Kevin Darmanie with Darrell Goza
â€œIf by the gun of one man many a villain will die, then we must question: Who is this man? Is he a hero... ...or should HE be stopped!â€?
“For Kim and Katrina.” -Darrell
Sharp Edges in an Otherwise Smooth World The beginnings of Kulprit didn't start with this publication. It started with another publisher sometime in early 1993. Beatnik Productionâ€™s entrance into the publishing world of independent comics was begun without fanfare or hyperbole. The small, organized and determined group of creators would meet at a comic shop/coffee house in Montclair, New Jersey to plan out their assault on the comics market. Creators were teamed together and would trade pages of stories and artwork so everyone that completed the work would be represented. Some of the luminaries that passed through the meetings were: Kelly Williams, Gary Alexander, David McClain, Eric White, Kevin Darmanie, Mark Alfred, Clarence Coats, Darrell Goza, David Amaker, Ernie Walker, Anthony Thomas and Sharunda Miller. There was even the occasional visit by 'soon to turn pro' creators such as Mike Oeming and once we started to meet at the publisherâ€™s house; Rashida Lewis was known to stop in for a meeting or two as well as prose writer Charles Cascone. All of these creators went on to produce books of their own but it was Kevin Darmanie's Kulprit which was the most ambitious and lengthy project to be undertaken by any of the Beatnik alumni. Even Mark Alfred's 'Magnicor', which makes sixty installments as a serialized web comic, only filled one twenty eight page comic when done as a comic book. Kulprit has had many incarnations prior to this one. It was first done as a three issue comic book of which two prototypes were produced of the first two issues. These were indistinguishable from 'real' comic books except for the printing of the covers. Kulprit was next issued as an ashcan to be shown at comic conventions and trade shows. Then it became a digest series of books, six in all, to be sold through comic shops. There was interest in the book but the format was somewhat skewed, and far too small, for the comic shop venue even though it sold fairly well as a mail order item. There was also a partially filmed live action version with Roger Larode as Kulprit. Then with the proliferation of comics as edgy movie properties, new life was pumped into virtually all comic book products. Kulprit was now a growing concern again, which was fueled, in part, by the information highway which we all now call the world wide web. Kulprit found its way to the web as a web strip and early review responses for the online strips, and digest books, garnered a healthy dose of "We may just have something here" from all the involved creators. (I suspect they secretly knew it all along.) Each one of Kulprit's incarnations had its own unique signature. Each had a different look and with the exception of the digests, weren't always completed. This brings us to the here and now. The product you hold in your hands is the final, definitive version of this iteration of Kulprit. It's the accumulation of all the earlier versions done with an esthetic for this new millennium and done in a format which fits comic shops and bookstores. The creators have tried not to make it too neat, which they felt would take away from the original flavor of the series. They've also collected all the stories, page for page, from the original series with some of the rougher language toned down to accomodate a more general reading audience. I've read it and it looses none of its impact. It's a story you'll experience more than merely read. It's a chilling story that won't insult your intelligence with contrived plot elements and you're guaranteed to be moved by it, one way or another. That was the point of its creation and this format allows it to shine as one massive narrative, as it should have always been done. With this product, the creators had the freedom to truly create their own personal vision and haven't squandered that promise nor taken it for granted. Future stories of Kulprit may yield different insights into this characters way to see or of his own unique vision. It's a dark vision, to be sure, but who ever said the end of every tunnel would be filled with light anyway? Aja Frost for ScriptGraphics
Table of Contents Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
- Page 00 - Page 16b - Page 32b - Page 45b - Page 58b - Page 69b
Conceived & Drawn by KEVIN DARMANIE
Edited & Designed by DARRELL GOZA
DREADLOCKEDNINJA PUBLISHING 147 Halsted Street East Orange, NJ 07018 1 (973) 675-7497 firstname.lastname@example.org dreadlockedninja.com Kulprit is copyright © 1995 Kevin Darmanie, 2003, 2005 copyright © Kevin Darmanie & ScriptGraphics, 2009 copyright © Kevin Darmanie and Dreadlockedninja Publishing. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of Kevin Darmanie, Darrell Goza or Dreadlockedninja Publishing. The stories, characters, institutions and incidents portrayed herein are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions or incidents is coincidental. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. For information concerning products produced by Dreadlockedninja Publishing please stop by the website listed above.
YOU BETTER FORGET YOU SAW THIS... BOY!
Clash with Reality Chapter 1
“It doesn’t matter though, let fate handle it all!”
WHO CAN REASON WITH THE INSANE?
