Saturday, May 12, 2007

Belgian treat

No, it's neither chocolate nor beer. A buddy of mine went over to Brussels for a week with his sweetie, and brought something back for me that I had never seen before:

Luhca Libre #1, Les Humanoides Associes SAS

Lucha Libre is a French-language comic set in East L.A. It stars (or at least this premiere issued starred) The Luchadores Five: El Gladiator (a self-proclaimed reincarnation of an Aztec mummy) Dr. Pantera (the short, fat one), Diablo Loco (a big, cigar-chomping guy), Red Demon (who wears a suit and chain-smokes cigarettes), and King Karateca (who appears to be a martial-arts type dude). For those not dialed in to the genre, lucha libre is Mexican freestyle wrestling, and luchadores are masked wrestlers whose personae in real life traditionally blur the lines between athletes, celebrities, actors, and superheroes. This quintet doesn't seem to command as much respect as El Santo or Mil Mascaras, however; they hang out in run-down apartments, drive beater cars, and seemed to be mocked by a lot of the background characters, such as winos. There adventures seem every bit as wacky, though.

It was hard for me to follow the details of the story, since I have little French, but the group appears to be on some trivial mission involving Dr. Pantera's car when they cross paths with a gang of motorcycle-riding werewolves. Negotiations break down and El Gladiator, who seems to be the leader, throws down with the lycanthropes:

Although the boys seem to be winning, the fight is cut off before a conclusive finish by a shotgun-wielding local in a John Deere cap, who essentially tells everyone to get off his lawn, and the combatants retire from the field of battle.

As the luchadores regroup, we join up with two aliens who are stuck in traffic on the I-5 at the Pasadena Freeway; they either release or merely observe - I couldn't tell for sure - a dinosaur, which we see walking in traffic.

The luchadores meet up with and - I think - join forces with Les Formidables, a group of French ninjas, on a mission related to the aliens, but not after the obligatory fight scene:

Meanwhile, the aliens have been abducted by tiki-warriors,

and the dinosaur is getting the worst of an encounter with some street kids:

The story seems to be continued; it ends with the reveal that the leader of the tiki-warriors is an Elvis impersonator.

Y'know, I said I had little French, but I'm not so sure how much sense this would all make if I was Charles De-fracking-Gaulle. It doesn't matter, though; the pictures are cool, the action is sweet, and there's a frenetic energy to the whole thing that is infectious and appealing.

The book rounds out with some text pieces (heh, big help) and a few shorts, including a couple with Profesor Furia (another, humorous (?) luchadore) and some meet-the-characters bits (El Gladiator and I are the same height: 1 m 68 et demi), as well as a tease for the next issues, promising Tequila, a hulking luchadore with a horned mask, and El Panda, who appears to be a Chinese Communist luchadore.

I had a devil of a time tracking down any English-language info about this series on the internets. Here's the page from the publishers site in French; and these guys apparently make figurines of the characters (in English).

My buddy's sweetie is still in Brussels for a while; maybe I can get her to bring back the next issues.

1 comment:

John said...

Let me know if you really want more issues... I think there were 3 of them at the comic shop. I can ask O to make a run for you. Glad to find out there weren't commonly available in Seattle.

I like how King Karoteca (?) shouts out the names of his holds during the fight sequence. I'm totally putting someone in "La Swastica" the next time I throw down in a street fight.