Kim Reaper #1
Writer and Art by: Sarah Graley
Cover: Sarah Graley
Publisher: Oni Press
A review by Nico Sprezzatura.
We’ve all had crushes, but usually not on supernatural folk — the fictional likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and such notwithstanding. But sultry vampires and sexy werewolves are overrepresented in fantasy fiction, and that’s where Kim Reaper comes in.
Written and illustrated entirely by Sarah Graley (Pizza Witch, Rick and Morty: Lil’ Poopy Superstar), Kim Reaper #1 makes a good case for grim reapers as romantic leads.
Not quite evil —they don’t actually kill people themselves— but still dark enough to be appealingly edgy, it’s no wonder why our protagonist Becka would fall for the titular character’s charms. Kim being a hot goth chick doesn’t hurt any, either.
After finally working up the courage to ask her classmate out to a pub, Becka gets a little more than she bargained for, accidently following Kim through a portal to reap the soul of a deceased cat. Needless to say, it gets a lot more weird than that — very, very fast.
Told through winningly cartoonish dialogue and visuals by Graley, Kim Reaper #1 is the perfect jumping on point for fans of shows like Steven Universe and Rick and Morty (which Graley herself produced a licensed comic of) who are looking to dive into a new comic series.
Graley’s art is consistently expressive, and her character designs are all distinct without being tonally disparate. Becka herself is drawn a little chubby with dark skin, which lends some appreciated body positivity to a character who could’ve potentially been more on the conventionally attractive (read: white and skinny) side.
(I also find Becka’s friend Tyler to be exceedingly cute. What can I say? I like scruffy nerds in flannel.)
Additional credit goes to letterer Crank!, who renders Graley’s script with readable text and fun flourishes throughout. I know it sounds obvious to say, but good lettering is essential to a good comic-reading experience. The easier something is to read, the more you actually want to read it, and Crank!’s work here does the job nicely.
Kim Reaper also adds a dash of queer representation for good measure, and that’s never something to ignore — especially outside of comics published by the Big Two, which are admittedly slower to adapt to changing standards of inclusion.
It definitely falls in line with titles of similar sensibilities (like Lumberjanes and Backstagers) in that regard, offering fantastical stories with diverse casts of characters, conveniently all spearheaded by creators who don’t identify as cishet white men. Diversity is a hot button issue in The Discourse right now, and books like Kim Reaper exemplify how valuable diversity can truly be in fiction.
If you’re a fan of cartoons, the supernatural, and a little bit of romance, Kim Reaper should be an easy buy for you. Winningly spooky with humor and heart, you can’t go wrong with a little bit of Kim Reaper’s grim.