The Aerobicide Rad One-Shot (released on November 4) spins-off from indie publisher Shonuff Studios’ premiere title Aerobicide: The Extreme Ninja Workout. For this 3-part anthology, creator Terry Parr serves multiple roles (writer, artist, colorist, and overall letterer) with some other creatives. Joining this 80s pop culture parody is writer/editor David Doub for chapters 2 and 3, while artist Cal Slayton and colorist/editor Halo Toons contribute to just 2.
Aerobicide follows Sheri Ken, a Korean American aerobic instructor, dancer, and ninja hunter. Her hometown of Venice Beach, Los Angeles, has an infestation of ninja spirits that possess people. Sheri, managing to keep her sanity, decides to use her new skills to defend her home. All while playing her era of the 1980s pop culture to its most absurd. Which is where Aerobicide Rad One-Shot comes in to help explore the concept.
Aerobicide Rad One-Shot – 80s Parody Cheese
Whether it’s Terry Parr or David Doub as writer, they both play their parts in the Aerobicide: Rad One-Shot. In any situation, the reader sees Sheri pulling a double shift as both a dancer and a ninja hunter trying to get by. Parr does the opening chapter with Sheri trying to get her big break in her career. This allows her audition to feel empathy for Sheri, especially when she answers questions. Sheri dodges questions about where she lives, which given her mixed ethnicity, makes this feel more like an interrogation. It doesn’t help that the audition judges aren’t fans of her metal dance music and make comments about her lean figure. Readers familiar with the #MeToo campaign would definitely emphasize concerns. Which is why when the judges turn out to be ninja assassins, the beat down Sheri gives them feels satisfying.
Doub, on the other hand, puts a stronger emphasis on gags and parody. On their own, some jokes aren’t bad, but some like bad puns and not-so-subtle sex jokes can feel trite. Especially when the sudden and cartoony slapstick used by and against the antagonist seems funnier. Fortunately, Doub forgoes those in favor of horror movie parodies in the third chapter. Given the series parodying 80s ninja cinema, this is a better use for the Aerobicide Rad One-Shot. With Sheri getting thrown into a slasher pic, and by her own “experience,” she seems to be in trouble. But then a couple of gags towards videotape recordings de-escalate the horror. Depending on the audience, this can be a good jab at 80s video culture and bootlegs or a deus ex machina. Nobody said anthologies were all quality pieces.
Art With Style
While Terry Parr does have the most creative duties, he’s more than willing to ask for help from others, even if the change in designs can look confusing as chapters 1 and 3 are by him. For that matter, Cal Slayton demonstrates doll-like anatomical designs that, at one point, comes with a questionable pose use. Sheri dive kicks a suspicious man down, but in the next panel, she’s on the ground hands first a small distance away for some reason. To circumvent this, Slayton makes use of subtle facial features and cartoonish slapstick. Take, for example, a rocket launcher from out of nowhere just because. Halo Toon’s coloring increases this cartoony feel by making the resulting explosion look so simple any suggested damage wouldn’t be serious.
Now compare the above to Terry Parr’s default artwork. The designs look detailed and dynamic to the point, emphasizing whatever action is taking place. Just Sheri’s presence keeps the reader’s attention due to her hair color, makeup, and outfit. Contrasting all of that against a dim room not only keeps attention but signals that Sheri is approaching danger. The coloring that fills the page in reaction to Sheri’s dance, where shades of light fuchsia brighten the bleak room. It serves a dual purpose, one it shows Sherri in control of the situation despite the threat imposing on her and an ironic joke as the bright but cool colors are in reaction to metal music.
Trying everything together in the Aerobicide Rad One-Shot is Terry Parr’s lettering that he uses to a diverse effect. Everything for the word balloons, the captions, the wordmarks, and especially the musical notes is used to the fullest. The fonts perfectly capture the volume and intent in people’s voices when they embolden or shrink in size. But it’s when the fonts and wordmarks are used to accent 80’s era phrases where they really shine. “Time to get physical” and “Grody to the Max” perfectly encapsulate the setting’s mood, humorous parodies. Even in the second chapter, there are well-crafted music lines and notes to showcase a catchy tune. Finally, the last chapter features a video on captions display in conjunction with the wordmarks to capture videotapes’ visual and auditory experience.
Aerobicide Rad One-Shot Is Stupid Fun
The Aerobicide Rad One-Shot is best for people who like the cheesy parodies of a popular era like Everybody Hates Chris. Not that it doesn’t take time to fully embrace elements that feel authentic. There are aerobic exercises included so that anyone interested doesn’t miss out on the fun, with safety guidelines no less. Because feeling dumb in one area can just mean you’re open to experience in other areas. Terry Parr did all of this to share experiences with his co-creators and his fans.