PSYCHOPATHS HAVE THEIR OWN PITIFUL IDEAS AND PHILOSOPHIES; EXCUSES TO HURT, RAPE AND MURDER THE WEAK IN ORDER TO SOOTHE THEIR OWN PAIN. IN THE THREE YEARS THAT I HAVE BEEN MASQUERADING AS AN ILLEGAL DETECTIVE CALLED KULPRIT, I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED SO SICK A MIND AS THAT OF ROBERT BUCHAN. SLICK BASTARD! SO FAR, HE’S AVOIDED THE POLICE. THOSE IDIOTS DON’T EVEN SUSPECT HIM, BUT I HAVE BEEN ON HIS TRAIL FOR THREE MONTHS NOW, GOING BACK TO WHEN HE WAS JUST KILLING YOUNG WOMEN. OH, SO MANY GRIEVING PARENTS, SO MANY TEARS, SO LITTLE PROGRESS IN CATCHING THE KILLER. HE IS NOW KILLING CHILDREN AND I AM THIS CLOSE TO HIM ONLY BECAUSE I ADAPTED MY MIND TO THINK LIKE HE DOES. IN THE PROCESS I HAVE SEEN ASPECTS OF MY SOULD NO MAN SHOULD AND SUFFERED MUCH DEPRESSION FOR IT. THE POLICE HAVEN’T COOPERATED EVEN THOUGH I CALLED AND TOLD THEM MY SUSPICIONS.
SO I WILL CAPTURE AND ARREST BUCHAN MYSELF! Page 1
SO FAR, I HAVE MANAGED TO TRACK BUCHAN TO THESE ABANDONED PRINCE STREET PROJECT BUILDINGS. I KNOW HE’S HERE BECAUSE THE LOCAL TRANSIENTS HAVE IDENTIFIED HIM FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHS I HAVE. THEY SAY THAT THEY HAVE SEEN HIM AROUND THIS BUILDING IN PARTICULAR. ONE THEY AVOID BECAUSE OF ITS STENCH. TYPICAL OF BUCHAN TO BE WHERE THE CRAP IS. I’M TRYING TO BE COCKY AND NOT THINK LIKE HIM IN ORDER TO CATCH HIM. I DON’T WANT TO EVER THINK LIKE HIM AGAIN. I DON’T CARE TO REASON WITH THE INSANE.
SOMEWHERE IN THE BASEMENT OF THE BUILDING KULPRIT JUST ENTERED...
YOUR NAME IS ERIC? TELL ME ERIC, WHO DO YOU LIKE? DO YOU LIKE SKIPPY FROG? I HATE SKIPPY FROG?
DO YOU LIKE DADDY?
MOMMY DOESN’T LET ME SEE DADDY.
DO YOU LIKE MOMMY?
NO !! WHY?
BECAUSE MOMMY HITS ME ALL THE TIME AND SHE LETS MR. MARSHALL HIT ME TOO. HE CALLS ME A FAGGOT WHEN I CRY. SNIFF! Page 3
YOU’RE A NUISANCE. SHHH! DON’T CRY. I UNDERSTAND. I USED TO BE LIKE YOU ONCE. A TROUBLED BOY. BOO HOO!
YES, AND YOUR TEACHER AT SCHOOL SAYS YOU ARE DISPLAYING DISTINCT SIGNS OF ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR.
I DIDN’T KILL MYSELF. GOD DIDN’T KILL ME. INSTEAD, I GREW TO SEE THAT ALL WOMEN, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY SAID, WERE JUST LIKE MOM, OUT OF CONTROL. SO, I SHOWED THEM ALL THAT I WAS IN GODDAMN CONTROL. ROBBIE, DON’T CURSE! SORRY. THE CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN! MY MOTHER BEAT ME SAVAGELY!
SHE SEXUALLY ABUSED ME MANY TIMES. THE BITCH CRITISIZED ME TO TEARS.
I CARRIED THAT RAGE FOR YEARS.
IT SMELLS REAL BAD ROBBIE!!
I’M LOST. BUT YOU’RE THE SEE, YOU’RE YOU’LL BE OKAY PAST KID. ONE I CAN’T STILL PURE, JUST A AS LONG AS YOU DON’T DWELL ON. I CAN ONLY AFFECT CHILD. GOD LOVES GROW INTO ME. I NEED TO BE THE PRESENT. THIS CHILDREN. SURE THAT YOU WON’T, SO MUST ALL END. I’M GOING TO SEND FUNNY, THE YOU TO HEAVEN. LAST TIME I SAID THAT, IT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING.
HERE COMES THE PRESENT!! CLOSER... CLOSER... KULPRIT MOVES CLOSER TO THE SOURCE OF THE FOUL SCENT.
