Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories #1

9 Overall Score
Art: 10/10
Quality: 9/10
Humor: 8/10

Funny, beautiful to look at and highly accessible.

The shortness of the stories prevent any of them from becoming truly immersive.

Erik Larsen, Bruce Timm, Adam Warren, Tom Scioli, Arthur Adams, Ryan Ottley, Adam Kuhn, Nikos Koutsis, Mike Toris, Bill Crabtree
Image Comics
2014

As a rule, anthologies are hit-and-miss affairs. Seldom without standout entries, these collections – be they literary, cinematic, musical, graphic, some combination of these, or none – are usually only as good as their weakest links. Such is the case with Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories, a madcap assembling of works edited by Image Comics founder Erik Larsen and Batman: The Animated Series creator Bruce Timm, both of whom contribute stories to the 68-page deluxe limited edition treasury-size format book.

Inspired in large part by classic ‘60s and 70s comics, ‘80s and ‘90s anime, and hybrid science fiction, Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories’ title is a riff on DC Comics’ “The Bible” by Sheldon Mayer and Joe Kubert and Marvel Comics’ numerous Kung Fu collections. Other contributors to the book, which includes six stories in total, are Adam Warren (Empowered), Tom Schioli (Godland), Ryan Ottley (Invincible), and Andy Kuhn (Firebreather). Comics legend Arthur Adams also created four gorgeous new pinups, which are interspersed throughout.

The first story is Bruce Timm’s hilarious “Secret Crisis on Ultimate Earth,” a not-so-subtle jab at the expanding, increasingly convoluted universes both major publishers repeatedly develop before being forced, time and again, to contract everything with an enormous, end-all-be-all war where many die (but few, if any, truly remain that way). From Batman, Wonder Woman and Jonah Hex to Hawkeye, Colossus, Luke Cage and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., nobody is safe.

Next is Adam Warren’s “Feel the Über-Burn,” a send-up of the sexually provocative manga works which prioritize T&A over plot and character progression.

After that is Tom Scioli’s “Astronomus,” a throwback vignette lasting only four pages but with style to spare and Ryan Ottley’s “Snowman Slaughter,” a cutely-drawn story with slightly adult themes (violence) about a schoolboy determined to get to the bottom of who destroyed his beloved snowman that will appeal to fans of Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes.

Larsen’s offering, entitled “Enter—Jack Champion!” follows three teenagers as they visit a relative’s house. What they end up finding in the spooky-looking mansion is both terrifying and fantastical.

Tom Scioli’s “8-Opus: Destroyer of Worlds” bears the appearance of crinkled school paper—a medium I at one time as an aspiring creator myself am quite familiar with. To call the artwork Kirby-esque would just be ridiculously sidestepping the unnecessarily “esque”-suffixed homage to the all-time great. It’s a delightful little short that once again proves that any artist worth his or her salt can create something terrific with any space afforded to them.

Lastly, “Frankenstein of Mars” by Andy Kuhn combines the science fiction classics John Carter of Mars and Fankenstein and delivers a splendid little action-packed snapshot of what could be a truly fun book to read if every expanded into a full-sized series.

It cannot be stated how unbelievably breathtaking Art Adams’ pinups are. One could stare at them for an eternity, agog in admiration and awe.

For $20, Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories is a little steep, however it’s a modest asking price when considering it could very well be the funnest, funniest and most flipped-through item on your coffee table.

artadams GiantSizedKungFuBibleStories-Cover

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Jesse Scheckner
Author: Jesse Scheckner View all posts by
A freelance writer who regularly produces work for MMA Owl, Tuff Gnarl, Broward Palm Beach New Times, Florida Geek Scene and Miami's Community Newspapers. Moderately relevant. Follow me on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

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