Creator: Rhys Prosser
Independent, November 2021
NJXP is the first graphic novel written and illustrated by Rhys Prosser (see Rhys Prosser – Comic Book Author). Mr Prosser originally started working on NJXP in 2019 but managed to finish and release the project in late 2021. (As we see so often in this age of Covid, the project became a way for Mr Prosser to cope with the pandemic.)
The title of the comic refers to a fictional business called the Ninja Express. The protagonist is a teenage girl named Sonya, who is the latest recruit of the courier service. What makes the Ninja Express interesting is that the name is not just a clever brand. It is a literal description of the business.
The Ninja Express is a courier service that employs actual ninjas to deliver their packages. It is an odd, but reasonably logical premise for comic books. It stands to reason that ninjas make for excellent couriers. They are fast, stealthy, and can protect your packages using deadly (but discreet) force.
The creator, Mr Prosser, is British. The art style used by NJXP make the comic look like a self-published comic from the 1990s. It is in monochrome and is highly stylized. There is a nice effect achieved by illustrating everything by hand, then using a computer to add shading and lettering. The end result is that the visuals look raw, but not amateurish. The artistic style brings to mind the edgy, raw visuals of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. But when you start reading the story, the actual inspiration is immediately apparent: Mr. Prosser is clearly inspired by shonen mangas.
Sonya is the typical shonen protagonist (despite being female). She’s hyperactive, earnest to a fault, and has dreams of reaching the top. In this case, Sonya wants to be the best Ninja Express courier, as a way of following in the footsteps of her parents.
Sonya’s foil comes in the form of her first assignment. A talking warrior cat, which was supposed to be delivered to an unrevealed client, serves as her temporary ally after frequent ambushes from various assassins.
NJXP is lighthearted enough to recommend to young teens. It does have depth and tackles a few mature topics but it does so with tongue firmly in cheek. The story does not take itself seriously and can be enjoyed at a superficial level by younger readers. Mr Prosser knows what he wants from the story – to provide action with a healthy dose of comedy and creativity. We are not sure of the author’s age, but readers who have fond memories of the 1990s will find nostalgic references scattered here and there throughout the comic.
NJXP is only a one-shot, but is around a hundred and fifty pages in length, so there is enough space to tell a complete story. It is an ideal format for people who want to try something new, but do not want to commit to an ongoing series. It’s currently available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon – see https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09LGRV9J7/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1637001081&sr=8-6