This book…This one’s one of those books that comes around every once in a while when you’re so caught up in the heroics of the big two, Marvel and DC, as well as the few indie titles you finally decided to dip your toe into, that just catches you off guard and takes you back to a simpler time. When comics were just that. Comic books. There wasn’t all this talk of cinematic universes and such, they were just a cornerstone of geek culture that was respected for being a niche market that practically anyone could get into if they didn’t feel intimidated by cliches like “aren’t you all just the fat comic guy from the Simpsons?” Tap Dance Killer #1 and #2 were sent in for our Indie Showcase by the writer Ted Sikora. So let’s talk about what happens when a Cleveland girl gets pulled into the criminal underworld in Tap Dance Killer and See if it’s a good read.
Tap Dance Killer #1 & #2
Written and Lettered By: Ted Sikora
Art By: Nikolaus Harrison
Colored By: David Baf Gallart & Ted Sikora
What’s it all about? Tap Dance Killer #1 tells the story of Nikki St Claire who after acting in a theater production about the Tap Dance Killer and is dosed with a substance that locks her in her theater persona. After going on a criminal rampage, she escapes prison to rejoin her gang and take over Cleveland from the Mob that tried to have her killed. While Issue #2 reveals more about Miss St Clair as well as her new partner Punchline. Who I kid you not is literally luke cage minus the powers and in a clown suit. Wronged by the system and everyone his entire life, Drayton Hayes…you know what? I’ll let you read it for yourself.
Opinions and such: As said in the intro, Tap Dance Killer is one of those books that doesn’t come around often enough. It has a very old school feel almost in the vain of like also said previously Luke Cage or Daredevil or Batman where if you pulled this plot up from its roots and replanted it in the Marvel Knights era of comics or any random time in Gotham City, Nikka St Claire as the Tap Dance Killer could definitely be an intimidating threat to a lower to the street type of hero. It almost makes me wish the Publisher, Hero Tomorrow Comics, had their own group of heroes to combat this crime wave. However growing up in Akron much like Sikora himself, it does seem odd that the mob would be in modern-day Cleveland Ohio. Now maybe something like the corporate mob similar to a book like Sam Wilson: Captain America, but otherwise this almost feels like it needs a bigger city or maybe even needs to be a period piece.
The other, of very few gripes I have with these two issues, is that they try to throw everything in the pot and feed it to you all at once. Every ounce of plot they can even rushing Nikki’s escape to immediate thrust back into crime, you barely have time to get used to characters before others are introduced. It feels as if the creative team felt if they didn’t throw everything at the reader to make a good impression, they wouldn’t stay engaged. You could have devoted a few issues to Nikkie readjusting to the crime life and maybe doing her time in jail as scattered flash-backs instead of one giant one in the first issue. You could have had her go to her house before the mob burns it down and maybe have a flashback to why she and her mom have issues with one another in issue 2. They totally jammed Punchline in the first issue and he could have easily been saved for a few more issues but like I said, maybe they didn’t have the allotted time or were fearful of not engaging readers.
The art is very well done especially for an Indie book in today’s market. No weird faces no contorted bodies, good detailing for the style they’re going for, it feels very 80’s/90’s hence why this book could easily have been an 80’s period book or even earlier if it was styled in full black and white. Major props to artist Nikolaus Harrison for his hard work here.