Kickstart This: "Apama: The Undiscovered Animal" Vol. 1
- by Señor Editor, 3 October 2014
Nowadays everybody is crowdfunding something, and comics creators are no different. That said, you occasionally see a comic that you KNOW is gonna succeed. That’s the case with the “Apama: The Undiscovered Animal” (previously only available in digital) volume one hardcover. Written by Ted Sikora and Milo Miller, with art by Benito Gallego, “Apama” is one of the weirdest superhero comics of the last decade.
One day, while out on a trip in the woods, Ilyia gets lost and sees a weird, ghost-like figure running nearby. When he attempts to chase it, he falls off a small cliff, knocking himself unconscious. In his dream, he sees prehistoric scenes of animals fighting to determine which one of them is the king of the animal kingdom. There’s a gorilla fighting an alligator, a wolf fighting a rhino etc. Eventually, when the lion seems to be the clear champion, a weird animal appears out of nowhere. It is the Apama, an undiscovered animal, who defeats the lion with ease and then disappears.
When Ilyia wakes up, he notices an entrance to a prehistoric cave. When he enters, he sees walls covered in centuries-old drawings and a mummified smiling man, frozen in a bizarre, dance-like pose. Next to the man is a closet, with a leather full-body costume inside. Ilyia takes it, and as if he was in a trance, spends the next few days trying to replicate the dead caveman’s insane pose, because he somehow knows it is the key to gaining the power of the Apama. When he finally succeeds, he gains incredible strength, speed, agility and heightened senses, as well as the ability to communicate with animals.
So… yeah. That’s the origin story right there, and things only get weirder from here. In the four first issues I got for the review, Apama (now Cleveland’s bona fide superhero) faces environmental threats, aliens, a “Lawnmower Man” and more, at the same time dealing with his everyday problems, Peter Parker style. It’s like a long-lost ‘70s comic that marinated in its own incredible weirdness for 40 years, before deciding the world is finally ready for it. And that’s a damn good read.
Sikora (is that Polish?) and Miller do a great job of striking the perfect balance between light-hearted old school comic feel and something very modern and new. There’s romance, action, elements of horror and a balls-to-the-wall insane spiritual and ancient backstory of the Apama. This is an ongoing series, and the potential for the series running long is definitely there. The first two issues (the hardcover will consist of 5 comics) are pretty much standalone stories, but there are seeds for future plots planted in each of them. The issues are about 30 pages each and there’s a lot of story in there.
What makes “Apama” so enjoyable is also the fantastic art of Benito Gallego. I’ve seen comparisons of his art to that of John Buscema (by the way: Sal Buscema – one of my favorite artists – does one great pin-up in issue #1!), but to me it kind of feels like there are hints of both Buscema and late Neal Adams art in there. In any case, the art is great and has a very classic feel. It suits the style and weirdness of the book perfectly.
I very much enjoyed the first four issues of “Apama” and I think you will, too. Head on over to the Kickstarter page to learn more about the comic, and check out the official website. This is one project worth supporting, and I will be surprised if the title won’t get picked up by some big publisher in the future. Apama deserves to be discovered!
So, what do you think? Did “Apama” pique your curiosity? Let us know in the comments!