Pulp Culture 

Gun Fu: The Lost City #1

Gun Fu: The Lost City #1
5 stars After a highly acclaimed debut last year with the Gun Fu one-shot, hip-hop talking, fast-shooting supercop, Cheng Bo Sen is back and heading into the jungles in the four-issue series Gun Fu: The Lost City. The first issue is in comic shops now. It’s written and inked by Indianapolis’ own Howard Shum and pencilled by Joey Mason. This time around, Cheng, on attachment to Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is tracking perverted Nazi doctors into the jungle, romancing Jaguar Girl, and dodging Nazi monkeys and butt-biting squirrels. Plus he shoots everything in sight. With broad, cartoony strokes and wacky angles, Mason and Shum’s art style is ideal for this kind of bold and never too subtle comedy. Hell, the idea of a 1936 Hong Kong cop delivering lines like “If y’all don’t like it, I’ll come over to your crib and bitch slap ya” is enough to sustain at least two issues of comedy on its own. And with that as just the opening joke, the book is screamingly hilarious. Mason and Shum’s action choreography is pitch-perfect, as well. I especially liked a scene where Cheng takes out the bad guy with flying chopsticks. And it just wouldn’t be a Gun Fu comic if there wasn’t some completely out-of-context pop culture commentary in the back of the book. In this outing, Shum interviews director Fernando Meirelles and passes judgment on “Mega Stars of Tomorrow.” (Best line: “Matt Damon and Ben Affleck can’t take me on together so why should I believe they could take down a bunch of deadly thugs on their own?”) The Gun Fu projects are not only some of the best comics to be coming out of Indianapolis, they’re some of the best comics to be found, period. Gun Fu: The Lost City is a must-read for anyone who likes comedy, gunplay or seriously good comics. Wizard World Chicago Comic Convention wrap-up Naysayers about the power of comics should have been in Rosemont on the weekend of Aug. 8-10. With a record-setting crowd of over 48,000 attendees, the Wizard World Chicago show affirmed that the comics audience is healthy and perhaps (gasp!) growing. One sure sign of this is the fact that 2004 will see the con’s parent, Wizard Magazine, floating shows in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Texas. Granted, the con draws fans of much more than comics and personalities from all facets of entertainment. There were actors from past and present sci-fi, from the friendly Lani Tupu and Jonathan Hardy of Farscape to the famously surly Lou Ferrigno of The Incredible Hulk; wrestlers like Raven and the former Chyna; and the makers of games (like WizKids, the creators of the hugely popular HeroClix) and anime (like Tokyopop). Down in the trenches, as you pushed your way through a sea of backpacks and guys in Stormtrooper outfits, there were some noticeable signs of optimism. For one, there were many more children in evidence than in the previous six years, most of them sporting the latest Spider-Man, Batman or Superman tees. Finally, it seems, the mainstream audience is making the connection between popular films and cartoons with the source material. Also, brisk business was being done in the areas of back issues and trade paperbacks, proving that fans are there for the joy of reading comics as opposed to slabbing them in plastic for a profit that will never come. On the company front, old standby DC is the mover and shaker, bringing hot artists (like the Aspen group) and fan-favorite writers (like Mark Waid) to their fold in a variety of surprising deals. Marvel may be winning the current visibility war with their films, but entertainment is all about perception, and that tide is turning for both DC and comics in general. As a wise man said, don’t call it a comeback; they’ve been here for years. —Troy Brownfield

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