Krakenprint | Kickstarter
(w) Spencer Desmond (a) Simon Kercz & Kevin Castaniero (c) Derek Dow
Warning: Explicit Content.
Mixed in with all of the new releases at my local comic shop, I noticed a sealed, seemingly small-press title on the stands. It looked like it had been placed there casually by another of the shop’s patrons. With good looking cover and an eye-catching title, it was a blind-buy for me. Before diving in, I did a bit of research to find out what to expect, and it appears that the creators were looking to capture the feel of classic 1970s exploitation films. But it turns out the creators used that film genre as an excuse to produce an over-the-top, profanity-laced, ultra-violent comic with zero substance.
As a medium, comics offer readers a unique manner of storytelling, combining writing with artwork. But Cocaine Disco is not interested in telling any type of story. It is difficult to pick up a distinct narrative that runs from beginning to end. Rather, it appears that the creators stitch together a series of genre tropes together to create the illusion of a story. One of the biggest problems with this book is Desmond’s desire to use profanity ad nauseum. While grindhouse cinema consisted primarily of nudity, cursing, and violence, it was also executed in a schlocky manner that gave audiences a good laugh. Looking back on those films, there’s almost a sense of charm to their craft. It’s a charm that Cocaine Disco lacks entirely in its quest replace schlock with grit and humor with grim.
In hockey, there’s an expression if a player is in a funk that they are “squeezing their stick too hard,” and it’s the perfect analogy here. Despite being a tribute to exploitation films, it tries to hard to be shocking. As a result, the book is just unpleasant. There’s nothing more satisfying than a well placed “fuck.” And in certain situations, a string of “fucks” can work to great comedic effect. However, there is no pacing or cadence to the storytelling, and Desmond’s barrage of cursing throughout the issue is just haphazard and ill-timed. It’s as if he’s just throwing them around because his parents aren’t around to scold him.
If you happen to see Cocaine Disco at your comic shop, I’d recommend going in a different direction. Rarely does a comic let me down, and I understand the time and energy that goes into creating something like this. However, my disappointment outweighs my empathy. The book wants to pay homage to grindhouse cinema, but it’s just a grind.