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Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker

Written by Arion on Tuesday, June 11 2013 and posted in Blog

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Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker
“It could be so much more than just a murder-- I mean rape, sodomy, kiddie porn, genital mutilation…” But don’t be afraid, it could be, but that doesn’t mean it is. Welcome to the world of “Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth”, a miniseries that some will find unsettling and others, at the very least, politically incorrect. And that’s what’s so unique about it. 

It is quite refreshing to see a creative team tackling on subjects that many would consider controversial. I don’t think it is gratuitous to find the name of filmmaker Todd Solondz in the “thank you” section. And clearly, the authors have found inspiration in Solondz, because as a director he has always pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in American movies. The twisted characters in Solondz’s Happiness, for instance, share a certain resemblance with the protagonists of “Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth”.
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker
Todd is so ugly that he wears a mask /
Todd es tan feo que usa una máscara

Kristensen and Perker, however, have included satire. And lots of it. With so much black humor, parody and a healthy dosage of sarcasm I have laughed many times. And I think this makes it easier for the reader to feel identified with this group of grotesque characters. Todd’s father is a homophobic and an alcoholic, but he is so over the top that you can’t help but to laugh at him, not with him, but at him. Todd’s mother is a promiscuous woman. Both parents are complete losers, but they don’t even know it.

And what about Todd? The protagonist is just your average friendless kid except for one thing: he’s ugly, he’s very ugly. He’s so ugly that not even a serial killer specialized in murdering children takes him for a victim. He takes one good look at him and says, sorry but “I only kill beautiful children”. Talk about a sensitive homicide. 

After being framed, Todd ends up in jail. His chances of survival are slim, and when he’s in the shower with the other prisoners the classic “don’t drop the soap” moment takes place. However, only Todd’s innocence saves him from being assaulted as he bends over to pick up the soap. Quickly, one of the inmates decides to protect Todd’s life. Curiously, this particular character has been based on a man who actually went to jail and managed to redeem himself, this man was Danny Trejo’s friend as the actor confirms in a very interesting text.
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker
Don't drop the soap / Que no se te caiga el jabón

Eventually, through a series of absurd and lighthearted peripecies, Todd is released, his father returns home, his mother stops having sex with men for free… and basically the status quo is preserved. I think this miniseries started with a very aggressive proposal, and somehow it got toned down. Nevertheless, it will become an ongoing, and I’m not sure if that’s a good idea, but I guess that’s the reason for maintaining plotlines as they were instead of taking the risk of pushing forward. I don’t think I’ll be picking up the ongoing series, but I wouldn’t discourage readers who want to try out what started as a very risky four-issue miniseries (be warned, though, this is not a typical comic and some might find it offensive).

Perker has changed her usual artistic style, and instead of the more serious tone that we can find in her Vertigo’s series “Air”, here she takes exaggerated personality traits and turns them into a loose, cartoonish style that certainly befits this unusual tale. 
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker

"Podría ser mucho más que sólo un asesinato-- quiero decir violación, sodomía, porno infantil, mutilación genital..." Pero no se asusten, podría ser pero eso no significa que lo sea. Bienvenidos al mundo de "Todd, el chiquillo más feo de la Tierra", una miniserie que algunos encontrarán perturbadora y otros, por lo menos, políticamente incorrecta. Y eso es lo que la hace única.

Es bastante refrescante ver a un equipo creativo lidiando con temas que muchos considerarían controversiales. No creo que sea gratuito encontrar el nombre del cineasta Todd Solondz en la sección de agradecimientos. Y claramente, los autores han encontrado inspiración en Solondz, porque como director él siempre ha ido más allá de los límites de lo que era aceptable en las películas de Estados Unidos. Los retorcidos personajes de Solondz en "Happiness", por ejemplo, comparten una cierta similitud con los protagonistas de "Todd, el chiquillo más feo de la Tierra". 

Sin embargo, Kristensen y Perker incluyen la sátira. Y por montones. Con tanto humor negro, parodia y una saludable dosis de sarcasmo he podido reír muchas veces. Y creo que así es más fácil que el lector se identifique con este grupo de grotescos personajes. El padre de Todd es un homofóbico y un alcohólico, pero es tan exagerado que no puedes dejar de reírte de él, no con él, sino de él. La madre de Todd es una mujer promiscua. Ambos padres son perdedores completos, pero ni siquiera se dan cuenta.

¿Y qué hay de Todd? El protagonista es el típico niño sin amigos excepto por una cosa: es feo, es muy feo. Es tan feo que ni siquiera un asesino en serie especializado en matar niños lo acepta como víctima. Le da un vistazo y le dice lo siento pero "sólo mato a niños bonitos". Vaya un homicida sensible.
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth - Ken Kristensen M.K. Perker

Luego de ser falsamente acusado, Todd termina en la cárcel. Sus posibilidades de sobrevivir son escasas, y cuando está en la ducha con los otros prisioneros, el clásico momento de "se cayó el jabón" ocurre. Sin embargo, sólo la inocencia de Todd lo salva de ser abusado al agacharse para recoger el jabón. Rápidamente, uno de los presos decide proteger la vida de Todd. Curiosamente, este personaje en particular ha sido basado en alguien que estuvo en la cárcel y se las arregló para redimirse, este hombre era amigo de Danny Trejo, como confirma el actor en un texto muy interesante.

Eventualmente, luego de una serie de peripecias absurdas y desenfadadas, Todd es liberado, su padre regresa a casa, su madre deja de tener sexo con otros hombres sin cobrar... y básicamente el status quo es preservado. Creo que esta miniserie empezó con una propuesta muy agresiva, y de algún modo todo se suavizó. No obstante, se convertirá en una serie regular y no estoy seguro de que eso sea una buena idea, pero supongo que esa es la razón para mantener las líneas argumentales intactas en lugar de arriesgarse a ir más allá. No creo que vaya a comprar la serie regular, pero no desalentaría a los lectores que quieran probar lo que empezó como una muy riesgosa miniserie de cuatro números (aunque quedan advertidos, este no es un cómic típico y algunos podrían considerarlo ofensivo).

Perker ha cambiado su habitual estilo artístico, y en vez de un tono más serio como el que encontramos en la serie de Vertigo “Air”, aquí ellatoma  rasgos de personalidad exagerados y los transforma en un estilo suelto, caricaturesco que ciertamente encaja con este inusual relato.

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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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