A busboy who eats magic fortune cookies that turn him into a shirtless ninja robot so he can fight the monsters that a gangster put in the walls of his restaurant? A girl named Sexica who smuggles magical organs for a living, including the werewolf's penis she grafted to her mechanic boyfriend? On First Thursday?
As improbable as it sounds, that's what Floating World Comics is throwing at the Pearl art-snob mob this month: pages from Multiple Warhedz (Oni Press, 48 pages, $5.99) by Brandon Graham and Sharknife 2: Double Z (Oni Press, 136 pages, $11.95) by Corey Lewis, two comics by Seattleites for local comics publisher Oni Press. Graham and Lewis are roommates and share a similar style, influenced by anime and graffiti. But they use that style to tell completely different stories.
Corey Lewis' stories involve lots of punching. Lewis, 24, is a fight-comics prodigy, one of the pioneers of the "arcade logic" microbrew comics genre that uses video-game iconography, the semiotics of power gauges and special attack combos. His first Sharknife book was 136 pages, 96 of which were fight scenes between the eponymous hero and the monsters that attack the restaurant where his alter ego, Caesar Hallelujah, works. Lewis has struggled with the sequel, Sharknife 2: Double Z, and the pages he's showing are from his most recent, failed attempt to start—and after their life on the walls, they're up for grabs. "I drew them, and they're of no use to me anymore," Lewis says, "so I don't care what happens to them." ("If someone wants to buy them, that's great," he adds.)
The opening doubles as the release party for Brandon Graham's Oni debut, Multiple Warhedz, about life in neo-Soviet Russia after WolfWar 3. Graham uses ridiculously overblown concepts as background. There are wars in deep space between aliens and werewolves, and soldiers fighting zombies in Korea, but what Lewis would tell in a 100-page action sequence takes up less than a page for Graham, or happens entirely off-panel. Graham builds strange worlds, and then tells stories about the daily lives of the people in them. In the intro to one of his stories, Graham references his book of Bukowski poems when he talks about his own writing. "I like how [Bukowski] ends his stuff without tricks or big revelations," Graham says. "They just end smoothly, and life keeps going." Even for two-dicked werewolves and monster-fighting arcade heroes. .