Writing and art by Gabriel Hardman
I'm going to be up front on this: I enjoyed Kinski. It was a thoroughly enjoyable comic from start to finish. There's just one problem that can't get out of my head: what does it mean?
Kinski is about Joe, a man who, on a business trip, finds a stray dog by the hotel. What starts as trying to take care of the dog turns into obsession as he steals the dog back from its owners and is even willing to sacrifice his job...all in the name of a dog he doesn't own.
Needless to say, Kinski is a little weird. It's not bizarre-weird, it's not mind-screwy weird. It's just weird in the sense that the story is decidedly offbeat. Joe's clearly obsessed with the dog, but the obsession never becomes entirely creepy, just obsessive. There's never any reason given for his obsession, either. It's not supernatural, there's no backstory. His coworker asks “Did you have a dog as a kid?” but there's no response. We're just thrown into this story and we're told to deal with it.
And maybe that's what makes this comic so enjoyable. It's not lingering too hard on the symbolism or the meaning behind things. Everything that happens is moving forwards in the story. If Joe talks to someone, they have a meaning in the story. When the dog gets lost in a trailer park, he climbs up on a roof, which leads into an argument that distracts him from his search. Hardman's art is similarly straightforward. Detailed as much as it needs to be, the lack of color showing just what it needs to show. He's telling a story, and anything the reader gets out of it may just be inconsequential.
So I'll admit that if there's further meaning here I don't know it. But I guess I don't care. Kinski is wholly unique, neither dark nor light, neither deep nor shallow. It's a story and you either enjoy it or you don't, and I happened to enjoy it.