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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Beast Warriors of Shaolin (Graphic Novel)

by Peter Quinones, Glen Johnson, & Bill Stancik

Publisher: Pied Piper Press; First Printing edition (1986)

Softcover 46 pages

Finished 12/26/2017

Amazon Listing


 This is part three of a three part graphic novel series, the first two of which I have not read. It is a kung-fu fantasy set in ancient China. There a number of creatures and men have been imbued with mystic powers and battle it out. The main plot revolves around an attempted assassination of the Emperor by his son, and their relative forces clash, much death following.
The story competent, as is the art. Black and white, with good use of gray tones to give the proper accent when needed. In fact it is above average, especially for what is essentially an independent title. All of the characters have personality and each can be differentiated from the other.  
Honestly there isn’t much to say about this comic, apart from some speculation as to why it didn’t take off. The average comic in 1986 was 75 cents, at $6.95 this was way more expensive and only gave double the length of the standard book. Also the martial arts comic had pretty much died by that time. Iron Fist and The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, the two big ones, had both been canceled- the Iron Fist character had actually been killed off. And quite frankly, most of the martial arts comics were really the same. This one is slightly different, but not enough to cause a buzz. 

The publisher, Pied Piper Comics, specialized in short graphic novels (or albums, as they still being called then). It died rather quickly, lasting only from 1986 to 1988. Most of its titles were picked up from other publishers, and then most later moved to Innovation Publishing. This one wasn’t. It ended here in the third album. The now obscure indie comic Ex Mutants was the biggest deal to come out of this company, publishing four of the issues. But when’s the last time anyone thought of that comic?
By the way, strangely enough I’ve seen a lot of people trying to sell this series on various forums. Some are just tossing it out there, others are claiming it's a rare collectable and trying to charge ridiculous prices. If you want to buy this series, the pricing guides value it at around $2, even in mint condition. So don’t be ripped off. 

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