Last month Head Lopper Andrew MacLean shared with me that he was working on a webcomics project written by Dark Horse editor Jim Gibbons and colored by Ryan Hill. The good news is that their comic, Mars: Space Barbarian, is up now, featuring a spear-wielding barbarian fighting monster birds in the “jungle of the space slug’s belly.”
The bad news? It’s only five short pages. Five fun sword-and-sorcery by way of crazy space opera pages, but still, just five pages nonetheless, with the promise of more at some point in the future.
“Amidst the kind words, many people also asked us when there’d be more Mars,” Gibbons wrote. “The short answer: We’re working on more now. The longer answer: This is a passion project and doesn’t pay the bills (Though, one day, maybe…). We all have to do other work for that, so we’ll be working on Mars as fast as the rest of all our other work allows. But, in our randomly updating format, we’ll aim to keep a steady flow of content here in the form of sketches and process posts when we don’t have new pages to post. Thanks for your patience on this front, folks. We’ll pay you back for it in awesome comic pages currency just as soon as we can!”
Check out “Only the strong” from the beginning by going here.
If Andrew MacLean has his way — and your help — heads will lop once again.
Earlier this year MacLean self-published Head Lopper #1, an action-filled tale of one viking’s quest to decapitate monsters, and the annoying severed witch head that he drags along with him. It was a great introduction, but not near long enough … which is something MacLean hopes to remedy. He’s currently running a Kickstarter so he can publish issue #2, which promises more pages, more head-lopping and more of that evil witch head.
I spoke with MacLean about both issues of the series, as well as his tale in last Wednesday’s issue of Dark Horse Presents and much more. My thanks to Andrew for his time.
JK Parkin: For those who may not have heard of Head Lopper, can you give a few details on what it’s about and how it came about?
Andrew MacLean: Head Lopper follows nomadic Viking warrior Norgal and his companion, the severed heard of Agatha Blue Witch. When they aren’t bickering and torturing each other, they are traveling about beheading monsters or whatever or whomever might get in their way.
Head Lopper actually originated from a Brand New Nostalgia piece I did. The theme that the members had chosen for the week was “Viking” and I just had so much fun with it I just knew I had to run with it. So I redesigned that same character a little bit, including the severed head he was originally pictured with and started putting together some rather simple classic-feeling stories for the unlikely pair.
Boutique home video distributor Criterion commissioned Samuel Hiti (Los Tiempos Finales, Death-Day) and a list of other great comics artists to create artwork for the individual films in the company’s box set for the long-running Zatoichi series starring Shintaro Katsu as a blind, but incredibly quick and accurate swordsman. Hiti designed the cover for Zatoichi the Fugitive, the fourth in the series.
Twenty-five Zatoichi films were produced between 1962 and 1973, making it the longest-running action series in Japanese history. There was also a four-season TV series in the late ’70s. The Criterion box set collects those first 25 feature films in one package for the first time, but doesn’t include 1989′s Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, written and directed by Shintaro Katsu himself.
Are Vikings the new zombies? In terms of sub-genre popularity not yet, but they could be. With comics like Northlanders and Helheim and the TV drama Vikings, tales of wild-eyed Northern men with beards, swords, axes and more beards are experiencing a renaissance. But a new comic called Head Lopper is taking it all in with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Created by Andrew MacClean, Head Lopper follows a broad-shouldered Viking named Norgal and a decapitated head belonging to Agatha the Blue Witch as they arrive on the Scottish island of Barra. Their goal? To slay a feared sea serpent. However, they become entangled early on by some creepy priests and their dominion over the small scrap of land.
Head Lopper #1 is available for order online, or if you can buy a copy from MacLean at a convention like this weekend’s HeroesCon, where he’ll be at table AA1121. Here’s a preview of what you can expect: