Wil 2013 be the year of Larime Taylor? The Outhouse says hell yes!
Mark our words: Larime Taylor's A Voice in the Dark will be a sleeper hit in 2013, catapulting the cartoonist (that's a fancy word for a creator who both writes and draws his comics) to the upper echelon of comic book industry elite. And that's not just wishful thinking on our parts based on the concept that, since we're friends with Taylor now, he'll feel obligated to be nice to us even after the bigger sites are kissing his butt. No, it's an informed opinion based on Taylor's Kickstarter success combined with the quality storytelling going on in A Voice in the Dark #1, a comic which we've gotten to read before it's even been picked up by a publisher because we're super important like that.
You may remember the buzz around Taylor's project a few months ago, when it was covered by Bleeding Cool, Newsarama, and, most importantly, The Outhouse. The Kickstarter was a runaway success, earning over six times its $1500 goal by the deadline of October 1. Riding high on that momentum, Taylor has completed the first issue of A Voice in the Dark (formerly known as Dark Zoey), and he's now shopping it around to publishers.
A Voice in the Dark stars college freshman Zoey Aarons, a typical 18 year old girl with a dark secret; Zoey has been plagued by the "urge" to kill for as long as she can remember. To make things more interesting, it's an urge she recently acted on. But was the murder an act of revenge for her adopted sister Seven, or was that just an excuse for Zoey to act out her dark desires? We're sure to find out soon enough, because Cutter's Circle, California, the site of Zoey's Blair College, is home to the highest population of serial killers in the country, which is something that will surely be explored on Zoey's talk radio show on KILL FM.
Obviously, this isn't a superhero comic, but it's also not a literary circle jerk like indie books that take themselves too seriously can become. A Voice in the Dark finds a happy middle ground and should appeal to fans of both. It's accessible, the characters are relatable, and the potential for storytelling is huge with an entire town of serial killers to explore along with Zoey's more normal college life in a dorm full of sexy co-eds.
No less than five plots are introduced in the first issue. How will Zoey adjust to college life with roommates? Will the detective who questioned her about the murder of Anna Turner catch on to her lies? What really happened between Anna and Seven that resulted in Anna outing Seven as a lesbian and "ruining her life?" Can Zoey control her urges, which manifested in issue one as a fantasy of strangling the program director who agreed to give Zoey a talk radio show? And what about the other killers in town? Taylor sets all these things up effortlessly in issue #1, and it will be rewarding to see them play out, as well as to find out what else Taylor has in store for the characters.
Speaking of Taylor, who is this new creator? On the Dark Zoey Kickstarter page, Taylor describes himself as a "disabled mouth-artist [who] writes, draws, and letters the story of a young woman with a dark secret - she's a serial killer." What the heck is a mouth artist? It's exactly what it sounds like: Taylor, unable to draw with his hands, draws with a pen in his mouth. Obviously, Taylor, who self-publishes under the label Gimp Comics, isn't shy about this. He flaunts it, as well he should. How many of you will use your mouth to draw a realistic looking Chevy Blazer in 2013? Yeah, that's what we thought.
Taylor's lines are crisp and clean, which makes sense. Going for some kind of Jim Lee or Rob Liefeld style cross-hatching style might give him whiplash. :P Instead, the book's art is evocative of something like Morning Glories, Hack/Slash, or Welcome to Tranqulity, all of which are also in some way similar in tone.
Despite being kind of cartoonish in style, Taylor's sparse lines convey a wide breadth of emotion in the characters. Every panel has a background, drawn, not photoshopped, which immediately puts him ahead of many of the artists working for the big two. One might not believe that a character's tongue hanging out of her mouth like a cartoon dog as she's being (fantasy-)strangled could evoke horror, but that's the sort of pleasant paradox you'll find in A Voice in the Dark.
Just as disability can't stop Larime Taylor from making a kick-ass comic, it shouldn't be considered a gimmick either. Just put it out of your mind - A Voice in the Dark is easily on par, in quality of concept, writing, and art, with the successful books at Image, Dark Horse, Oni, and other companies where the book is sure to end up being published.
So what are you waiting for, publishers? A Voice in the Dark is a great book that readers will enjoy. Taylor is a proven success on Kickstarter. And we like him, which means the book will benefit from exposure to our dozens of readers. Larime Taylor's A Voice in the Dark is a breakout hit that just needs one of you to send it to press and put it in comic shops. After that, you just sit back, let the comic sell itself, and reap the profits.
And we'll reap the exclusive interviews and announcements our early support of the book has surely earned us. It's win-win. Scott Allie? Erik Larson? James Lucas Jones? "Fat" Bob Kirkman? Are you listening?