If Hard Boiled only means a way to prepare eggs to you, you have not been keeping up with must-read comics; written by Frank Miller, you’d think more people would know about it, but its obscurity might be due to Geof Darrow taking all the credit for the astounding book that it is. You see, the man can draw in great detail — so great in fact you’ll be spending a lot of time with every page. He’s back for more comic work over at Dark Horse, this time with an eponymous shaolin cowboy. Is it good?
Shaolin Cowboy #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Buy this book. Review done. …What, you want more? Fine, pluck this from the shelf, open the first two pages and read the incredibly dense but equally incredibly hilarious The Story So Far. It’s filled with twerking, Obamacare references and so many plays on Asian names you’ll be spitting out your coffee for hours. Here’s a piece:
When brothers Yung Mahn, Hung Mahn, Lo Mahn, Oo Gli Mahn, Lay Tse Mahn, Bigg Mahn, Fun He Mahn, Pee Tsa Mahn, Jus Be Kool Mahn, Fed Ex Mahn, Yu Pee Est Mahn, May El Mahn, Ecchs Mahn, Spida Mahn, Soo Pa Mahn, I Ron Mahn, Ba Tu Mahn, No Womb Mahn, Gay Ya Mahn, Stray Ta Mahn, Lets Be En Mahn, Ri Tse Mahn, Tee Tee Mahn, Legg Mahn, Hip Mahn, Ip So Fact To Mahn, and Hung Ree Mahn learn that the Shaolin Cowboy is in the area to visit his friend Slo Phuk and his wife, the beautiful Pu Tse, they plot with their father, Ang Lee Ode Mahn, to get their revenge on him for his evil-style kung fu and his support of universal health care and in the process earn great honor for their group the Mahn Hoods.
It’s over the top, humorous and has a bunch of references to modern pop culture to allow everyone to be in on at least some of the jokes.
This reminds me of Tremors.
The lengthy opening (3,433 words by my count) is actually an interesting way to open the book, but it works because frankly there’s barely any writing to speak of in the actual pages of art. Darrow is doing it all on his own with colors by Dave Stewart which is 27 pages of hyper-detailed work taking place mostly in the desert. It’s funny because you’d think a desert would be a boring thing to draw, but when you see the detail in every stone and the great variance in colors used to show the details, you get a sense that the desert is an amazing place to play in.
Zombies have seen their last Shaolin cowboy.
Without the killer opening I’m not sure I’d have loved the experience as much as I did. He’s set the tone as slow, detailed and methodical, which is honestly how the art is viewed. The fact is though, you could breeze through this book quickly since there’s so little dialogue. When the story quickly cuts to a two page spread in space, you’ll immediately think, “filler!” Wait, though. Just wait. Look closely, and you’ll see some beautiful details that make the image much more complex. For instance, look closely at the space station and you’ll see its covered in logos. It’s a fun touch that adds some social commentary to the comic.
Gotta be strong to do that.
- Hilarious and enjoyable opening
- Amazing art by Darrow
- It’ll be a quick read for anyone who doesn’t like to linger on a panel’s details AND skips the intro
Is It Good?
Oh sweet god yes. Darrow kills it on art and opens with the funniest opening I’ve read in a comic possibly in the last five years. The balance between the dense “the story so far” and uncluttered with words art is exceptional as well. A must read.