Tap Dance Killer 1-4 // Review
It usually takes a trade collection to get a review that contains more than one comic here at YDRC. However, exceptions can be made. In the case of the recently released Tap Dance Killer published by Hero Tomorrow Comics, this is a book that deserves all the love it can get.
Tap Dance Killer begins as a labor of love from the duo of Ted Sikora and Nikolaus Harrison. The two share duties, with Sikora writing, colors, and lettering. Harrison does the rest of the art, and also provides the covers. David Baf Gallart has also helped with the colors for the first three issues.
As of issue four, the creative team has shuffled to include Chis Arieswendha on inks, and Nikolaus Harrison is now going by Donny Hadiwidjaja.
Tap Dance Killer throws the reader into the middle of a prison break. The escapee is one actress Nikki St. Clair, an actress with an unfortunate double life. After a local musical with vaudeville performers flops, her stage manager poisoned her and her co-performers, turning them into their characters. While Nikki tries to prove her innocence, she falls back in with the very clown family of crime that was created that night.
Tap Dance Killer is a remarkable comic. The feel of the dialogue comes right from the Bronze Age of comics, when thought balloons were a thing, and when characters liked narrating about themselves just as much as they liked punching people. There is just a touch of Silver Age added, as the Vaude-Villains are all goofy and entertaining characters on the surface and feel like they would have fit in with the Silver Age Joker. Of course, being a modern comic, there is a darker pathos showing up behind several characters’ motivations.
The art is utterly fantastic for this book. The Vaude-Villains look like they stepped right out of the 1920s vaudeville acts, but with a splash of color that helps them leap off the page. Donny Hadiwidjaja’s art is crisp and modern but has a delightful throwback quality that feels like some of the best comics out of the late 80s. Hadiwidjaja has this beautiful quality of body language that makes characters even more expressive than the writing conveys, and it makes the book more immersive as a result.
Ted Sikora has a knack for writing some great dialogue. Character voices are wonderfully written and distinct without falling into the well of accents. The dialogue between characters feels fresh and realistic, but the banter in combat can be downright hilarious. The only thing really holding this book back is the fact that it can’t come with a soundtrack, as Nikki does break into song from time to time and the book feels like it was written and drawn to flow with a soundtrack.
Tap Dance Killer is a bizarre concept, but one that has its roots in some of the best comics published. It winds up being a tribute to the unique nature of comics, and a has a great story about how the villains don’t always wear tights and spandex in life. It’s hard not to respect a book done this well, and it’s something very old school comic fan should at least try.
*Tap Dance Killer was born out of love on Kickstarter, and deserves all the attention it can get. Please visit the website at tapdancekiller.com for more information. Issues are also available on ComiXology.