eyes for Kim in art class and has confused eyes when she sees her about to put a scythe down on an old, dying cat. Graley also puts interesting items in the background of a panel to drive home a bit of dialogue like Becka’s best friend Tyler imagining the drinks at the pub she owes him, or ghostly animals when Kim says she’s new to her job and can only reap animal souls. The energy and overall fun of Sarah Graley’s art definitely hooked me on the world of Kim Reaper and makes necessary exposition like Kim isn’t a killer go down easier.
Kim Reaper #1 is an enjoyable comic because Sarah Graley puts her characters, Kim, Becka, and even the cat loving muscle guy who shows up towards the end, in ordinary life situations and then makes it weird and spooky. The musclehead seems annoying with his obsessive working out, energy drink consuming, and cat collecting, but no one wants to see a beloved pet go. Of course, you would want to beat up the literal Grim Reaper trying to take your aging kitty. He isn’t just a bad guy that Kim and Becka have to punch because there needs to be more action, but a little bit sympathetic.
Kim Reaper #1 is a cute, funny comic centered around a queer romance that anyone who has had an unreciprocated crush or a job that consumed their life can relate to. If you like Giant Days or Bee and Puppycat, but wished they were spookier, this comic is for you.
Story: Sarah Graley Art: Sarah Graley
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review