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The Bulletproof Coffin Is Back For More [Essay]

feature by David Brothers, originally published in IMAGE+ #12

BULLETPROOF COFFIN is the brainchild of David Hine & Shaky Kane, and I’ll bet you cash money that you’ve never seen a comic like this before. Hine & Kane have created an entire alternate universe, one populated with characters like the hero Coffin Fly and jungle woman Ramona, and shot through with fourth wall-breaking meta-fiction. You see, the creators exist in the comic, too, as the creators of the characters in question, and the true story of BULLETPROOF COFFIN is not just what the heroes are getting up to, but what troubles befall Hine & Kane as well.

Jealousy, frustration, aggression, anger, and pure unbridled terror infest the pages of BULLETPROOF COFFIN: THE THOUSAND YARD STARE. A large part of the appeal of BULLETPROOF COFFIN is how quickly and efficiently Hine & Kane—the real ones—can make you feel creeped out or uneasy. Hine is ferociously talented and a pro at evoking a mood without overwriting. A caption hinting at something horrible here, a bit of dialogue suggesting something is not quite right there, and you fall into the four-color world on the page, unable to escape until you’re done with the book.
Kane’s art has a similar effect. Nobody can draw a creepy face like Shaky Kane, but even that’s underselling his skills. Kane excels at the absurd from every angle, whether he’s forcing you through a slow zoom into an increasingly exasperated comics creator’s eyeball or depicting a man in a mask making out with a bug-girl. The comic-within-a-comic of the BULLETPROOF COFFIN world feels unreal in all the right ways, a peek into a world where everything is just this side of “not right.”
If you’re looking for a comic to challenge you, one that’ll make you question reality even while you’re having a grand time enjoying unreality, BULLETPROOF COFFIN: THE THOUSAND YARD STARE is the one you’ve been waiting for.


David Brothers was born in the South, became an adult in Oakland, and edits Image+ when he’s not sitting by the dock of the bay. IMAGE+ is an award-winning monthly comics magazine that's packed with interviews, essays, and features about all your favorite Image comics and your first look at upcoming releases.