Skullkickers is the best buddy comedy set in a fantasy world I think you’ll ever read. I picked up “1000 Opas and a Dead Body” after several years of reading Jim’s other work, but for some reason I never got around to picking this one up. It’s a shame that I waited so long but I’m glad I finally got around to getting it.
In 1000 Opas our ‘heroes’, the big bald guy and the grumpy dwarf (yup, no names there) are hired to take on a cult and dispatch a werewolf. During the job they witness the murder of a local chancellor and they’re offered 1000 opas to find the murderer and bring them in. Like all good fantasy adventures, Skullkickers features monsters, zombies, faeries and demons. Our duo of mercenaries like their drink, their songs, and their money, and Jim does a great job taking us along for the ride.
Imagine if Riggs and Murtaugh were a human and dwarf living in an outrageous fantasy world and instead of cops they’re mercenaries. That’s the spirit that Jim captures with this book. The adventures are fun, and ridiculous, but what makes the book good is the play between the two protagonists. The banter is witty, and it makes for a good time reading. Both characters have their own distinct personalities that come out plainly in the story, but Jim doesn’t try to make the book more than it is. While the stories are thought-provoking they are also light and funny. It’s almost like reading a big summer popcorn flick, but better than the typical summer popcorn flick.
The art by Edwin Huang and Misty Coats has a unique style that lends itself well to this type of book. Not too serious, a bit whimsical, but not overly cartoony. The style is perfect for a book that’s both fantastical and comical. Action is depicted well from frame to frame, which is good because the book is a lot like an action movie. Horse chases, gun fights (yes this fantasy world has guns), and flying dwarves all seem to move on the page as you read. All together with the bright colors it makes for a book that’s as much fun to flip through as to read.
The comic’s regular run is over, but trades are available all over. I picked up the first trade at a con, which honestly is a great place to find and purchase them. Getting to meet the creators and see their passion for the book helped settle the question on whether I’d pick up another series. I’m sad that I won’t be able to get it week-to-week but I do plan to pick up the trades from time to time, and I think you’ll like it if you are into humorous comics, or comics set in a fantasy world.