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Amerikarate #1

Writers: Corey Kalman, Brockton McKinney
Artist: Devin Roth
Publisher: Action Lab Danger Zone

Amerikarate fuses self-deprecating comedy with B-movie action flare in a way that only this creative team can provide. It’s so far been described as a mashup between Footloose and every major action movie hero of the 80s, and rightfully so. Needless to say, it feels right at home with the plethora of other absurdist action comedies from its publisher Action Lab.

The premise of this comic is simple: Sam Kickwell is a US veteran and martial arts expert who stumbles into a town where karate is illegal. This is due to the fact that the town suffered a ninja attack years earlier, and no amount of anti-American villains who swing through town will change their minds. And accompanying Sam is his limbless brother Rick, who is without a doubt one of the book’s major highlights.

NC Comicon Creative Director Brockton McKinney is of course no stranger to the world of B-movies and absurd action comedies, having written comics like the fantastic Ehmm Theory and last year’s Gingerdead Man reboot. Bringing the same kind of kinetic energy and bizarre world-building to Amerikarate, he and co-writer Corey Kalman deliver one heck of a ride. The book is incredibly self-aware of its ridiculousness and in terms of where it draws inspiration from. 80s gurus will no doubt love its nostalgia, while readers who aren’t as well-versed in this era will still find the comic easily accessible and highly entertaining.

Likewise, Devin Roth’s pencils and colors perfectly capture the book’s absurdist feel. Roth executes a flawlessly cartoonish style, merging the aesthetic of a Rob Guillory comic with the flow and pacing of an 80s movie. Creating characters that are either abnormally large or abnormally small, and action violence that’s both unrestrained and overtly ridiculous, Roth is dynamic on all fronts here. If you like anything these creators have done before, get on over to Ultimate and pick this one up, and then get it signed in a few weeks at NC Comicon: Oak City!

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics