Released: April 2001
Story: Darren Close, Alberto Diaz & Danny McGillick
Pencils: Evan Jacobson, Jon Sommariva & Danny McGillick
Inks: Darren Close & Danny McGillick
Special Thanks: Damien Shanahan
The first publication to feature the adventures of Rufus. This book is considered a largely elseworlds collection, where different writers and artists produced their interpretation of the character. It is not considered “canon” to the Killeroo character.
Review by Jeremy MacPherson
Killeroo is the first major release for Darren Close, who is far best known for running his popular comic website, OzComics. Not much is revealed about the title character (whose real name is Rufus) – a tough looking kangaroo prone to violent mood swings. Although Rufus displays human characteristics, this is not a typical “furry” comic – in fact he is the only anthropomorphic character to be seen throughout the book.
There are two stories appearing in this issue, both of which feature the main character, although the second entry deals with a younger incarnation called Killeroo Jnr. The writing flows quite well but it’s obvious that the real star here is the artwork. Evan Jacobson, Jon Sommariva, and Danny McGillick all turn in outstanding efforts on their respective stories and the cover by Hellspawn artist Ben Templesmith is excellent, as are the collection of pinups. Production values are also top-notch and the use of brown ink rather than black for the interior pages is a nice touch.
Overall, Killeroo is definitely worthy of attention and at the price of five dollars represents excellent value.
Review by Ian GouldAce Comics & Games, Brisbane
Book One is exceptionally well-produced and just a damn fine-looking comic. At 40 pages, standard American size, full colour card cover, great paper stock and top-notch printing in a nice sepia tone – all this for $4.95 Australian. (For the foreigners: the standard US$2.25 Marvel or DC comic sells for $5.95 here. The average US indy sells for $6.50 on up depending on where you shop.
Why am I writing at such length about the production on this book? Because I think one of the most positive recent developments in Australian comics is a sense of increased professionalism and an understanding that just waving the Aussie flag isn’t enough anymore.
Killeroo is a simple character – a kick-ass biker type who just happens to be a giant mutated kangaroo. But, as Darren Close’s stories demonstrate “simple” isn’t the same as “simplistic” or “bad”.
Darren’s got a real ear for dialog and delivers highly kinetic stories which demonstrate he’s learnt one of the cardinal rules of comics: “show, don’t tell”.
My criticisms of Darren’s writing are pretty minor. I know Brisbane’s a provincial backwater but do Australians really use expressions like “homeboy” and “yo”? I’ll also question the decision to include two stories in Book One with the lead feature being serialised. Given the erratic of most Australian comics, it was probably a mistake to have a serialised story in the first issue.
Now to the art – The principal pencillers on Book One and Evan Jacobson and Jon Sommariva (with Danny McGillick).
Jon probably needs no introduction at this point – he’s just made his American debut with a story in Star Wars Tales 14 and he’s just been announced as the artist on an upcoming title from Dark Horse’s new Rocket imprint. .In some ways Jon’s work here is even better than his Star Wars story which suffered, in my opinion, from rather muddy coloring. Jon’s work is crisp, distinctive and, there’s that word again, kinetic.
Evan Jacobson’s work on the lead story in Book One is almost on par with Sommariva’s. He’s got an excellent story-telling sense and a gift for striking yet clear layouts. Unfortunately, many of his faces don’t quite work ? a weakness which I’m sure he’ll overcome with a bit more practice.
Rounding out Book one is an idiosyncratic gallery of Killeroo pin-ups by top Australian artists. They’re all excellent and remarkably diverse running the gamut from Ej Su’s finely detailed half-toned manga-inspired piece to the high contrast noir of Gary Chaloner’s tough-as-nails older-and-meaner version of the character. And its all wrapped up in a sumptuous cover by Wunderkind Ben Templesmith.
All up, I’d recommend Killeroo without hesitation. But I feel I hardly need to – Book One in particular has been an especially strong seller for us, outselling most US titles.