Hero Tomorrow's Tap Dance Killer Injects Comics with Fresh Ideas

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Tap Dance Killer 1

I was heavy into comics when Vertigo cut its teeth, bringing to comics weirdness for weirdness' sake. It was fun at first, but after a while many of the titles got to where I simply needed to be on the same drugs as the writer to get the context and narrative, and I wasn't willing to go that far.

TAP DANCE KILLER, however, brings a weirdness of a different kind. With a Troma-style plotline and an outrageous cast of characters, TAP DANCE KILLER manages to bring the readers a weirdness that doesn't lose them, posing a series of unanswered questions that don't require immediate answers to understand what's going on.

Who is the titular Tap Dance Killer? Is she a hero or a villain? Well, it's easy to see she's the latter. She's part of a vaudeville-themed group known as the Vaudevillains, and their origin is the simplest thing in the world: they were actors slipped a magic mickey that made them believe they were the characters they were portraying. How does that work? Why was it done? Will it wear off? We don't care! It's neat, clean, and simple and doesn't acknowledge that it leaves so much unanswered -- it just moves on full-throttle from there and drowns out your whiny inquiries by turning the volume up louder.

Nikki St. Clair -- our enigmatic anti-heroine -- enters our hearts as she exits her prison by running up a 30 foot wall. How does she do that? We don't know, we don't care. Action! As she escapes, we get a flashback of the origin of the Vaudevillains -- done in a simple two-page setup. That's what comic professionals used to call "condensed storytelling," and it's an all-but-lost art. Suffice it to say, the actors become the real thing, and they're suddenly set to taking on a mob family, which is what lands sweet Nikki in prison, where revenge awaits.

But the Vaudevillains continue to act without Nikki, and are growing their ranks. Their latest recruit is a washed-up and done-dirty boxer, whose transformed into a super-strong killer clown named Punchline. Seriously, how has a character with such a great name and simple power not been invented in comics already?

TAP DANCE KILLER is a spinoff from writer Ted Sikora's APAMA, THE UNDISCOVERED ANIMAL. I had an encounter with this concept quite a few years ago when it was being introduced as an independent film. I don't remember too much about it, sadly, other than that it was wonderfully weird and I knew there was going to be a comic book series based out of it. And like too many great independent books, it seemed to have gotten lost in the marketplace of ideas, swamped by X-this and Bat-that.

Well, sod all that. Comics readers need a palate cleanser, and TAP DANCE KILLER is just the thing! With old school layouts, refreshing writing, and sharp pencils done in classic comic book style by Nikolaus Harrison, TAP DANCE KILLER is something you need to tell your local comic shop guy to order for you. And if you can't get it there, then visit Hero Tomorrow's online store and get it there. (I hear online ordering is the market model all the cool kids are using anyway.)

TAP DANCE KILLER is like finding new old stock of 1970s Marvel Comics that never got released. They're original, unique, and know how to use the dynamic storytelling medium of comics. That's something we've waited 40 years to get.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0