Printed Perversions: Infinite Kung-Fu
Infinite Kung-Fu brings the best of Blade of the Immortal into a Shaw Brothers film and sets the stage ablaze with crazy, kung-fu action.
This week marks the release of Kagan McLeod’s epic, kung-fu action series Infinite Kung-Fu by indie publisher Top Shelf Productions. Ten years in the making, you might recall my strange kid story from two weeks ago, Infinite Kung-Fu was one of the very first self-published comics I ever bought. It also marked the first time that I received a personalized letter and signature from the artist/writer with my order (this was early 2001) and though I’m sure that McLeod has signed his fair share of autographs since then it’s nonetheless an experience that has stuck with me.
As one of the banes of self-publishing, I eventually lost interest in the series due to its erratic release schedule, but would occasionally find a random issue here and there over the years. Little did I know that now (years later) I would be revisiting the wastelands of the martial world thanks to the tireless effort of McLeod and the sheer generosity of Chris Staros.
Spanning a massive 400+ page count, the Infinite Kung-Fu world I once knew has expanded into an entire legend full of zombies, killer monks, classic kung-fu, and ghostly apparitions of pure evil. The story itself takes place in what is coined the “Martial World,” an alternate reality where death and the undead run rampant as souls vie desperately to cling to their humanity. This selfish greed disrupts the natural order of reincarnation, where souls find new life in the form of a plant or animal, and creates a zombie infestation.
The threat of zombies, however, pale in comparison to that of an evil ghost Emperor whose mere touch can bring death. Add into the mix 5 deadly masters of secret poison kung-fu, a one-armed warrior witch, the black magic kung-fu of Bald Bo, and an inexperienced student charged with defeating them all to save the Martial World and you have all the right ingredients of a cult classic Shaw Brothers production… only in comic book form. It’s easy to be confused– McLeod’s beautiful greyscale brushwork brings each page to life as if lifted from an authentic illustrated Chinese scroll.
Although the touches of fandom that I enjoyed from the single issues McLeod self-released all those years ago are gone, in their place is a solid action story full of outlandish characters, over-the-top violence, and (of course) some amazing kung-fu. If you’ve ever wondered what it might look like to see an ancient order of Shaolin monks employ an army of bronze automatons for an all-out battle against a horde of ravenous zombies then Infinite Kung-Fu is the book for you. For more information on the making of the book, scope out my interview with its creator Kagan McLeod over at Fuel Your Illustration.