Dead Tree Heroes: Gun Fu

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This is going to be a new weekly article I plan on writing about comics. I will be reading the comic in the day or so leading up to when I write the article even if I have read it before. I’ll then write various bits and pieces about why I liked it and why you should try and get hold of it. If possible, I will get scans of the comics to provide some decent images in the article, but where I cannot and am not willing to sacrifice my comics, I will make do with my phone camera. Without further ado, onto the first article.

The story of how I got hold of Gun Fu is not a particularly amazing one. Neither is it an uncommon one among comic fans. I was at a comic convention (so far the only one I have ever gone to) and was wandering around all the comic stalls. As well as picking up Brody’s Law (which I will get onto another week) I found this little gem. Hit the jump to find out more about it.

I’ll kick off with the blurb from the back:

“The year is 1936. Cheng Bo Sen is a Hong Kong cop who has been recruited by England to help fight the Nazis. He also speaks hip-hop which no one seems to notice…”

That is pretty much the thing that made me look twice and then open it up to give it a quick scan read. I only had to read the first 10 or so pages before I walked up to the guy running the stall and gave him my £10 for it. It is one of my impulse buys that I have never regretted.

First off, the story in Gun Fu is amazing. The first issue is all about Cheng stopping the Nazis from making killer robots to attack the Allies. Seeing as this is 1936, it makes perfect sense that it is Queen Elizabeth who sends Cheng off to do this. Wait…

Let’s forget about historical inaccuracies for a moment, because the comic is just awesome. Who cares that they got the ruler of my fine country wrong, or that the Nazi’s were not building giant robots. We have a Chinese guy who speaks hip hop going out and fighting them and being awesome. The comic gets better as it goes on too.

The art in the first issue is fantastic. It’s very geometric and it has loads of energy, but Jason Howard’s art was very obviously rooted in Manga because even though this was on standard comic pages, there were few panels and it felt like blown up Manga.

Apparently, after he wrote the first issue, he had somebody write to him saying that his work was too Manga-ish for a full size comic. Strangely (mostly because with me knowing artists, they tend to not take such a big piece of criticism on board for a while) he changed how he did things. The last few issues are all about Cheng being hired by Queen Elizabeth again to go off into the Amazon to find a lost city before the Nazis do.

This leads to all sorts of fun, including sponkeys (Monkeys with spider genes in them all trained to fight for Hitler) and a Tarzan like woman as a love interest for Cheng. On the way, they meet cannibals, have fights with the Nazis, and all sorts of interesting stuff. As is expected in most comics of this nature, they defeat the Nazis and almost everyone ends up happy in the end.

I highly reccomend this book and if you see it, grab it. It isn’t all that expensive and is always good for reading multiple times. The artwork alone is almost worth the full price I payed and the story & humour combine to make it worth more than what I payed. I am damn glad I picked this up when I did.

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