HE WALKS DOWN THE LONG, DARK BASEMENT OF THE OLD BUILDING. THERE IS LIGHT UP AHEAD AND AS HE WORKS HIS WAY TOWARDS IT, HE FINDS HIMSELF THINKING OF THE CHILD...
I HAD A ROUGH CHILDHOOD. I EVEN WONDER IF MY ROLE AS A VIGILANTE IS JUST A REACTION TO THAT.
HOW IRONIC THAT THIS BOY IS ALSO NAMED ERIC. HE REMINDS ME OF MYSELF.
IF I FAIL TO SAVE HIM, IT WOULD BE LIKE I FAILED TO SAVE MYSELF.
HE USES HIS FLASHLIGHT TO COMPREHEND THE FORMS AROUND HIM.
HE FEELS HIS HEART SHRIVEL UP AS COLD EMOTION COURSES ITS WAY THROUGH HIS GUT.
OH GOD! IT WAS THE SMELL OF DEAD CHILDREN.
THEIR CORPSES ARE OUT ON TABLES WITH THEIR THROATS SLASHED. THEIR MUTILATED BODIES LAY IN ORDERED ROWS OF BITTER RITUALISTIC TASTE.
SOME ARE MISSING FINGERS OR LIMBS.
THEY’RE SO YOUNG! TOO YOUNG...
...TO HAVE DIED SO HORRIBLY!!
I’LL KILL HIM!!
THE SCENT, THE SIGHT AND THE EXPERIENCE CHOKE AND OVERWHELM HIM AND HE REACTS QUICKLY TO THE WHISPERS HE NOW HEARS IN THE DISTANCE. HE RUSHES TO THE NEAREST DOOR IN MADNESS... ...AND RAMS INTO IT WITH A FORCE THAT WOULD SHY ANY CRAZED BULL!
...HERE COMES THE PRESENT!!
AS HE ENTERS, HE SEES THE CHILD AND THE OBJECT OF COUNTLESS HOURS OF PURSUIT.
BASTARD! I’LL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF! LET THE BOY GO!
I’M SOOO SCARED! DON’T BE FOOLISH. WE BOTH WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR ERIC.
SHHH! YOURS IS AN EASY SLEEP, CHILD!
DROP THE GUN WACKO!!
GOOD BOY! NOW POPPA IS HAPPY!
AN EASY SLEEP? YOU KILLED 13 WOMEN AND 12 CHILDREN AND NOW I’LL STOP YOU. THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH EVIDENCE HERE TO LOCK YOU AWAY FOREVER.
HA! HA! HA! YOU DON’T GET IT MAN! IF THAT IS THE KIND OF PREDATOR YOU ARE, TODAY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER. ALL THINGS ARE ONE. THIS KID IS THE PAST, YOU ARE THE PRESENT AND I AM YOUR FUTURE. I WAS ONCE SOFT LIKE YOU. BUT I CAME TO SEE THAT MURDER, NO MATTER HOW BRUTAL, CAN SOMETIMES BE JUSTIFIED.
IN YOUR MIND!
WHAT GOES ON IN OUR MINDS IS ALL THAT COUNTS.
WHY THE BOY? LITTLE ERIC MAY GROW TO BE A DEMON LIKE ME OR YOU, SO I’M SENDING HIM HEAVEN BECAUSE HE’S INNOCENT AND I’M ALREADY DAMNED. THAT IS WHERE THOSE OTHER KIDS ARE. THE COOL PART IS THAT THIS’LL GO ON PAST TODAY. I SEE THAT NOW. I’M SO GLAD YOU CAME. YOU ARE THE SON I NEVER HAD, AND YEARS FROM NOW YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY!
DOESN’T MATTER THOUGH, LET FATE HANDLE IT ALL!
OH GOD! NO! ROBBIE!!
S K K K R R R I R TTTTTT ! ! ! HA! HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA!
NNNNRRR RRGGH!! R
AARRRRGH!! Page 11
HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, OOOHH! LOOK, A GUN!! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA.
WHAT WILL YOU DO? TIE ME UP AND TAKE ME AWAY? HA!
THREE YEARS LATER...
MOTHER, YOU DIED AND LEFT ME. MOTHER...MOTHER... WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT YOU. I AM ALL ALONE IN THE WORLD. HOW WILL I HEAL? EVERYTHING THAT I LOVE AND HATE ABOUT MYSELF REMINDS ME OF YOU.
YOUR PRIDE IN MY SUCCESS WAS SO MUCH A PART OF MY SUSTENANCE, I FEEL SO GUILTY FOR HAVING HATED YOU. MY LIFE IS EMPTY. I HATE MYSELF FOR LIVING IT. I WANT TO DIE AND BE WITH YOU MOTHER...
