God of Comics – Grass Kings #10
Grass Kings #10 (Boom Studios)
Matt Kindt is quietly writing a quiet meditation on the quiet death of America’s dream.
I know that’s a triple use of the word quiet, but it’s the only word that fits. The story here focuses on a small group of people that decided to live off the grid – not the crazed gun-loving militia types, but just a group of people that were done with corruption, done with propaganda, done with hate… just done. They went off and built themselves a self-sustaining Grass Kingdom full of artists, outsiders, and outcasts. They even have a royal family in the couple that started the whole thing, and their two sons who have inherited the place.
But that sort of courage and isolation invites scrutiny from some and outright hatred from others: those that are enmeshed in a system do not like to see people living outside of it. There’s been some fascinating insight into the politics at play in previous issues, leading to a gunfight between the powers of encroaching civilization and the defiance of those that want to be left alone.
Part of that story led to where we are now, dealing with secrets kept and held by that isolation. A respectful lawlessness and respect for privacy is what the Grass Kingdom was founded upon, but it’s also the sort of thing that certain predators are happy to work within; while the first story-arc showed the Grass Kingdom to be a troubled utopia, this recent arc has gone into detail as to how broken some of the people living there are while hinting that at least one of them is a serial killer.
It makes for fascinating reading. The quiet Pike, for example, has become one of my favorite characters in comics on the strength of a single issue. You’ve got brave children who don’t understand the risk they’re putting themselves in, estranged family members struggling to reconcile in the wake of tragedy, some incredible and heavy stuff that’s only going to get heavier as we start looking into the person who nearly caused a war.
The whole thing is set against a water-colored backdrop that delves into history and lends the whole story a dream-like fragility. Tyler Jenkins art sets Grass Kings apart from anything else on the shelves, line-work and shadows complemented perfectly by the soft colors of Hilary Jenkins. The story is hope woven through with a meandering sense of entropy, and the artwork captures that, sticking in the mind long after the comic is done and leaving you yearning for next month and next issue.
Thankfully, there’s a new issue out this week. Hunt it down and pick up the trades; it’s Christmas. Treat yourself.