Grim Leaper #1
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art by Aluisio Santos
Release Date: May 30, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50
The work of Kurtis Wiebe should, by all traditional standards, work against itself. On one hand, Wiebe writes the supernatural with a vivid sense of all the horror and terrors that often come with it. On the other hand, Wiebe has a comedic timing to his writing that is a joy to read all of its own. Those two elements combined, the horrible and the absurd, have typically kept a wide berth from one another for the past few decades in comics. Combining things so brutal and inhuman with the things that force us to crack a smile is not only an uphill battle, it’s a vertical plummet. Wiebe has proven to readers with his work on Peter Panzerfaust, that he is capable of handling this tall double order. Grim Leaper #1 is another fantastic example of Wiebe’s ability to both delight and terrorize his readers.
The premise of Grim Leaper #1 at first may seem complex, but is actually fairly straightforward. The stories protagonist Lou is, for one reason or another, caught in a nightmarish cycle of death. Meaning that, almost daily, Lou is brutally murdered then placed into the body of another soon to be victim. There is neither rhyme nor reason to why this is happening, only that he continues to be reincarnated in his hometown. Right off the bat, Wiebe ties the story in heavily with the theme of love. As we first meet Lou he is attempting to pick up a woman at his own funeral, just before he is brutally disposed of. In these moments of Grim Leaper #1, Wiebe shows off his abilities as a multi-dimensional writer. The tone and dialogue that Wiebe creates as someone has their head torn off is both shocking and hilarious. In a sense, Wiebe has created Groundhog Day with much, much more violence.
Artist Aluisio Santos is the ideal person to have illustrating this comic. His cartoon-inspired style keeps Grim Leaper #1 from getting bogged down with too much darkness. Smoke from cigarettes hang hard and solid in the air and characters are drawn with sharp clean lines, giving Grim Leaper #1 a very stylistic feeling. The tone of this comic is definitely supposed to be more light than dark and Santos makes this clear from panel one.
Grim Leaper #1 is a genuinely fun comic. There is a time and place for comics to be serious and make us ponder the human condition. Fortunately, Wiebe understands that the events that transpire in issue one of Grim Leaper are neither the time nor the place. Grim Leaper #1 is a dark comedy wrapped in a love story that is too good to pass up.