Three weeks ago Image comics released Skullkickers # 1. Maybe it was the snazzy looking cover, or the engaging images inside, but it sold out in record time. Naturally, a 2nd printing was ordered. When the orders for the 2nd printing caused another sell out before it even hit the stands, Image knew it had a hit on their hands.
So what's all the fuss about? I had the pleasure of meeting up with Skullkickers creator Jim Zubkavich briefly at New York Comic Con last week and he gave me the rundown. In a nutshell, the book is about two buddies; mercenaries in a fantastical land where otherworldly elements like demons and werewolves are the norm. And like any good guns-for-hire, they're all about the money. Mercenaries "of the highest quality", as they describe themselves. "A guard, a thief, or a killer, if that's what ye need."
The two 'heroes' names have yet to be revealed, with Zubkavich suggesting that they may remain a secret, almost like a fantasy equivalent of Clint Eastwood's infamous "Man With No Name". One looks sort of like a medieval Vin Diesel on steroids and his buddy, a dwarf, looks like he could be a direct relative of Gimli from Lord of the Rings. Both of them have quite the knack for cracking wise while cracking skulls. The first issue finds our intrepid protagonists dealing with an aristocratic assassination plot that seems to have some black magic involvement.
With its tongue firmly planted in cheek, Skullkickers differs from most other fantasy books by having a bit more humor than usual. Our heroes have a great banter between them and within a couple pages it feels as if we've known these characters for a while. There's plenty of action and some nice, grisly violence, but it all seems rather lighthearted. Kind of like a supernatural Lethal Weapon set in the days of yore.
The art in issue one was divided between Chris Stevens and Edwin Huang and has a nice, crisp, clean, almost "animated cartoon" look to it with just a hint of Anime flavor. Edwin goes solo as the regular illustrator starting with issue 2, while Chris will stay involved as the Skullkickers cover artist.
While it's a little tough to judge a book based solely on a single outing, if the witty writing and pretty pictures stay on par with what's in the first issue, Skullkickers should be enjoying a nice, long run for quite some time.
Skullkickers is published monthly by Image Comics. The 3rd printing of issue 1 is out this week, just in time for you to get caught up for Issue 2, dropping October 20.