Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Gun Fu: Showgirls Are For Ever

Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever (Image Comics, 2006)
Art by Dave Sim, Gerhard, Joey Manson & Howard Shum
In 2006 Dave Sim wrote Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever one-shot which was illustrated by Darryl Young and Howard Shum: The year is 1941. France has succeeded in Setting the world record for the quickest surrender to Nazi Germany without putting up a fight. Cheng Bo Sen is a Hong Kong cop and British Secret Service Agent. He also speaks hip-hop which no one seems to notice...

(from an interview at Comic Book Resources, January 2006) 
I've been a huge fan of Gun Fu from the beginning. Howard asked if I'd do a pin-up for the book about a month or two after issue [Cerebus] #300 came out so Gerhard and I did the parody of the James Bond movie poster for Diamonds Are Forever; 'Showgirls Are Forever' that Howard ran on the back cover of The Lost City mini-series (issue #4). I said I'd be up for it if he ever wanted to turn it into a Gun Fu story. I figured maybe a year or two later after he had done his own projects. Instead in his next letter, he just threw out a couple of ideas and I picked up on them and we were off and running!

(from an interview at The Pulse, February 2006)
I guess the most interesting thing was the challenge of getting an entire story into a single issue - something that I hadn’t done, really, since the first three years of Cerebus - 1977 to 1980. At several points I thought we were spilling over into a second issue or a mini-series, but Howard kept a tight rein on things... Howard had been sending me Gun Fu since the first issue and I really liked the very stylized, almost geometric look that he and Joey Mason had developed between them. The first issue seemed to be too closely adhering to the Manga approach of few panels to the page so I suggested that Joey try putting more panels in - basically breaking the pages into quadrants where each quadrant could still have a Manga tone to it while giving the reader four times the entertainment. As soon as he upped the panel count he seemed to push the whole thing to a new level and then I just sat back in amazement with everyone else. And I’ve been sitting back in amazement ever since... The hip-hop dialect, y’all, comin’ from an Asian character in the late 1930s - and no one appearing even to notice. That was just too funny as far as I was concerned. Howard ran a class photo in an early issue that was half black kids and about a half dozen Asian kids. I really didn’t know until just a few weeks ago that Howard was one of the Asian kids. Before that I just assumed he was black.

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