"Die Kitty Die" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Astro Comix
Originally published as Die Kitty Die #1 - #4
Written and illustrated by Dan Parent and Fernando Ruiz
Colored by Glenn Whitmore
2016, 132 Pages
Meet Kitty Ravencraft. She's a buxom beauty who happens to be a real-life witch with superpowers and all. Back in the day she was the star of a ton of titles published by Kitty Comics. Now the publisher is facing hard times and decides to do what most others do when sales start to sag: Kill off the main character. We've seen it time and time again from publishers big and small. Just about every major comic character has died in some form or another (not to mention has also come back to life, but we're not going to get into that here). Anyway, the editors decide to kill the actual Kitty in an effort to boost sales, then they'll reboot the book.
Die Kitty Die is a brilliant, satirical look at the comic book industry. Anyone that even casually follows funny books will find a lot to enjoy, as creators Dan Parent and Fernando Ruiz stick their collective tongue out and poke fun at how silly this business can be. You can almost see the folks at Marvel or DC having the same conversations when it comes to planning out events or deaths in future stories. It's not that farfetched, which makes it simultaneously hilarious and a little terrifying.
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It's tough to read Die Kitty Die and not make a comparison to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Parent and Ruiz have both worked at Archie Comics for years. Their art styles match that world, and they're a perfect fit for this story. They capture that classic look and feel while also creating a drop-dead gorgeous main character. Glenn Whitmore's colors provide a very robust and vibrant palette that makes every image pop off the page.
Although Kitty is a literal witch and there are various supernatural elements involved, Die Kitty Die is not a scary book. That's totally OK though. You should not be going in here expecting to be scared, unless of course it's at the fact that this scheme isn't that far from reality. The designs for some of the supporting characters like Dippy the Dead Kid and Lil' Satan are playful and fun, despite dealing with frightening archetypes. Dippy gets especially creepy at a certain point, with a darkness in his eyes that's more unsettling than anything.
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Each chapter of Die Kitty Die opens with pages from a classic Kitty adventure. These are presented in a slightly different style, making them look like old-school comics. Each is filled with gags that are a tad corny, but will always bring a smile to your face. My personal favorite is from the second issue, where we learn of the true origin of Dippy the Dead Kid (aka how he died). It is easily one of the worst – not to mention ridiculous – deaths you'll ever see. It makes you feel sorry for Dippy while also wanting to laugh in his face. What a horrible way to go.
Die Kitty Die is a sexy, spooky comic that never stops being funny. There are jokes on every page and they never fall flat. The pokes and prods at the comic book industry are solid and warranted. It's refreshing to see a book that doesn't take these things so seriously. It's not setting out to redefine the status quo or shake the foundation of this universe forever. It just wants to be fun and it delivers that in spades. I'd read an ongoing Kitty series in a heartbeat. Hell, this would make a great animated show, albeit for older audiences, obviously.