Review: Amerikarate #1 Kicks You Back To The 80s


Amerikarate launches a wild lost chapter in the great epic of 80s martial arts movies, sure to remind you of popcorn and sleepovers but strictly for grown-ups this time around.

Amerikarate #1
Written by Brockton McKinney and Corey Kalman
Art by Devin Roth
Published by Action Labs, Danger Zone imprint

Readers in their 30s remember 1980s culture with a quick smile. Few things feel as good as thoughts about those late night slumber parties, waiting for your parents to go to sleep so you and your friends can put in that VHS tape of Bloodsport or some violent derivative thereof. Movies of the era threw impossibly tough men into shirtless martial arts showdowns for, like, honor or something. Maybe love. The formula worked better if you could keep from taking it seriously, and stars like Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris had a lot of fun pulling us in.

So Action Lab’s mature imprint is publishing a nostalgic treat this spring with Brockton McKinney’s Amerikarate, and they let Bam Smack Pow read an advance copy of March’s first issue. It’s a bizarre, lewd, ludicrous explosion of the aesthetic that convinced us to love Steven Seagal. Sam, the hyper masculine hero, wanders in to Baconville, “The Town That Hated Karate.” There, he finds romance, danger, and a sweet boombox. And man, he does a lot of karate.

McKinney’s resume includes the jaw-droppingly foul-mouthed Ehmm Theory and the recent Gingerdead Man comic, so expect to learn new curse words and laugh at ridiculously raunchy plot escalation. Salman is a seamless partner in crime here. Roth’s art loves prominent crotch bulges and the gratuitous nudity of the 1980s action genre. But these guys keep it dialed just far enough back to stay on the “parody” side of the line. It’s a love letter, a night on the couch with your best friends, laughing until you fall asleep.

Order cutoff for Amerikarate #1 is Jan 18th. The first issue hits local comic stores March 1, 2017.