When asked if the comic book character Tap Dance Killer is a hero or villain, writer and creator Ted Sikora answers, “exactly.” The star of Sikora’s current comic book series — whose five-issue collection is available through a Kickstarter campaign — begins her story arc as actress Nikki St. Clair, who is cast in a horror show musical before becoming permanently locked into her role.
“Nikki St. Clair is a mega-talented actress, and there’s a supernatural event that occurs, and she gets locked into the headspace of the character,” says Sikora, who’s also a filmmaker. “Going forward, in this series, her identity is blown. Whenever she goes out into society, she has to become a new character from her acting repertoire.”
The story is essentially “villains vs. villains,” explains Sikora, “with the other set of villains being the mafia.” The gray area surrounding Tap Dance Killer’s heroics is not this character’s only unique trait: she’s also African-American, in a genre that has traditionally lacked diversity. “Being married to an African-American woman and the father of a young girl gave me extra motivation to do something about that,” Sikora said in a previous interview.
“Tap Dance Killer,” which is a spinoff of the comic series “Apama: The Undiscovered Animal,” has a close connection to musical theatre, says Sikora, who adds that this “Vaude-Villain” cast of characters was inspired by the early ’90s musical, “Nothing Like Vaudeville,” for which he wrote the story, principal music and lyrics. (Sikora’s “Apama” comic also has crossed platforms, as its title character was originally featured in his 2007 movie “Hero Tomorrow.”)
In the comic, Tap Dance Killer is joined by other castmates similarly tied to their stage roles, like Sir Terror and Fletcher. In addition, the series introduces new “Vaude-Villains” Punchline, Hurricane Lizzy and Uzi Clown.
“The Kickstarter video has a brand new recorded song of ‘Tap Dance Killer,’ sung by Coco Smith, and it’s part of the new cast recording that I hope to do within the next couple of years,” says Sikora.
Although the series is distributed by Diamond Comics, a Kickstarter campaign is necessary to help cover the cost. “There’s a huge expense with printing and paying the talent,” says Sikora. “There’s a reason that you don’t see a lot of independents in the comic shop, and it’s because it is so expensive. We are one of the few true independent comic book companies that is distributed nationally through Diamond.”
And Kickstarter contributors will get much more than the comic itself. Rewards include extras that won’t be found at comic book stores, like original artwork pages, or having yourself drawn into an issue. In addition, the hardcover copies in the series will be numbered and limited.
To contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, visit tapdancekiller.com.
“Tap Dance Killer” is written by Sikora with art by Donny Hadiwidjaja (aka Nikolaus Harrison), and inks by Hadiwidjaja and Chis Arieswendha.