Armed and Dangerous (1995) by Mezzo and Pirus
Kitchen Sink had previously published a few albums that had originated with the French publisher Zenda — but in conjunction with Heavy Metal (who had the same owners as Kitchen Sink). This is a pure Kitchen Sink publication (since Kitchen Sink had been bought by Ocean, presumably).
I wonder whether this odd lettering is a remnant from the Heavy Metal serialisation? If Heavy Metal has a smaller trim size, perhaps they had to do it this way to avoid having the text cut off at the bottom? But in this album, it just looks really wonky.
Anyway, this starts off great — it’s very mysterious and incredibly stylish.
We’re soon introduced to a large cast of characters and a pretty complicated plot involving two bank heists, some corrupt cops, crime bosses, an incestuous family, a developmentally challenged spy guy, and and…
As with the other Zenda books, the creators here are young, and this is among the first things they published. And the artwork seems really, really derivative, and this time it’s influenced by Charles Burns (and Marti). But man, they really go for it, and it’s kinda mesmerising to look at.
But I’m wondering whether the translation is a bit wonky? Sometimes what they’re saying doesn’t quite seem to track…
And there’s a lot of exposition.
But then we leave this bank heist scenario, and the last half of the album is a domestic drama involving that family (and the first bank heist) and the corrupt cop, and then:
Those gangsters up there detailing the bank heist in detail, and then nothing? And the end to the family doesn’t really seem to make much sense either, because it seems to contradict what we’ve been shown is going to happen in the future.
The explanation is that this was published in two albums in France as Les Desarmes. And Kitchen Press only printed the first album in English, and the second has never been translated, apparently.
So… why? Just why? It makes absolutely no sense the way it is, and there’s no hint that there’s a second volume. Just “The End”.
Very strange, but then again, Kitchen Sink was a very odd place by this time.
And I don’t know about the production, but the big problem is that it’s only half the book, and the same half that was featured in the Heavy Metal May 1994 issue. The second half is totally unreprinted in English. It’s like publishing X’Out and then forgetting about ever putting out the continuation.
Perhaps there were rights issues as Zenda had gone bankrupt and been sold by this time.
This is the one hundred and seventy-sixth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.