Kaboom! #1 1997
Rob Liefeld had an idea, to showcase up and coming comic talents through Awesome Entertainment. There were some great titles amongst this unfortunately short-lived comic ‘powerhouse’ but two were stand outs for me. Kaboom! and Battle Chasers were two titles that kept me busing it back to the comic book store to check if the next issues had arrived. (Unfortunately, some of the lines had issues with production timelines but that is another story.)
Both of these lines stood out to me because hands down they had some of the best art on the shelves. Jeff Matsuda was an inspiration – I wanted to draw like him. I would try to imitate his style in my own drawings and would study his panels in awe of his composition.
Combine the skill of Matsuda with the ideas of Jeph Loeb and I was a complete mark eagerly handing over coin for another shot of inspiration. Kaboom centred around a 16 year old boy, Geof Sunrise who was in the possession of two powerful mystical gloves that elevated him to superhero status. It also brought him to the attention of the Nine, the demon antagonists of the tale who are relentless in their pursuit of Geof.
Geof’s world explodes on his 16th birthday (not your usual sweet 16) and he literally has to fight for his life. He is approached by The Zang a Japanese Sax player, think Mr Miyagi mixed with an Imp, who presents him with the gloves saying “Believe in yourself Geof Sunrise. Believe in the Kaboom Cycle.” It’s a little Flash/Speed Force-ish, but it is a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact the main character ‘dies’ at the end of the first issue and we are left with a tongue in cheek, fourth wall breaking panel featuring the two creators.
Unfortunately it was a short lived run, Awesome Entertainment was beginning to have issues, so Kaboom never really had a chance at longevity. But it’s style is unforgettable and easily appreciated. I would go so far as to say that the art was better than the story (which can be said for a number of titles) but I don’t regret still having these in my collection. My kids will love them just as I did!
John Vader is a child of the 80s who is still growing up.