Saturday, October 12, 2013

365 Comics...281: The Shaolin Cowboy #1 (2013)

If you've been to this week's Thor's Comic Column already you've read my compatriot Adam X's comments on Shaolin Cowboy #1, which posited it as a middling sort of comic, rich on visual details but direly light on story.  Adam's points are all valid, but he's also new to Shaolin Cowboy, and well, that's kind of how things are done around Darrow's parts, and you either buy into it or you don't.  It's a lot of offbeat weirdness for weirdness' sake, a lot of fighting, blood and whatnots, and not a whole lot else.  What are the Cowboy's motivations?  Who knows, he's just out there fighting what needs to be fought.  There's a lot of bad guys that want to take him down and evil things whose path he's impeding, but he doesn't seem to much care, he just fights.

Missing from this series is the talking donkey, the braying ass that, for me, was the weakest element of the original series.  The incessant chatter seemed to be forcibly at odds with the both the book's intended atmosphere and the Cowboy's preferred ambiance.  Why they were traveling companions I'll never understand.

Adam was right, The Shaolin Cowboy is not a great story by any stretch, but it is a wonderfully visual experience, with Darrow's eye-poppingly ornate artwork and his warped comedic timing, it's like Moebius melding with Takashi Miike, spitting in your eye then slapping you in the face before tickling you and feeding you gourmet salted chocolate.

This issue opens with two pages of 6pt text recapping "The Story So Far..." all of which is made up, save for the last three paragraphs which actually recap the previous series.  It's a ridiculous read with Darrow repeatedly doling out some of the most brazen puns he can and warping in out-of-context pop culture cues.  I can't even explain it, but it's an impressively weird and I laughed out loud more than once.  I would love it if some keener made an audio drama out of this with sound effects and whatnot.  Would that I had the time.

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