American Barbarian: The Complete Collection (IDW Publishing)
Words & Pictures: Tom Scioli
RECIPE: Tom Scioli’s American Barbarian
- Take One Generous Serve of Kamandi
- Combine with Essence of Masters of the Universe in equal measure
- Fold in 1/2 portion of Blackstar (can be substituted for equivalent Filmation seasoning depending on preferred flavour profile)
- Sprinkle in non-ironic serving of Mint In Sealed Box Dino Riders
- Carefully blend in on Quart pure Cosmic Energy captured straight from The Source
- Mix thoroughly until all flavours are combined and then bake in an active imagination as long as possible
- Serve, seasoned to taste with Kirby Krackle
Welcome to the ultimate battle for control of New Earthea!
A world shattered by a great and long-forgotten disaster!
A world where magic swords and mighty warriors meet long lost secrets of technological trickery!
A world where man, monster and beast struggle in an endless battle for survival!
Welcome to the ultimate showdown between Good and Evil where Meric the Red, White and Blue haired heir to the noble House of Yoosamon, battles the ominous omnipotent menace that is the titanic Two Tank Omen.
Meric is a man on a quest. A quest for revenge (or should I say REVENGE!!!) after the monstrous forces of the tank track booted Two Tank Omen destroy the Castle of Lord Lionhorn killing Meric’s father and brothers in the process.
American Barbarian feels like the product of one of those long car journeys to a grandparent or cousin’s house that you took as a kid. One of those car trips where all you had to entertain yourself was a maybe a shabby pile of Masters of the Universe Mini Comics and your own imagination.
(Also as a quick aside, just to ensure we are all clear on this. Battle Axe and Shield He Man is the best He Man. You can keep that pink vested Prince Adam nonsense for yourselves folks, don’t at me or whatever it is the cool kids are saying these days)
It would be a truly amazing and terrifying thing to peek inside Tom Scioli’s mind and see the world of American Barbarian fully formed, restlessly waiting to be birthed into this universe.
Ideas and concepts come at you thick and fast, from Two Tank Omen (the colossal demonic despot with tank treads for feet and the Number of the Best Emblazoned on his Head) to tentacle headed, Monster Manual inspired God of the Caves to the savage fury of the Kingdom of the Dinosaur People (no not the cyborg Dinosaurs, they’re the bad guys who’ve been in Two Tanks pocket the whole time!).
Rob Liefeld describes Tom Scioli as “fearless” in his introduction to this volume and it’s easy to see why. Although the story of American Barbarian is a cook up of conventional heroic and fantasy staples Scioli serves it up to the reader with bold uncompromising energy, a nod and a wink and a wicked knowing grin.
From cover to cover American Barbarian is an amazing thrill ride which grabs you by the eyeballs and doesn’t let go for some 250 odd pages. The energy is palpable and infectious as our hero battles against seemingly insurmountable odds to reclaim the legendary blade which his is birthright only to surrender the all powerful Star Sword to his most hated enemy after he is betrayed by someone he thought long dead.
Scioli’s kinetic take no prisoners action, adventure storytelling is complimented as always by his innovative art style. Don’t let the super saturated, high intensity cartoonish colour palette and the frequent use of splash pages and double page spreads fool you, Scioli is one of the most innovative creators working in comics’ today.
There are large, almost schematic-like panels illustrating Meric’s infiltration of the Moving City. Two Tank Omen’s army grows ever larger from the smallest sliver in the bottom left hand corner of a page before finally conquering the page just as the tyrant’s army destroys Meric’s home and dispatches his family to an early grave.
In addition to Scioli’s signature Kirby Krackle infused designs and his use of crayon and watercolor layers to add texture and shading there are also several collage pages here which draw directly on Kirby’s often overlooked approach to mixed media to construct some of his most iconic comic art sequences.
In the canon of post apocalyptic, post modern, science fiction and fantasy American Barbarian sits very comfortably alongside SLIME! and Blades and Lazers which we’ve also reviewed here on Advance Comics over the last few months.
I’ve been waitin for years to read this book after I first learned about the existence of the 2015 Hardcover and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Maybe that’s the way it was always going to be given my love of Scioli’s other work and my lingering nostalgia for the Masters of the Universe movie, maybe not.
If you want to find out if American Barbarian is for you (and really if you’ve got this far it probably is) you can always sample if for FREE on Scioli’s web page or grab the first chapter for the bargain price of 99c over on Comixology before taking the plunger and picking up this collection from IDW.