Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colourist: Michael Garland
Big Trouble in Little China adapts well to the medium of funny books. Twisting together a cheesy ‘80s action movie character with witty dialogue, and a plot heavily influenced by old Kung Fu flicks and monster movies, it could have been easy for this comic to go off the rails. Writer Eric Powell – with story credit given to John Carpenter as well, director of the aforementioned movie – guides a first issue that sells the wackiness of the 1986 Kurt Russell movie, coupled with a modern sense of irony for a decade with love and loathing.
Artist Brian Churilla is atalent that is baffling. I just don’t understand how this guy isn’t widely recognized in our industry as being as great as he is and how he is not doing more work on big books. His style is distinct and noticeably influenced by American comics. Each character is well-drawn and looks really unique. It’s like when you watch a Tarantino movie and you can tell it’s a Tarantino movie just by looking at it, that’s what Churilla’s art is like and Big Trouble in Little China would be lost without exceptional artwork like his.
I mentioned cheesiness and wittiness in the opening paragraph, and I want to go back to those things here for a minute because it’s really what this comic hangs its hat on. It isn’t trying to sell you on a deeply emotional or introspective story, but instead relies on your love for campiness as a comic book reader. You can’t get heavily sucked into this industry without not just a tolerance but an appreciation of camp.
Powell’s script is definitely influenced by the source material and indeed what was happening in popular cinema during that turbulent, and controversial, decade. A crude joke is never far away and the impossible is impossible to deny because it happens on every page.
When you reach the final page you’ve probably already decided whether you’re going to be reading this series or not, but it does provide the reader with a clear understanding of what they’re strapping in for if they’re somewhat undecided. There are so many books out there and yet none of them have the look and feel that this one does. Ironically, it’s tough to give it too much credit for originality because it owes its existence to its source material. Big Trouble in Little China is one of those books that will fly under the radar even though it shouldn’t. Don’t punish this book for not having grown men and women punch each other in the face while clad in spandex!
“Big Trouble in Little China #1″ earns 7.9 / 10