The world is a dangerous and terrifying place… but you have to laugh, don’t you? Eisner and Harvey Award winning creator Kyle Baker thinks so. His new series from Image Comics, Special Forces, is a skewed and madcap look at the war on terror.
Another SVA grad, Baker is known for his creator-owned series including I Die At Midnight, You Are Here and Why I Hate Saturn, but made a different kind of splash in the media with the Marvel Comic mini-series Truth which told the story of an African American Captain America that predated the Steve Rogers character.
More recently he revitalized Jack Cole‘s creation Plastic Man for DC Comics in one of the most universally popular and praised new series of recent years. Ofcourse it was canceled after only a handful of issues… lovingly collected in hilarious trade paperbacks.
His amazing style, whimsical line work and sense of humor have made him popular with traditional readers of comic books and those of the high-brow ‘I don’t like super-heroes’ set. I love it when that happens.
The cross-over between super hero comics and ‘serious’ comics is one that can only make everyone happy. It relaxes the shoulders of the art set, showing them that super hero comics can be fun and introduces the fanboy crowd to a whole new group of creators that are worthy of being added to the collection.
His controversial Superman’s Babysitter story (where an unwitting babysitter watches Superbaby survive numerous hair-raising deadly situations, including sticking his finger in a light socket and getting stuck in a microwave) was struck from a DC Special only to appear in the infamous 2001 Bizarro Comics collection (named after the cooky Superman villain who gets everything mixed up in his head, Bizarro Comics was a collection of stories created by Bizarro, interpreted by the artists) featuring underground and independent artists such as Paul Pope, Eddie Campbell and Jay Stephens and a cover by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The experiment was a success and lead to a second collection entitled Bizarro World in 2006.
In Special Forces, it seems that Kyle Baker is setting himself up as a kind of political satirist. With the war effort in the comic book series entering a fever pitch, the US military has become desperate to recruit just about anyone willing to be shot at in a dry climate. The central characters are the standard comedic types seen in your typical Mad Magazine sketch… the fat guy, the crazy guy, the crook and the sexy sociopath.
While Baker maintains that the series does not have a message, it does take the news that has made the world sleep a little less calmly each day and turned it into a sick joke… or maybe it was sick all along, I’m not sure.
Baker can see the series appealing the mindset of films such as M*A*S*H or Stripes. “It’s exactly like those two films, also ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ and ‘Catch-22.’ Every generation needs their war comedy.”
For more on Kyle Baker and his animation, visit his website kylebaker.com.
‘Special Forces’ hits the stands August 22, 2007.
Plastic Man: On the Lam
Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits
Truth: Red, White & Black
Kyle Baker Cartoonist
Bizarro Comics (Bizarro)
Bizarro World (Bizarro)
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Special Edition)
Stripes (Unrated Extended Cut)