My Week in Comics: I Heart Skull-Crusher and Helen of Wyndhorn

You know it's a fun week in comics when lots of interesting first issues pop up on the list of new releases. What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!

First up is Dark Horse Comics' Helen of Wyndhorn #1, Tom King's ode to the era of pulp fantasy-adventure. When cult-favorite author C.K. Cole dies in 1935, his only child Helen inherits the stately Wyndhorn House. Boorish Helen is an ill fit for the "new money" life, much to the annoyance of her governess Lilith Appleton. But soon it will be the least of their problems when Wyndhorn House becomes the playground for deadly beasts...and fantastic heroes!

This one is quite the slow burn. Tom King's prose keeps me engaged where the story doesn't. There's a lot of dialogue, but it feels like a deliberate homage to American pulp fiction in the vein of Robert E. Howard. Allusions to Conan and general sword-and-sorcery abound, and Bilquis Evely is the perfect artist to bring this to life.

Seriously, I could pore over Evely's pencils for hours. Helen of Wyndhorn often feels like King making every excuse to have Evely draw as much of her detailed art as possible, complimented by Matheus Lopes' dreamlike colors.

But art is really just one of the many things I look for in a comic. There is absolutely something interesting bubbling beneath the surface of Helen of Wyndhorn, and it's unfortunate that this feels written for the inevitable trade. This comic may satisfy entrenched Tom King fans, but as far as first issues go, I've had better. This one is a 3 out of 5.


And my MVP this week is Boom! Box's I Heart Skull-Crusher #1, which is just a lot of fun. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, water is a rare currency, and days are spent watching everyone's favorite sport, "Screaming Pain Ball". Which the comic says is kind of like basketball, but with way more bodily harm.

Enter Screaming Pain Ball's number 1 fan, Trini. She's spent her entire childhood hooked on watching (and training for) the sport. But she's mostly watching it for the game's star player, the beautiful and eponymous "Skull-Crusher"!

Trini is determined to play Screaming Pain Ball professionally and get closer to her idol, but for a poor girl in the middle of Podunk nowhere, the opportunities are slim. Lucky for her, the oligarchy is about to hold the first-ever National Screaming Pain Ball Tournament, and this time nothing will stand between her and being in close proximity to Skull Crusher!

I Heart Skull-Crusher is a blast. Writer Josie Campbell brings so much energy to this issue without overstaying its welcome. Trini is hyper, fun, as well as very root-able, and Campbell doesn't let the worldbuilding bog down what boils down to the first episode of a sports anime.

Speaking of anime, the dynamic Japanese-style art is perfect for I Heart Skull-Crusher. Alessio Zono's manga influences are on lock here, elevated by a grasp of sequential storytelling very few "manga-style" artists have. Angel de Santiago's colors and Jim Campbell's lettering round out the rest of the visuals, and I have to say this is probably one of the best-looking comic books I've read in a long time.

If you're into shonen-style sports comics with a Mad Max twist, I Heart Skull-Crusher #1 comes highly recommended. This is a 6 out of 5. Pick. This. UP.


Very fun week, if I say so myself! I hope these new comics find their footing as well as success with readers! What did you pull this week? 

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