As a kid growing up in the early 1980’s, I remember happily spending summer weekends laying on the couch next to my Dad watching Buffalo-based television programming beamed across the border courtesy of an old-styled rotor antennae.
I was enthralled by something called “Movies For A Sunday Afternoon”. Or was it Saturday afternoon? Some of the memory is lost, sure, but luckily, only the unimportant parts.
Those movies captivated me, if not my sleeping Dad. Who was the brilliant curator that set up week after week of great thriller films, action-packed westerns, riveting (but light) horror films, or quizzically dubbed Japanese Kung-Fu classics? That guy changed my life!
Yeah. Those dubbed films, especially, were something special.
Always with the bumbling apprentice being rapped on the head by a stick-wielding, sternly-eyed master. And always with the bumbling student, cast into the wilderness, making their way in the world, righting a wrong, and learning honour while learning to become a hero.
It was an enticing parable for a wide-eyed ten-year-old meandering through summer holidays with a new school year immanently looming ahead. It was a metaphor for life.
“Movies For A Sunday Afternoon” was an introduction to genre film and grindhouse action. And it was wonderful.
Today’s release of Orphan and the Five Beasts #1 brings back that sense of wonder.
A four-part miniseries, Orphan and the Five Beasts is written and illustrated by Canadian artist extraordinaire, James Stokoe (Aliens: Dead Orbit, Orc Stain) and pays tribute to those movies I loved so much as a kid. It’s a kung-fu epic that follows the hero’s journey in both strange and recognizable ways, and always visually compelling.
The orphan here, is Orphan Mo, the lost foundling, raised by her master and trained to right the great wrong of his life. The land, you see is full of corruption and greed and tyranny by the hand of five former pupils, themselves a metaphor for wilderness and the obstacles and choices we make in our own lives.
The Five Beasts are destructive forces of nature and Mo must kill them to right their wrongs, bring peace to the land and restore honour to her master. And Stokoe brings all of his mastery of detail, action-oriented linework, beautiful and frightening colour and visual storytelling to bare. Here, on the printed page, Stokoe is the master!
Honour thy reading! Honour thy long box!
Make the run to your local comic book shop and pick up James Stokoe’s very own “Comic Book For A Wednesday Afternoon” martial-arts-grindhouse. Pick up Orphan and the Five Beasts today!
You can catch a preview of Orphan and the Five Beasts #1 right here.