Monday, 17 November 2014

Kinski by Gabriel Hardman Review

A lunatic comes across a dog who’s run off from his owners and immediately decides to adopt and rename him Kinski. Why? Because he’s a lunatic (a bit like Klaus Kinski, the actor, whom the dog is named after). Even though dogs – especially puppies – get overexcited and run off on their own all the time and can’t find their owners again, he interprets it as a sign that it wants to escape its owners who must be neglectful and/or abusive. 

He does find the puppy tied to a post in the backyard after the owners find him again, but a lot of owners do that to their dogs – it’s not immediately a sign of abuse. But that’s all Loony Man (the character’s name is Joe but Looney Man is a more accurate label) needs before he spirits the dog away from its family. 

Kinski is such an odd comic, I’m surprised Gabriel Hardman felt so strongly about it to turn it into a miniseries at all. The main character is out of his mind nuts – in the instant he sees the puppy he’s willing to lose his job and home just to be with it. Then his life goes even further to hell and he spends his last bit of cash to be with it again after he finds out its been sent to Mexico. 

Does that mean this book is an examination into the mental state of Looney Man? Not really because there’s no insight and the story is very straightforward. It really is just about an unbalanced chap’s obsession with a dog. 

To be fair, the male owner of the dog is a bit of a dick, tying Kinski to a pole and then dumping him in Mexico when he feels the dog is coming between him and the female owner. But Looney Man really shouldn’t be stealing other peoples’ dogs, especially when the woman and her son dearly loved Kinski. 

It’s such a strange story, and Hardman does write/draw it well, that you do get caught up in it to an extent, if only to see how something like this plays out. But the ending is a bit too generic and feel-good for my liking. I think we were supposed to root for Looney Man, but I couldn’t and every beating he took I felt was deserved. Also, the message seems to be, steal any dog you like – it might just turn your life around! 

Kinski’s definitely not a must-read comic but it’s an unusual and quite readable one though its unlikely to make a lasting impression. I still have no clue who the audience for this book would be though – maybe other crazy people?


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