Shiny Shelf


The Bulletproof Coffin #1

By Mark Clapham on 05 July 2010

A few weeks old this one, but worth a mention now you can read the whole first issue for free online. It’s a new series from writer David Hine, who is doing a lot of DC stuff lately, and artist Shaky Kane, who has a bit of a cult following.

‘The Bulletproof Coffin’ is a remarkable comic, which is not to say it’s necessary good or great, but rather to say that it’s definitely worth remarking upon. It’s the sort of comic you want to show to other people, perhaps in the hope that they could explain it to you.

Steve Newman is a voids contractor, cleaning out the houses of the recently deceased. One of the perks of his job is going into houses the night before the official house clearance and taking his pick of any pop culture he finds, providing it isn’t of auction-able value.

On one such recce he hits the jackpot – a dead man’s house filled with rare comics, coin-operated televisions and, beneath the floorboards, a costume for long-forgotten comic book character the Coffin Fly.

That’s pretty much the premise of the first issue, but ‘The Bulletproof Coffin’ isn’t about the letter of the plot so much as the spirit and aesthetic of its world. The pop culture that Steve Newman is obsessed with is a mash-up of ‘Fright Night’ creature-feature nostalgia, EC and Creepy horror comics, superheroes, and dayglo pulp SF.

It’s a world where lab monkeys with electrodes sticking out of their brain were advertised in old comics, where your pets look like they’re more closely related to your kids than you are, where Jack Kirby cosmic and EC horror blurred into one genre.

It’s this fluid approach to genre that stops ‘The Bulletproof Coffin’ from drifting into the mere pastiche that has blighted other comics that sought to evoke previous ages, like ‘Supreme’ or ‘The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist’: while Kane’s art has a Kirbyesque boldness, the content harks back to an odder culture than any that really existed.

It’s grotesque, baffling and fascinating. Even if you don’t run out to buy it, it’s certainly worth reading it online via the link above. It’s certainly not like anything else you’ll read this year – the closest comparison I can think of is “if ‘Fright Night’ was a Mike Allred comic”, and that really doesn’t cover it – and you might find yourself drawn to get the second issue, just to try and find out where Hine and Kane are going with all this.

I know I’ll be there. I want to see how deep this rabbit hole goes.


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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named markclapham.com.




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