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King City

(King City)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,176 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Joe is a catmaster, trained to use his cat as any tool or weapon. His best friend, Pete, falls in love with an alien he's forced to sell into green slavery, while his ex, Anna, watches her Xombie War veteran boyfriend turn into the drug he's addicted to. King City, an underbelly of a town run by spy gangs and dark dark magic with mystery down every alleyway. ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published March 7th 2012 by Image Comics, Inc
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,176 ratings  ·  215 reviews

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May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, escape
Part of the magic of comics (well, independent comics) is that in some ways they are more immediately personal than prose. The labor put into creating them is more obvious, as are the many quirks of the artist. It's like conversing with a stranger who isn't treating you like a stranger, who assumes a level of intimacy that you may not share. When it works, it's magic. When it doesn't work, man, it's awkward.

Sadly King City landed in the latter camp for me. Graham clearly put a lot of himself and
Seth T.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
King City by Brandon Graham

I've written before about expectations and how they cheat us of our reading experiences. Whether a positive or negative bias, these prejudices do unquestionable damage to the natural formation of opinion. A strong positive predisposition toward a book can push us to massage problems in a work to reflect our existing good will toward it—or, if the work too abruptly veers from our expectations, those expectations can lead to a sense of betrayal that wouldn't otherwise come about. A negative feelin
David Katzman
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one helluva kickass graphic novel. It collects the twelve individual issues of King City released in 2011. Brandon Graham creates a fantastical sci-fi/fantasy realm where just about anything goes. Beautiful black and white illustrations with a touch of manga and a whole lotta quirky. Outrageously inventive. Thoughtfully constructed, frame by frame. Packed with more puns per page than a novel by Flann O’Brien.

King City stars an … uhm … Expert Thief/Escape Artist/Cat Master/Dude. I said Ca
Rather than try to write a book-column-worthy compare and contrast proper review, I'm just gonna make three lists:

What I liked:

The story was not predictable. That's always a good thing.
The artist has a clear knowledge of anatomy and movement, and he wasn't afraid to break the rules. The figures are well-drawn and never stiff.
All the characters have distinct personalities. That's also always a good thing.
A great deal of creativity went into this book, from the weird use of a cat as an

Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
King City came recommended by a reviewer I've grown to trust, so you can imagine my disappointment to find that this graphic novel fell flat for me.

In concept, this story is something I should've enjoyed greatly: a cat is used as a multi-function weapon/tool and there are lots of visual and linguistic puns heavily sprinkled throughout. I think the reason the book fell flat for me, though, is because there's a great universe here to explore and expand upon, but the story focuses on four central c
Jeff Jackson
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Rambling, charming, and slyly funny throughout, Brandon Graham's opus involves a Cat Master, chalk addiction, water-breathing sex slaves, pesky tentacle demons, and the utter devastation of your former significant other finding someone new and moving on. There's more whimsy than drama, but Graham keeps the story ambling along and knows when to throw in a welcome digression. He's particularly brilliant at world-building, drafting accomplished cityscapes and laying out pages in consistently invent ...more
Koen Claeys
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Talking about a missed opportunity... All the elements for a brilliant comic are present (beautiful art, impressive pages, strong humor,...) but sadly Graham neglects to hold the reader's attention. The story just isn't compelling enough dispite all the original ideas. The further the story progressed, the more my enthusiasm dissapeared like snow before the sun. In the end I just couldn't give a damn and quickly went through the last 20-30 pages.
Eric Mesa
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you go to you can read the review with accompanying images. Here's the text:

Regular readers of Comic POW know I’m a huge fan of Brandon Graham. When I discover a new creator that I like, I tend to binge on their works. Fortunately for my bank account, Brandon Graham has a pretty small canon of work in which he is both writer and artist. Prior to working on Multiple Warheads his major non-porn was was King City.

King City started off on Tokyo Pop and the
Stephanie Griffin
Feb 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
How much did I dislike this book? A LOT. Should have read the notes in the back where the author states he started out writing PORN COMICS. Also, he’s not as clever as he thinks he is.
Alex Sarll
An afterword confirms this as the first time Brandon Graham could really cut loose, just giving himself license to draw whatever he felt like in that intricate, vibrant, fleshy style of his. Meaning there are a lot of monsters, cats, and nice butts in this story, yet it does still hold together at least as a sort of mosaic novel. The loose focus is on deadbeat master spy Joe and his weaponised cat, but often it'll drift to his supporting cast, or just the sprawling city around him. “There’s so m ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic
Overly juvenile and crude in its objectification of women King City (KC) really failed my expectations. While the book is good in parts (clever puns, funny dialog and a few likable side characters), overall KC didn't stick this one. Not only is the plot's dénouement horribly resolved but after the story is over Graham continues to basically blabber in a phudo intellectual meta-level appendix for 30 pages (some of which is interesting when seen as supplementary materials, but the bulk of which is ...more
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Graham's art style—just a bit off-kilter—goes perfectly with the setting: King City, a place full of people who are just a bit off-kilter, beginning with the protagonist, Joe, whose weapon of choice is a near-omnipotent cat. It's a strange world and fun to explore; the ending goes in a direction I wasn't expecting at all, but which suits Joe's ethos more than the alternative, I think.

And the puns. So many puns.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you love cats, or action, or sci fi, or adventure, or life, this is the book for you.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just utter insanity in the visuals, in the characters and in the plot. Wild crazy fun that is as good as it gets.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great indie sci-fi comic. A great indie espionage comic. A great indie action comic.

