Created by Matt Kindt
What the hell?
First time we meet this VERGE guy in the 2023 comic mini-0series, Subgenre, he’s some kinda hard-boiled private dick living in a not-too-distant high-tech future with Ray, a Siri-like virtual assistant hovering around his head like some cyber Tinkerbell, warning him there’s someone trying to break into his apartment—the next moment there’s some lance-wielding ninja doofus (clad all in pink, no less) trying to kill him.
Okay, so we’re not in Kansas anymore.
True, there are some familiar touchstones. As the self-conscious Verge admits (while dragging the dead intruder out into the hall):
“I’ll be honest. I do fall into the cliché of the deadbeat private detective. Can’t pay the bills. Living paycheck to paycheck. At least I don’t have a drinking problem. And I hate jazz music. I like to think I’ve broken the mold just a little bit.”
And then he’s off to meet a client. He’s just landed a big case, working for Decipher Cosmics, a giant multi-media corporation (they make “the best stuff”), who want him to investigate the murder of three dead men left in a bloody mess at corporate headquarters—whose pink garb matches that of the guy he dumped in his hallway that morning.
Except, he notes, his guy wasn’t “wasn’t cut to pieces.”
Turns out the dead men were members of a book-collecting cult (they call themselves “I.P. agents”) with possible ties to a wealthy local woman who recently caused a scene at Decipher Cosmics. With the help of Ray (seems she’s been illegally augmented) , Verge tracks her down and discovers that she’s some oddball eccentric who-GASP!—reads and collects books ON PAPER!, with a soft spot for pulp fiction.
And then we’re free-falling down the rabbit hole of AI and art and their messy intersection, where genres rub furiously against each other, where algorithms rule and human creativity may be more theoretical than anything, and Verge finds himself awakening to another reality, where he’s a Mohawked, broadsword-wielding barbarian, Ray is a sprite, magic is real—and the place is crawling with more of those decidedly unfriendly pink ninjas.
I dunno. It’s all pretty weird; a trippy mix-and-match hybrid, reminiscent of Robert J. Randisi and Kevin D. Randle’s similarly genre-bouncing Once Upon a Murder (1987). Still, if you don’t mind a little genre doubling-dipping, you may get a kick out of this one. The art could be a little pulpier (as it is, I found it a little dry), but it’s serviceable enough, and the plot itself will have your brain bouncing around like a pinball.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Kindt is an American comic book writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer. His comic wor includes MIND MGMT and BRZRKR (written with Keanu Reeves, and as of this writing the first issue of which is the highest-selling single issue of the 21st century). Other comic work includes Dept. H, Revolver, 3 Story, Super Spy, 2 Sisters, and Pistolwhip. His work has been published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German.
- SUBGENRE | Kindle/ComiXology it!
(2023, Dark Horse/Flux House Books)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.