Join ComicBase scribe Brendan McGinley as he sets forth each week to “wholly examine the didactyl nature of modernne comick panel sequences. Verily.” [sic] In this week’s edition: a Chinese restaurant becomes the base of operations for its cosmic-warrior busboy in Sharknife while Slave Labor (literally) hatches a new kind of adventure in its short anthology Strange Eggs.
Sharknife is all of the in-your-face attitude that the entertainment media spend millions each year desperately trying to fabricate. Corey Lewis shows you can’t fake the funk of the truly punk. His snappy patter (is there any other kind of patter?) and super-manga-fied art aren’t kinetic so much as hyper-dimensional.
It’s probably brilliant, and definitely cool. Kids will understand it, adults won’t, which is as good an indicator of success as any. How do you not fall in love with a comic about a busboy at a five-story Chinese restaurant (whose walls are possessed by monsters) that becomes a super-warrior when the boss’ daughter feeds him fortune cookies?
Earth-shattering battles are part of the fare at the Guandong Factory when Ceasar Halleluja transforms into the awesome Sharknife. Special arcade moves, soundtrack CDs and characters who talk like flashier versions of the My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable crew are all part of the fun.
Corey, aka “Rey,” who draws as well as writes, is having fun creating comics, which is obvious even without his love letter to the form included at the beginning of this Oni collection. If there’s a fault, it’s that sometimes the pop in Rey’s layout makes the panel action a bit obscure, but it’s steadily obvious that within the comic as well as outside, Sharknife kicks butt.
Most concept books aren’t this fun. Strange Eggs is an anthology of short stories with one premise: Kip and Kelly Hatcher are two farm kids with a pet alien named Hooper. Every day, a milkman-type deliveryman named Roger Rogers deposits a new egg on the kids. The type of egg varies, as does its inhabitant, but it soon hatches and a new adventure begins.
This might sound like a great hook for a kids’ cartoon, but remember, this is a Slave Labor Graphics book, so instead, it’s both wicked and wickedly funny. The hatchlings include a couple of hobos, an evil marionette and a stream of rainbows that crushes everyone to death.
There’s also a slightly disconnected tale by “Crab Scrambly,” who appears to be Jhonen Vasquez doing an Edward Gorey imitation. Ian Carney and Woodrow Phoenix take a different route by having Kip crack the day’s delivery open with a hatchet, only to discover it’s a sentient egg. Post brain-surgery, the egg is exquisitely grotesque even before he gets thrown into transvestite lingerie and exploited.
That sums up Strange Eggs in an eggshell.
Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.