15 February 2016

[comics] What We're Loving: They Call Me Black Fist

The cover of the slender volume is most evocative and lets you know exactly where you stand with it.

Blaxploitation/Rockabilly/Fighting Manga? SHO'NUFF!

There are those of us … and you know who you were, don't be apologetic, because it was awesome … who would live for Saturday and Sunday afternoons, because that's when our local TV stations would fill those unprofitable hours with cheapass content. Like B-monster martial arts movies.

Especially those. 

Well, Pharoah Bolding has a treat for us, because in his hero's little debut adventure, They Call Me Black Fist, he's mashed up those so-bad-they're-good Saturday and Sunday afternoon adventures with a healthy dash of nostalgic affection for those styles, blaxploitation, and deserving of a soundtrack of Carl Douglas.

Everybody was Kung-fu fighting. The fallout is an affectionate satire and pop-culture deconstruction you'll take right to heart.

The story, while witty, is very straightforward; enigmatic, good-hearted but stern-valued martial artist with a pompadour that's on its own mission from God finds himself in a jive situation, which needs taken-care-of in short enough order when an absurd villain invades his local comic shop to steal all the free stuff on Free Comics Day with the idea of storing them and making money off them when he can sell them in 10 years time … without so much as even reading them.

The villain is evil … but at least he plays the long game.

Our hero, teaching a hard lesson, and teaching it hard.

But the gauntlet is totally thrown. The justice, as someone once said, is brought-en; on the way to that justice and a lesson in comic-shop etiquette, one rare, near-mint ninja three-pack gets severely downgraded, one comics shop gets seriously trashed, and one comic shop owner descends into near shell-shock. Furious action obtains, with specific moves hilariously called out.

The story is funny and enough just as it stands, but what really makes this little comic desirable is production values that put you back in the day; the weathered movie-poster style front cover is a bit of cosmic deftness that even comes complete with a price sticker straight from the spin rack at the supermarket and ad reproductions that include that back page Johnson Smith Co mail order mall … remember the X-Ray Glasses that sold for a dollar? That sort of thing.

And the inside back page? I never thought I'd see an ad for Chuck Norris Action Jeans ever again.

There's better news. I finally met Pharoah at Fanaticon (see that blog entry which is immediately before this one) and found that the affectionate humor in the work is only natural … in person he's just as affable and humorous as the jokes he tells in the story. And, as promised on the next-to-last page, Black Fist will return … we got to lay eyeballs on some blue-pencil sketches that got us very excited.

Black Fist will return … and we'll be there for him.

If you want to be there for him, dial your Stargate to http://www.pharoahbolding.com/.

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