The cartoon effectiveness of the KILLDOZER
One look at the cartoon from 1973 shown above helps to explain one of the reasons I chose the name KILLDOZER for my book. My book is about the Colorado bulldozer rampage that took place in Granby on June 4, 2004.
In true and classic comic book style, this great cover expands visually on all the aspects of the KILLDOZER name that make it appealing.
First, it is out there and in your face. The name KILLDOZER has that curious appeal to it that all at once plays on the common noun “bulldozer,” and all its associations with brute and overwhelming power. It then incorporates it with the ominous overtones of the verb “kill.”
Together, these two words scream at the reader: Overwhelming power that can kill.
There’s been no question about the fact that Marv Heemeyer used a 65-ton Komatsu bulldozer to make is 85-ton armed and armored tank. In that astounding act of tank creation carried out by Marv, he made the overwhelming power of a bulldozer even more overwhelming.
Overwhelming power that can kill
It certainly helped that he mounted three rifles in the armor.
But what about the “kill” part since Heemeyer didn’t kill anyone other than himself during his wild rampage?
While he didn’t kill anyone, a very convincing argument can be made that he certainly tried to kill people. He fired his rifles at Cody Docheff, a Colorado State Patrol Trooper and at least one Grand County Sheriff’s office deputy.
And to add emphasis to the intent-to-kill argument comes the fact that he fired his 50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle at large propane tanks that were located only 200 feet from a populated neighborhood. That neighborhood happened to include a senior housing complex. Luckily, he failed in igniting and exploding those large propane tanks, but if he had succeeded there’s a strong likelihood that some other killing might have taken place.
He missed the tanks at which he was shooting because his rounds slammed into his own armor placed on the bulldozer-tank.
Another critically important aspect of the KILLDOZER comic book cover is that it conveys very well the kitschy, elbow-to-the-ribs sort of wink-wink humor that many people came to association with Heemeyer’s bulldozer rampage.
Only hours after the bulldozer-tank had stalled in the rubble at the Gambles general store there were comments being thrown around on-line, locally and even in the mainstream press about the “killdozer.” People, it seemed, remembered that B-grade, made-for-TV movie that aired in 1973 called “Killdozer.”
That movie was about a bulldozer that had become taken over by an alien spirit that prompted the bulldozer to act on its own and attack humans and buildings. The movie was enough of a hit that a comic book version of the movie was released, hence this excellent comic book cover.
It became a sort of cult and cartoon classic
But all the over-the-top violence and imagery, combined with a sort of extreme satirical approach toward hackneyed plot-lines and hero tropes, make both the comic and the made-for-TV movie a sort of cult classic.
Marv Heemeyer’s escapade with his homemade KILLDOZER elevated the cult classic into a new sort of American folk hero veneration of Heemeyer and his invention.
So, that comic book cover expresses it all. Violence, extreme and brutish power, threats to human life and a sort of hero-like veneration of the bulldozer itself — KILLDOZER.
I have to give credit to Mr. V of Granby. He is a writer and cartoonist for the Grand Gazette in Kremmling, Colorado. He wrote an article about my book and in the responses he received was a copy of the KILLDOZER comic.
As Mr. V is a fan of comic books, he shared the cover with me.
Comic book enthusiasts and readers of the book KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage will certainly appreciate the impact of this great cover.