Graphic Novel News
& Views
Home LinkFeatures LinkReviewsReleaseListAboutUs
The King
Review by James W. Powell

The King

Rich Koslowski
Rich Koslowski
color tones
Adam Wallenta

Top Shelf Productions
Softcover Original
Publish Date
Aug. 10, 2005
Cover Price

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis is back. The pop idol is the center of attention in Rich Koslowski's latest, The King, a beautiful story about faith and the power of believing.

Paul Erfurt hasn't sold a story in years. And when Time asks him to do a story on the supposed return of the King, he takes the assignment with little faith in himself or anything else. What he encounters in Las Vegas may very well change all of that. This man who claims to be Elvis certainly sings like the King, but can it really be him? Thousands of fans certainly think so. But as Paul begins to investigate the story, he finds more than he bargained for.

Koslowski has spun a great mystery into this story. Paul and his private investigator friend, Dave, slowly start to uncover the truth behind the King's return, and it's fun to uncover the facts along with them. Just like any good detective story, there's danger, there's mystery, and a wealth of interesting characters. And when the truth is finally revealed, it ties the story together in a way unimagined at the outset.

But The King is so much more than a mystery. No, it's not a story about the return of Elvis. Instead, this is Paul's story. Paul is everyman; someone we can all relate to. Somewhere along the line, he has lost his spirit and self esteem. He used to have fun spinning stories about Elvis for The Enquirer, but those days are long gone. He's a "real" writer now, and he's going to prove this imposter is a fraud.

Yet the closer he gets, the more he realizes that maybe, just maybe, the facts aren't what's really important. And that's where this story really gets its emotion. Koslowski beautifully weaves the battle between fact and faith in and around his detective story. With the positive impact the King's return has had on fans around the world, does it really matter if he is who he claims to be? Would knowing the truth, regardless of what truth that may be, actually help or hinder the man's effect on the world?

It's a question similar to what many religious (and not so religious) people have asked for ages. The King is about what the power of faith can really be. Yet Koslowski shows it in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. And because the story revolves around music and Elvis, it's a story that can be understood by the masses. Regardless of who reads this, there's someone or something that can be related to, which will make this a powerful read for anyone fortunate enough to pick it up.


I absolutely love the look of The King. Koslowski's style could be considered cartoony, yet the details manage to convey emotion. Hell, in a number of panels, I could feel the heat of the Las Vegas desert and smell the smoke in the casinos. The artist also knows how to tell a story through imagery as his use of long shots vs close ups and his ability to use just the right 'camera' angle really help the story come to life while helping the reader focus on the key action or emotion of the scene.

Wallenta's blue color tones really help Koslowski's art in this book, too. The icy blue color pallet combined with the dark shadows create a feeling of isolation and coldness that showcases Erfurt's alienation from the group he's interviewing. And it really heightens the sense that Erfurt is a washed up writer who has lost his touch.

Bonus Features
It's not every day that you get bonus features in an original graphic novel, but Koslowski has included a 6-page sketchbook section that includes comments from the creator himself that explain the evolution of some of the characters. Good stuff.
Final Words

I can't recommend this enough. The King is so much more than expected. It's a good mystery with heart. It's got humor and an interesting cast you won't forget. It's a must read.

Highly Recommended

James has written for such fine web sites as DVDtalk, Broken Frontier, and Paperback Reader. He lives in Denver with his lovely wife and two cats who wake him up at 3 a.m.
Home | Features | Reviews | Release List | About Us