Michael Baron is a not a name that should require a lot of introduction. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I’ve been a fan of the guy since he served up his classic runs on The Punisher for Marvel and The Flash at DC. Those books would lead me into the sci-fi superhero classic, Nexus. While I was busy reading this stuff, Mike was busy winning awards. Two Eisners, and one Inkpot. Not a bad haul. Baron’s stories were classics: tight pacing, excellent dialogue, and memorable characterization. Don’t believe me? Go read his books.
See? I told you.
So what is Q-Ball? Who is he and what is this series about?
Well, for starts, this isn’t a superhero yarn. There is nary a cape nor a costume to be seen. This is a good old-fashioned, Kung Fu action story. I’ve been privileged to read the entire book, and I’ll tell you what I can without spoiling it. We have a black leading man with a mastery of martial arts and a fighting style based on using the pool cue as a weapon. We have a classic far-east setting. We have strong female and asian characters. The book is a showcase on how to do diversity in comics effectively. The characters are who they are because that’s the way things are in this story. And that’s the only basis you need. Those of you who want diversity in comics, this story is for you. Those of you who have grown tired of dog-whistle politics in comics, that’s not what’s happening here.
This is just a damned fine story with a rich, multiracial cast, the kind that Robert E. Howard used to write.
Yes, all the elements of a classic pulp yarn are present. The setting is present day and the cast reflects a more liberated climate, but this could have easily been a plot pulled from an issue Argosy or Weird Tales.
As for the art, Barry McClain delivers solid, modern-looking work that could easily pass muster at any of the big-league publishers.
The Kickstarter is live now, and the rewards are tiered so that you can jump in and back this thing for as little as three bucks.
Worth your time, comics fan. Go look.