cover image Grass Kings

Grass Kings

Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins. Boom! Studios, $17.99 (176 p) ISBN 978-1-68415-379-4

In this lushly drawn graphic novel, Robert and his brothers rule the Grass Kingdom, a sovereign nation somewhere in modern-day rural America whose residents consider themselves independent from the government and outsiders. When Robert takes in Maria, a woman on the lam, a standoff develops between the Grass Kingdom and the neighboring town of Cargill, whose corrupt sheriff has been waiting for an excuse to organize a raid. The conflict between outlaw homesteaders and lawmen bent on vengeance has the form of a modern-day western, but Kindt lends a broader scope with flashbacks across the violent history of the area and the sense that, over the centuries, “this patch of earth has been earned.” Though the Grass Kingdom is a weedy trailer park community, Jenkins’s carefully observed, jewel-toned watercolor art imbues a sense of magic, as the inhabitants see it: a fantasy kingdom of woods and fields, sunset-drenched farmhouses, and eccentric makeshift homes such as a houseboat lodged in a tree. The first volume resolves the central plot while setting up a mystery around a long-missing serial killer to carry the story into future installments. Elegiac in tone, this story and its fictional world are drawn with rich details that make it seem possible for the reader to stroll right in. Agent: Charlie Olsen at Inkwell Management (July)