OH GOD! I CAN’T!
ERIC NEPA CRIES HIMSELF TO SLEEP.
Creators Kevin Darmanie
One night, during a difficult summer of 1995, I sat and watched a movie about another darkly dressed, gun blazing vigilante of whom we are quite familiar and made an observation: at one point during the film this ‘hero’ was captured by police and as he was being taken away a news reporter noted that he had killed over a hundred people. I was amazed. Had the audience questioned whether this one was indeed a hero or a crazed person that should be stopped? With so many so-called heroes like this in media, what effect does this have on our concept of justice? What sort of man would do such a thing in reality? From these questions Kulprit was conceived. In the mid 90s amongst the glut of over-published titles on comic shop stands, one would be hard pressed to find an issue that addressed the needs of urban youth. Hip-hop was only at the beginning of its official permeation of everything hip and trendy. The urban esthetic was yet relegated to the underground. Kulprit was a first, a compilation of sincere urban grit. Today there are a number of graphitti styled graphic novels available but I believe that Kulprit stands apart. There are no super heroes to cloud the milieu, no magical happenings or impossible abilities to soften the book’s integrity. Kulprit will continue to express itself starkly, and while I have grown quite a bit since I first created it and many of my opinions have changed, this book will boldly explore the dark side of man’s will and the outcome that ultimately lies ahead. Kevin Darmanie
Darrell Goza Kulprit arose darkly and unapologetic into a world of black and white, independent publishing when grim and gritty was on the upswing. The sad truth of it is that no-one considered the consequences of such a move to the ‘dark side’ of being a ‘hero’. Even now, in this new millenia, we try to make our heroes tough and brutal without a clue as to what that truly means. We hold fast to the notion that a killer can have a heart of gold and would only kill if it’s justified. Here’s the rub: when is it ever justified? Even better, why doesn’t the comic culture explore what it really means to be a killer? When Kevin first asked me to help with Kulprit, I was working full tilt in the comic industry helping many a name professional keep their deadlines. I wore many hats and did whatever it took to get the books out on time. Into this Kevin drops the most unlikely of stories on my desk. It was initially jaring to my senses. I was still steeped in the traditions of regular comic storytelling where the heroes were taken to be ‘good’ underneath whatever actions they deemed necessary to win against ‘evil’. Kevin shattered that myth and got me to look at the underside of, if you will, the conversation about heroism. This wasn’t the fluff found in most books. The story had action, intrigue, and characters that weighed the extremes and many of the shades inbetween. This story isn’t for lightweight reading. It won’t give you the warm and fuzzies. It doesn’t package a hero you can like or one that talks tough but is inherently good (whatever that means). Whether Kulprit will ever find redemption is beyond me. The better question would be, does he need it? Keep in mind, all ‘grim and gritty’ heroes in popular fiction are really Kulprit, once you take away the ‘fake’ justifications for why they do what they do. Darrell Goza
Snippet Reviews of the Digest Series:
“This comic is really well illustrated and written. I especially like the first shot with the car in front of the house and the whole graveyard sequence. In my opinion Kevin could work for any of the major comics publishers if he chose to.” Brien Wayne Powell Ed 4 Time Press
“...Another good one is KULPRIT by Kevin Darmanie Sent to me by Darrell Goza, the editor and letterer of KULPRIT and a superb artist in his own right, this six issue tale is visually intense with art and story that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. A tale of vigilante justice involving pride, anger and examining the price one must pay to be what a person needs to be.” Ian Shires Dimestore
“...I was on the edge of my seat as the hero raced to the lair of a depraved serial murderer, trying to rescue an innocent before it’s too late. The psychological parallels between the killer and the good guy also brought back memories of MANHUNTER (remade as Red Dragon), the first Hannibal Lector movie. But similarities aside, this was a great comic...��� Steve Skeeter Classic Comics Man
“...This is truly excellent work. It’s extremely dark, both in theme and execution (the term “gritty” hardly seems strong enough), and Darmanie’s art style is perfect for the subject matter. The writing is top-notch as well; the hero and villain are both twisted in their own unique and strangely believable ways. Nate Corrigan Captain Spectacular
“...The hero in the story, Eric Nepa, is a man as troubled as courageous. The story is told in a dark and gritty fashion that feels appropriate to the tale. The art and story are well put together and made me think of a thriller worthy of the big screen...” Jeff Phillips Comic Geek Press
Reviewers Small Press sites: http://www.ed4time.com http://www.dimestoreproductions.com http://www.youtube.com/user/ClassicComicsMan http://corriganstudios.tripod.com http://www.comicspace.com/jeffphillips