In many ways I’m glad that I read this after I’d read Brandon Graham’s later work (his take on Rob Liefeld’s Prophet, his editing work for Island, and his most recent creation Multiple Warheads) because King City stands head and shoulders above his subsequent work.

This blends East Asian comics style with street art in the way that late ‘90s and early ‘00s American pop culture loved, but at the same time, the wo
Jorge Ponce
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best things that I’ve ever come across. Wow. Just wow. I can’t remember the last time I read/saw/experienced something where it was so palpably obvious the writer/drawer/creator was just having so-much-f*king-fun! “Multiple Warheads”, you’re next.
Mateen Mahboubi
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Similar to Multiple Warheads. Enjoyed the world that Graham built for King City.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. There is a lot of charm to this book. Some beautiful and detailed art - interesting and engaging story. Lots of potty humor. Hardly perfect but a fun read.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this. The titular city is full of character and the storytelling is full of whimsy. But the female characters are wafer thin (figuratively and literally) and the overarching plot is just crime cliches.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
King City collects Brandon Graham's comic series about a Cat Master (!!!) named Joe, who spies, fights demons, and helps his friends in the gritty and bizarre King City. With the help of his supergenius weaponized cat, Earthling, Joe can pick locks, infiltrate gang hideouts, and beat up bad guys galore. Though he's an adept fighter and spy, Joe is also quite juvenile. He relies on his friend, Pete, for a place to sleep, and he can't seem to get over his ex, Anna. Both Anna and Pete have their ow ...more
Andy Zeigert
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was late to the Brandon Graham train. I first encountered him on Image's recent PROPHET reboot, where his writing (along with Simon Roy's fantastic art) impressed. I only later discovered that Graham was an artist as well, and that Image had conveniently collected his Catmaster opus into an impressive tome just in time for me to want it.

Graham is endlessly creative here. Each page is packed with jokes and sci-fi goodies, and following King City's signage and graffiti is fun. He even includes c
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved every panel of this book. This is comics at it's best.

Brandon Graham uses the medium here to its full potential. It really feels like he has had a ball creating every panel. This book is a total joy to read. Its full of jokes, imaginative plots and action, sexy women and even a crossword and board game!

The idea of the cat masters is brilliant and hilarious, and is not the only star of the story. The city of King City itself is greatly imagined and realized, lovingly bought to life with e
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a very entertaining science fiction story from an author/artist with a unique vision and a lot to offer. Where else are you going to read a near-future urban-dystopia sci-fi epic that revolves around harnessing the hidden powers of cats? There are a lot of silly, fun things going on in here too--young men bugging out about pretty women, fart jokes, etc--but in the end the three main characters are highly fleshed out, flawed, believable humans and all of them are both sympathetic and impe ...more
Peter Derk
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: petestop0f2012

I didn't know what to expect from this one, a collection written and illustrated by a dude who was making his nut drawing pornographic comics, but wow.

If you're into punky, Transmetropolitan-type stuff, this is a great read. It's creative, new, and almost every page has something new to offer, whether it be a zombie war in Korea or a cat that can duplicate a key by swallowing it.

With this kind of comic, I often worry that it will just come out like a bunch of nonsense, a bunch of cool ideas
Emily Joyce
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brandon Graham has a singular skill for world building that I think is one of the best in the graphic novel/comics arena. Every page is full of detail and allusions to a universe that I can only glimpse but I know lives in full detail inside Graham's head. King City has a stronger narrative voice than other works I've read by Graham, including Multiple Warheads and Prophet, but as always the art is brimming with dizzying jokes and messages that leaves me investigating pane by pane. There's so mu ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Marmoset there'd be days like this."

Awesome artwork, zany story, ridiculous puns. SO MANY PUNS.

On the artwork: one can spend a long, long time digging through backgrounds for jokes.

My only gripe is that while the art on the male characters is fun, varied, and interesting, the female characters are all essentially T&A, with the same face, pouty lips, curvy bodies, and only minor distinctions. Ok, maybe this doesn't apply to the one character that was designed by the author's girlfriend, but even
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The art in this book is incredible. I love the little adolescent moments that jump out of the endless sci-fi adventure romp; like two people sharing a soda on a rooftop, or of a group of friends reading and watching TV on a couch. King City is brilliantly realized as a place, and has a constant over-packed high-concept chaos swirling around it at all times. To me, this chaos makes the simple parts of the book stick out, the little human moments. If I were to have one complaint it is that King Ci ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For me, ironically, the best part of a graphic novel is what you read: the dialog. But it was hard not to get distracted by the stylistic art in this book. The dialog was realistic and great, but the tiny details in every panel made you believe you were in a bustling futuristic metropolis. Amazing book -- and a true steal for the price.
on this, my fourth complete read, I am less moved by its depth of cartooning & barrage of puns, than its bared heart, the ballad of Anna & Max, and how sometimes, rather than the world, its more important to save your friends.
Kyle Muntz
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Yeah this book is one of the coolest things I've ever read. Catmasters are the new Jedi. ...more
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Brandon Graham (born 1976 in Oregon) is an American comic book creator.

Born in Oregon, Graham grew up in Seattle, Washington, where he was a graffiti artist. He wrote and illustrated comic books for Antarctic Press and Radio Comix, but got his start drawing pornographic comics like Pillow Fight and Multiple Warheads (Warheads would go on to become its own comic published by Oni Press in 2007). In

Other books in the series

King City (3 books)
  • King City, Volume 1
  • King City, volumen 2

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