Bad Karma is a new hardcover anthology comic spanning multiple genres but maintaining a common thread throughout the stories.
Some stories come in comic form, others in prose, and an all star lineup of pinup artists make this Kickstarter creator owned book a varied and engaging read from top comics talent.
The book was conceived and assembled by FOG! favorite creator, B. Clay Moore (JSA Liberty Files, Hawaiian Dick) and nearly double its Kickstarter goal at launch.
The first volume of this anthology series starts off with Alfred Tennyson’s sonnet The Kraken and a collaborative story, The 9th Life of Solomon Kane.
The four main writers for the book, including artist Jeremy Haun (Batman, Darkness) introduce us to this new universe though the eyes of one of our heroes, Solomon Kane. We’re treated to a Western combined with all of the time travel and intrigue of a Doctor Who episode and of course a visit from the mystical sea beast.
The first chapter of the Solomon Kane tale leaves you guessing about important questions, like how can he at once be in feudal Japan and the next moment in the old West or washing ashore. Clearly there is a crack in the time stream and multiple versions of Kane exist. Huan’s storytelling and artistry are a standout for me in this book, a clean line reminiscent of contemporary Joe Eisma’s work.
The next chapter of comics in the book is written by Seth Peck and drawn by Andy MacDonald for his story starring an intriguing force of nature known as Chaos Agent.
The bald man in a blue suit is as much an action hero modeled after Jason Statham as he is a supernatural being, rivaling the mystical powers of someone like Constantine. The Chaos Agent is on our world as a representative of the force of Chaos and this story shows how he does so. This is a cool character, worthy of his own world building if not a series himself!
We move on to Seth Peck’s Hellbent, a supernatural noir tale set around the time of Jack The Ripper.
Starring a crooked cop and some thugs, we see how the bruiser reacts when faced with the dark forces of dormant tentacle monsters roaming the streets of London!
Jeremy Haun takes a crack at the next chapter of Chaos Agent with Mike Tisserand on art. This chapter is more action packed, a James Bond story with math formulas of mental calculations overlaid over the main artwork. Agent Rand escapes captivity with the drop of a pen, but can’t escape his fate as one of the last surviving agents.
Andrew R. MacLean draws B. Clay Moore’s Hellbent, getting down to the sexuality of the Victorian streets and posits that Jack The Ripper might actually be a manifestation of The Kraken beasts infecting the town!
Middleton wraps up three more chapters in the book, combining Back to the Future time travel non-paradoxes with the young kid detective stories of Encyclopedia Brown.
This time, though, Young Nicholas Middleton is confronted by his own Doc Brown, futureself Nick Middleton, time traveling Architect of Tomorrow!
Alex Grecian (Proof, The Yard) birthed the concept in Chapter 1, with Phil Hester (The Darkness, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents) on art.
B. Clay Moore also takes a shot with Middleton in the second of the ‘series’ and Grecian teams up with Shaky Kane to spin off Oliver Kane in a third installment, where the bad kid in the neighborhood (allegedly) saves the Wayne family from being murdered but takes out the bratty kid in a meta commentary complete with a string of pearls remaining in tact.
Well played, Mr. Alex!
Christopher Mitten illustrates B. Clay Moore’s Old Dog. This gritty and more realistic noir tale set in the 50s. Old Dog is complete with a smoking hot ex-actress and an ex-prohibition era cop aged out and living and working for the police in L.A. trying to take down gangsters. Seth Peck takes on a story of Jack Boxer later in the book following up on a sex scandal and some mysterious murders. These stories go best with a double shot of rye and a cigarette!
The best part of this book is seeing the writers collaborate on each other’s main stories and adding to a new Earth that exists completely on its own.
Hellbent, Solomon Kane, Chaos Agent, Old Dog, and Middleton have compelling characters and interesting stories with plenty to build on.
Much like a Dark Horse Presents title, there are a wide variety of writing and arts styles—but the difference here is that all the pieces fit into a common theme.
The theme isn’t direct or definable in any traditional sense, but all of these stories exist together.
This new artistic collaborative will be exhibiting at New York Comic Con this weekend as Bad Karma.