Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper

By Kevin Huizenga
32 pages, black and white
Published by Buenaventura Press

There are a handful of creators for whom I’ll buy just about anything, and Kevin Huizenga is one of them. I will admit, though, that I was a little surprised at first when I saw one of his more recent comics, Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper. At a glance it seemed a little more low-brow than the sort of comics I was used to from Huizenga. But you know what? I really shouldn’t have doubted that this comic would be anything less than fun.

Fight or Run is a series of stories with a simple set-up. Two characters appear and then they either fight, or run. Last character standing wins. It sounds simple enough, but just like video games, comics, and movies, the combinations are endless. Each match-up features a different personality and ability set, so while some characters are easily victorious at one match, the next one could reverse the odds considerably. It’s a combination of these ever-changing abilities and the imaginative situations that makes Fight or Run so much fun. It’s almost like you’re watching a solo one-upmanship game with Huizenga, as each story gets progressively bigger and crazier. So what may start with a half-page strip of two characters fighting or running turns into so much more. I think it was the three-page story where the characters start pulling the moon and the sun down out of the sky to use as weapons that I realized how much I was drawn into the comic.

Huizenga’s art may look deceptively simple, but there’s a lot of craft and care put into its pages. Huizenga uses the simple nature of the characters to get away with all sorts of things. So there might be a match-up where almost all of the panels are focusing exclusively on the feet of the combatants, or a slow shift on the page from horizontal to vertical panels. Even the characters themselves have a lot of artistic fun going on; they may look ordinary at first, but as arms start stretching, additional legs start sprouting, or body parts start forking, you never know just what you’re going to get.

Fight or Run is a slightly silly comic, don’t get me wrong, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. If down the line Huizenga wants to insert more Fight or Run stories into his other comics, well, I’d certainly welcome the return of characters like Chopper, #1 Song, Bride to Be, Taxpayer, and Pronouncement. There are few comics where you get even more a sense that the creator just had fun writing and drawing it, than you do with Fight or Run.

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