Ace Kilroy is a serialized adventure web comic that launched on October 31, 2011. In its first season, it ran in daily black-and-white installments, culminating every week with an extra-long "Color Sunday" that also served as a teaser to the events of the upcoming week.
The co-creation of artists Rob Kelly and Dan O'Connor (who met while attending the Joe Kubert School of Graphic Art), Ace Kilroy features the titular character—a WWI veteran turned soldier of fortune who has experience in the strange and the unusual. In 1937, following President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's landslide victory to a second term, the U.S. Government is secretly preparing for a war in Europe. Thanks to some surveillance work involving the upcoming war, they discover that the world's supernatural monsters, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, are potentially real, and that they are the focus of an effort by Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. President Roosevelt and a small band of advisors realize that if the Nazis manage to turn otherworldly monsters to their side, they will be unbeatable. Roosevelt then puts out a word to Ace Kilroy that his country needs him.
In the strip's first season, Ace Kilroy goes to Transylvania and discovers the cabin of a previous agent who died under mysterious circumstances. As he searches for clues about the agent left behind, he is met by a young local girl named Anca, who claims to be lost. Ace agrees to help her home, when he is confronted by Anca's sisters, Dorina and Mara, who quickly reveal themselves to be vampires, turned into such by Count Dracula, whom Ace encounters at a nearby castle.
Ace then gets involved in a tug of war between fighting Dracula, the Nazis, and saving Anca. This inaugural storyline concluded on April 15, 2012.
After a several-month hiatus, Ace Kilroy returned for Season 2 on August 6, 2012. Ace is on vacation, where he visits some old friends, including a former romantic interest named Ellie West, now a Hollywood screenwriter working on "B"-level monster movies. But his vacation is cut short by President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who send him to Bavaria to search for Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creation, Frankenstein's Monster.
Ace Kilroy draws its inspiration from newspaper adventure strips of the mid-20th century, such as Dick Tracy, Steve Canyon, Buz Sawyer, and Brenda Starr. It aims to replicate the tone and feel of those comic strips, harkening back to an era when comic strips were read in the millions. It also incorporates the characters and settings from monster movies of the period, specifically the Universal monster films, such as Dracula and Frankenstein.
One of the hallmarks of the strip is its use of real people and locations. President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull regularly appear, and there are numerous mentions of real-world locations of the period, like the Hay–Adams Hotel (Ace Kilroy, November 18, 2011) and Paramount Pictures (Ace Kilroy, 8/12/2012).
In its first year, Ace Kilroy was nominated for a 2012 Eagle Award for Favorite Web Comic. Kelly and O'Connor were also nominated by the 2012 Philadelphia Geek Awards 8 for Comic Book Writer of the Year and Comic Book Artist of the Year, respectively, for their work on the strip, with Kelly winning.
Ace Kilroy has also received favorable reviews from media outlets such as The Onion A.V. Club, Rue Morgue, Robot 6, and AroundPhilly.com. Kelly appeared on the June 5, 2012, edition of the television show Steelstacks Live! to discuss the strip.