Coming next week to SDCC courtesy of indie comics publisher, Top Shelf Productions, Kagan McLeod’s Infinite Kung-Fu is a 464-page opus that has literally been 10 years in the making. This fact is underscored by the self-revelation that I was there to see the series born with pain-staking love and otherworldly talent at the hands of McLeod who first released the title as a self-published miniseries from his website back in August 2000.
While I admittedly allowed the series to fly under the radar as McLeod prepared for subsequent Infinite Kung-Fu stories, its nice to rediscover something that brings back so many fond memories. The original series, which lasted at least 6 issues (that I can remember) took place “in the not too distant future” where technology has failed and the world is overrun by zombies (here depicted as lost souls who’ve spilled out of Hell, which is FULL). The key to survival? Definitely not a shotgun or a chainsaw… it’s KUNG-FU!
The main story follows Lei Kung, a former soldier, who accidentally kills a meditating monk, mistaking him for one of the undead. The mistake costs the monk his enlightenment and his spirit vows to pass on all of his knowledge to the soldier before his soul fades into limbo. As the story progresses, Lei Kung slowly begins to master the ways of “infinite kung-fu” and we learn of an evil general named Bao Chong-Zi and the equally wicked Emperor. There’s severed limbs and exploding bodies along the way, all of which add the perfect element of those old black and white kung-fu flicks with names like Five Deadly Venoms and Master of the Flying Guillotine.
Kagan’s love of the genre showed so much he and his friends even included short film reviews on their favorite kung-fu flicks as well as related mini-games, puzzles and more. I’m hoping these elements made their way into the graphic novel as they just completed the overall experience. This was meant as a short little plug, but seems as though it’s turned into a trip down memory lane (ha!). Well, if you’re listening McLeod, thanks for the memories. Here’s hoping this mammoth collection brings many more with it!