So, what happens when a troop of 15th Century French soldiers are cursed by a witch and transformed into walking, talking apes? The poop hits the fan, that’s what! This is the premise behind Shit Flingers, an anthology comic book coming from across the pond, created by the UK studios of Martian Lizard Press.
Shit Flingers: Beastiary #1 is the first issue that launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Sixty pages of Simian action and adventure spread across five stories. Each with their own creative team and art style. As the title suggests, the comic is not delicate, thrusting you right into this interesting world Jimmy Furlong and Andrew Hartmann have created. Captain Midnight and his men; Grenouille, Blagueur, Haine, Sabot, Jambon and Chabot are involved in an mysterious crime, a crime that places them under a dark debt to be repaid in full. The team is brought to Rome and pressed into the service of the mysterious secret organization called The Beastiary located underneath the Sistine Chapel. Sent on missions by Thomas De Torquemada they fight demons, monsters and other enemies of The Church.
The first story is Simia Negotum, written by Jimmy Furlong, art by Andrew Hartmann & Paul Little. Simia Negotum gives us our first look into the characters as they arrive at The Bestiary compound. Outfitted with their kit & shown their quarters with a running narration that provides all the background needed to setup the premise but without giving away all the juicy origin details. Parousian Daze by Pete McQue and Renzo Rodriguez is the next story in the anthology and told through a flashback narrative as two members of the Church discuss the recent mission where the lads go up against a New Messiah. Jim Morrison makes a unique pop culture appearance in this trippy story. In The Garden of the Dead by Jeff Aden and Daniel Bell has Captain Midnight and the gang encounter a demon witch in the woods and must defeat her and her demonic sisters. Mad Gods and Monkey Men with story by David Hailwood and art by Tony Suleri finds the squad fighting Z’Kextoraak, Ravager of Worlds, Destroyer of Civilizations in a reconnaissance gone horribly wrong. Finally, The Problem With Polymaths with a Jack Chambers script and Barry McClain art has the team meeting up with a young Leonardo Da Vinci to defeat another occult threat.
What a great concept. Historical sword welding adventures in the spirt of The Three Musketeers. Each member of the team has different personalities and skills based on the species of Ape they were transformed into. Art style is very different between each story as is the writing so some of the tales are stronger than others. The first story had the best art and is really important to setup the cast of characters, but from a story point of view my favourite of the bunch was Parousian Daze. The only real complaint I have is that some of the font choices, especially in the introduction, are a challenge to read but nothing insurmountable. Overall it is a pretty darn decent first issue and I am definitely interested in more stories of Captain Midnight and his ragtag band of Merry Apes.
Issue #1 is available in print at http://www.comichaus.com/comics/shit-flingers-bestiary/203233.htm. Follow the creators on Tumblr for updates and information on future issues at https://shitflingers.tumblr.com/
Issue: Shit Flingers Beastiary #1 | Publisher: Martian Lizard Press
Writers: Jimmy Furlong & others | Artists: Andrew Hartmann & others
Letterer: Ken Reynolds | Editor: Clare Lenton