Ni Hao, Pard'ner!

Shaolin Cowboy #1-4 (Burlyman Entertainment): Witness the raw craftsmanship of comic book making. Witness the sheer joy of comic book reading. This is Shaolin Cowboy. The concept that would sound like crap in a pitch meeting… “Yeah, uh, so there’s this cowboy, right? But he’s really a Chinese martial arts master, ok? See, there’s this talking donkey that he rides with… No wait, he kills lots of guys! Um, there’s a… there’s a crab… a villainous crab…”

Geofrey Darrow’s latest offering, backed by the Wachowski Brothers (of Bound fame, hated The Matrix!) is simply breathtaking. His detailed and eclectic style is an absolute joy to wander through and find little hidden gems. I so look forward to this book, which is really picking up steam and not losing a bit of quality along the way. The paper, the card stock cover, even the smell of the book just feel substantial and of great importance. The balance of stoicism from the lead character and the humor of the bit players and surrounding events is absolutely pitch perfect. I was a big fan of the first issue and was skeptical that follow up issues would ship on time and deliver the same punch. The first issue was not terribly dialogue laden and relied more on visual candy, like the dizzying camera pan sequence. I think a lesser craftsman would have taken the gimmick way out and could have created a fold out or even a poster of this scene. But Darrow and company stuck to their guns and let this impressive display stand on its own artistic merits. Bravo.

Peter Doherty is very worthy of praise for the colors required with this level of detailed pencils. With subsequent issues, I’m pleased to see consistency and my skepticism fading. Another example of a creator who is not terribly prolific, but at the top of his game and worth the wait in between projects. All in all, a tremendous creative effort that delivers squarely on its promise. It's guaranteed fun. Grade A.

Thanks to Jacob & Anna, my young and lovely cousins in the Peace Corps for teaching me "hello" in Mandarin. Hi guys!


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