A Public Service Announcement

Here at the ISB, I’ve gotten a fair amount of attention from folks based around the way I like to poke a little fun at the stranger corners of the Silver Age, a task that I can assure you has taken literally twos of man-hours from my dedicated research staff over the years.

But now, I’ve reached the point where I feel that it’s time to start passing my knowledge down, so tonight, I’m going to give one back to the kids. So for anyone out there looking for an easy way to start cutting your teeth on making fun of old comics, here’s a Protip:

There is a story in Showcase Presents Superman v.4 where Superman falls under the maddening, irresistable thrall of his two greatest villains:

 

 

DIXO AND VAGU

 

You’re welcome.

The SuicideGirls™ Annual: Just Don’t Do It!

You know, at first glance, one would think that comic books, which are a primarily visual medium in which the action drives a story to an often-repetitive and predictable climax, would be a natural match with pornography, in which the “action” drives the “story” to an often-repetitive and predictable climax. In practice, though, unless you’re Colleen Coover or Phil Foglio, the combination of the erotic and sequential arts tends to fall somewhere between “flat” and “atrocious.”

Case in point:

 

The Hack Slash/SuicideGirls™ Annual

 

Released a couple of weeks ago to high acclaim from… well, nobody really, this one combines a fictional scantily clad goth girl with a bunch of real-but-fictionalized scantily clad goth girls to create a Möbius strip of pornographic horror that is without question the most exploitative comic book I have ever had in my house. And in case you forgot during my week off, I own a full run of Tarot.

I’ve mentioned my feelings about Hack/Slash before, but in case you missed it, here’s the short version: I’ve given it a shot before and, while I acknowledge that as someone who doesn’t really like horror movies that aren’t about guys named Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee it’s probably just Not For Me, it’s always struck me as a book that can’t figure out whether it wants to be a legitimate horror title or a parody. And as we all know from Mr. Miyagi, walk in middle, sooner or later get squish like grape. Still, I actually do think Tim Seeley’s a pretty good artist, and he’s managed to make a career out of drawing a half-naked punk chick hitting monsters with a baseball bat, so, you know, more power to him. He’s livin’ the dream.

SuicideGirls™, however… Well, since you’re reading this on the Internet, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you’re already familiar and skip the explanation and get right to the part where I admit that it’s also not my thing. Don’t get me wrong: I can assure you that I like looking at pictures naked girls even more than the next guy, but I don’t feel any particular need to rationalize my enjoyment by billing it as a subculture, and pretending that there’s a connection between me and the naked girl because we both like Iron Maiden is a little too much of buying into the fantasy. And trust me, folks: I read comic books. I know from buying into a fantasy.

So needless to say, the result isn’t exactly chocolate and peanut butter.

The plot goes a little something like this: Tim Seeley woke up one morning and said “You know what? Fuck it, I’m drawing Cassie Hack naked,” and then proceeded to do so with an SG™-style “photoset” in which she’s in a laundromat, stabs a guy, and then strips down to wash her bloodied clothes. And to be fair, it’s pretty well-drawn, despite the fact that most of them are drawings overlaid onto actual photographs of a laundromat for some reason, presumably because “backgrounds” ranked pretty low on the list of priorities with the rest of the non-breast aspects of the picture. Even so, if I wasn’t so sure it was meant to be taken so seriously, it’d be an incredibly accurate riff on the actual SG™ sets, right down to the little story that takes place sequentially.

What? Just because It’s not my thing doesn’t mean I haven’t looked. A guy has to be sure about these things.

Anyway, seems like I’m forgetting something here. Oh, right: There’s also 36 pages of story before that that explains the in-story reason for the set, which is that there’s a supernatural bad guy killing the SuicideGirls™ models, and, as you might expect, Cassie has to go undercover and uncovered in order to lure him out. Ahh. Empowering.

Tonight’s villain is played by Some Dude Named Ian, who has what is quite possibly the best/worst/best again super-villain dialogue of the new Willennium:

 

 

Hey, wait a second! That’s not Some Guy Named Ian! That’s turn-of-the-century Internet humorist/River City Ransom fan Seanbaby!

 

 

If only we had known the horrors that playing Bible Adventures would unleash on the world of alt-porn…

Also, it’s at this point that the factual inaccuracies start to appear:

 

 

PROTIP: Writing about Guitar Wolf will not actually make hot goth girls want to have sex with you. Trust me.

Needless to say, Ian’s a raving maniac who decides to express his creativity through murder, and when he tries it on the above Guitar Wolf fan, he ends up being electrocuted, which has the nasty side effect of transferring his evil soul into a USB drive he’s carrying, I shit you not, that is what happens.

Admittedly, I’m sure the absurdity of it’s completely on purpose, and it’s well in keeping with the slasher flick aesthetic that Seeley’s going for, but for the sequence of events that leads into the comic-book counterparts of actual people getting horrifically murdered, it seems a little weird. Or maybe I just take these things too seriously, which, since we’re 844 words into the post at this point, is the far more likely option.

In any case, before long, it’s Cassie to the rescue, and while she initially balks at stripping for the camera, she comes around after a convincing speech on the nature of personal freedom that’s worthy of later-era Bobby Donnell:

 

 

So convincing, in fact, that this would be adopted as the national ethos of the Hawkmen of Mongo. For an entirely different connotation, however, imagine the exact same speech delivered by a leering Jackie Treehorn.

Of course, needs must when the devil drives, and when there’s a ghost rolling around in Instant Messenger making models kill themselves–because they’re SuicideGirls™, GET IT?!–desperate times call for getting naked. And to make a long story short (too late) it works, and everything eventually works out okay when Cassie’s able to stab the model Ian’s currently possessing right in the tattooed rack, which you’d think would’ve been listed under the “potential negative results” heading in the above speech.

Thus, with the body count capped at a respectable four, the story proper ends with Cassie giving her profits from the photo set to the homeless, because the only thing that’s better than imaginary porn is imaginary charity.

 

 

Oh Hulk Hands. You make everything better!

Spooktoberfest 07: Protip!

It’s that time again, and as the world turns a little creepier for the countdown to Halloween, the ISB would like to offer a bit of advice for surviving the horrors of Spooktoberfest:

 

When confronted with the dread spectres of the afterlife who want nothing more than to curse the living with their own terrible fates…

 

 

Remember to Aim For the Head.

 

At least, that’s the tactic that always works out for Akiba in Housui Yamazaki’s amazing and genuinely terrifying Mail v.1, where he just rolls around Tokyo shooting ghosts in the face with his psychic Mauser. As you have no doubt already guessed, this course of action should be considered awesome.