TKO Shorts 2021
Written by Alex Paknadel
Illustrated by Ian Macewan
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Far away from the pressures of being a surgeon in New York City, Cassie decides to take a solo hunting trip to Wyoming. There she is attacked and luckily rescued by a middle-aged couple living in an isolated cabin with their son. After weeks, she isn’t getting any better and begins to question the couples’ motives and the strange nightly visits that they dismiss as the “Roofstompers".
I received a care package from TKO and it had two full sized graphic novels and three of these shorts and maybe I’m just a big ole weirdo but the shorts actually excited me more than the graphic novels did. Now they look like Ashcan editions to me so I wasn’t quite sure what a short was but as it turns out they are just mini-comics that tell a complete tale. This self-contained limited edition short is a printed zine sized at 8.5" x 5.5" is how they are described.. I am a fan of Alex’s work and when I saw he had done one I knew had to check that out right away and I’m seriously glad that I have too.
I am really impressed with the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development is fantastic! This is tanks to the dialogue, character interaction and how they act and react to the situations and circumstances that they encounter. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story we’re stunned by how complete this feels.
I have the utmost respect for anyone who can write a complete story in such a complete short story in a tiny amount of space. And to see this structured as it is and how the layers within the story to be seen so clearly as they work their way through this little story is so well achieved. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is greatly achieved. For such a short story it feels so much bigger and this is thanks to to how the story is told and how it engages the reader, pulling them in and using their imagination to put themselves into the story.
I am in love with the interiors here. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level and quality of detail work is astounding. I am sorry the work that we see whether it’s the forest, inside of the cabin or that pinup page with the crazy wheel thing it all is mesmerising even being seen at this scale. That backgrounds are everywhere thrills me like you wouldn’t believe!, and then to see them in them in the composition within the panels to create the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is utterly brilliant. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a masterful eye for storytelling. That Ian also does the colour work leaves me gobsmacked. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is done to perfection.
This story is wonderfully creepy and ticks off all the boxes that makes you want to see more. With Carrie being our central figure we get such a well rounded woman with a diverse life and someone you don’t really want to mess with. With this level of writing and interior artwork this is something well worth your finding and picking up for yourself.