The Glorious Reboot of Ninja High School

To my enormous delight, this comic book arrived in my mailbox on Friday. It's the first issue in the relaunch of Ninja High School, a classic American manga.

Ben Dunn, the creator of the series, first published the series in 1987. Although intended as a one-shot, three-part mini series, Ninja High School was immensely popular--at least by the standards of independent comic book publishing back in those days. Dunn, along with other artists and writers, continued it until 2009.

The story was set in a small town in the American Midwest called Quagmire. It featured anthropomorphic skunk aliens, mad scientists, mecha, witches, time travelers, and, as the title suggests, ninjas. Both the art and the story were havily influenced by anime and manga.

It's a great story. When I was a teenager, it was one that I connected to. Ninja High School was, for reasons I find difficult to understand, let alone explain, deeply meaningful to me. Later struggles prevented me buying and reading it--money was just too tight.

It was only 2 years ago that I was ready to return to Ninja High School. I dragged out my long box of issues, read them, then began purchasing the rest of the series on eBay. It's been a joyful experience--like returning home after a long absence.

So I was delighted to learn that Ben Dunn planned to reboot the series through a Kickstarter project. Dunn acquired more than 3 times the money that he asked for. I happily threw in a contribution, of course. As a result, I acquired this copy of issue #176, the first issue in the reboot.

Readers of Ninja High School will recognize old, familiar faces. But #176 is clearly written in such a way that new readers could join in without needing to study the old comics. Just as people unfamiliar with the long-running Doctor Who fanchise could pick up the series fresh in 2005, so can people get started on Ninja High School from issue #176.

You can find more art from the issue here.

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