Overview

Famous Fighters #1

Review

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Famous Fighters #1

Credits

  • Words: Matt Smith & Tom Pappalardo
  • Art: Matt Smith & Tom Pappalardo
  • Inks: Matt Smith & Tom Pappalardo
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: Situation Armageddalypse!
  • Publisher: Standard Design
  • Price: $5.00

Zombies, barbarians, ninjas, cowboys, Star Wars references, and the Devil—what more could you want?

Matt Smith and Tom Pappalardo have combined a manic mix of pop culture mayhem with spastic art and melodramatic satire to create one of the most original books available. The stories, ranging from the adventures of a ninja-egg-guy to a murderous barbarian,mock everything we love about comic book culture while simultaneously putting it on a pedestal. Zombie freaks, kung fu fanatics, Star Wars geeks, and anyone who remembers Thundarr the Barbarian will get a laugh out of this comic.

The writing, by Matt Smith and Tom Pappalardo, is heavy with references to zombie movies, kung fu films, and any other piece of comic book culture you can think of. Naturally, this appeals to readers who have been living in this culture for the better part of their lives. Though some of the stories are a bit esoteric and apparently meaningless, see "Eclipso," they appeal to the thing in all of us that thinks everyone else is dumb. Then, the one-page "Barbarian Lord" stories running throughout the book are viciously violent with poetic endings you can’t help but enjoy while you read. But perhaps the crown jewel in storytelling is "Midnight at the Crossroads, Alec Dear vs. Satan: Best Two out of Three." This story is a poetic meeting between our hero, a masked avenger with a smart mouth who looks like DC’s Golden Age Sandman playing Pong with Satan. The winner takes all.

The art in this book has it all. Matt Smith is a virtuoso. In some stories the work looks like it was taken from a mainstream Marvel book—no small feat for an independent artist in the comic book world. Other times, his work looks like it belongs in a museum somewhere, the heavy shading and clear distinct line marks giving the appearance of some recently discovered art issued with the original printing of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In that, the art goes with the writing. It is spastic—sharp in one story, loose in another. Nothing makes sense. Nothing looks the same. But everything is fun.

Essentially, that is what this comic book is supposed to be. There is no message in the story about aging headbangers who hook up with zombies to form a rock band. "Barbarian Lord" doesn’t give us any insight into the world or ourselves. Not everything is supposed to, some things are just fun. Famous Fighters, with its bubbling cauldron of stories, is just that.

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