The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #2

Criminy, is it that time again already?

Apparently so. The dawn of a new month means that we’ve got the release of another issue bearing down on us, which in turn means that the Research Department has fallen behind on its appointed task yet again. But really: Can you blame me?

But don’t worry, knowledge-seekers! Tonight, we head down to the archives with a copy of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book One #2 in an effort to heap mockery and scorn illuminate the mysteries of the printed page once again!

Grab your own copy and follow along!



0.0: A couple of recent comics ran this ad for Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Welcome to the Junglenow available in hardcover!–in which your humble annotator was quoted:



And yet, they misspelled my name, giving me the commonly mistaken double-M instead of the lean, single-M version I’ve been saddled with for the past 26 years. What’s this got to do with Anita Blake? Well, besides functioning as a sort of control group by proving there’s an urban fantasy comic out there that I actually like, it turns out that the ad was designed by Bill Tortolini, who letters the Anita Blake comics.

Could this slight against my name be retribution for the allegedly insulting tone of my annotations? Is it the start of a secret “dis war” between the creative team and me that could only be settled in a freestyle rap battle?!

Well, no. Bill’s actually a really nice guy and a consummate professional, which I know because he keeps refusing to swap out Anita’s dialogue for lyrics from Old Dirty Bastard’s Return To The 36 Chambers. Oh well.


1.1: For those of you just joining us, here’s a little something to catch you up:



A pretty accurate summary of the events thus far. Except that I’m not sure if we’ve seen Anita raise a zombie, although we have seen her refuse to do so for money (which would, in fact, be her job), and while she did kill some vampires in the last twelve-issue series, it took her about eleven issues to actually get around to it. Other than that, though, spot-on.


1.3: You know, I haven’t said much about the coloring on this book since Anita finally recovered from her albinism sometime in the middle of the first series, but assuming that everything’s supposed to look this way…



…I can only assume that everyone in the series thus far is either a) the victim of a severe head cold, b) extremely jolly, or c) on their fifth Rum & Coke of the morning.

Hey, Rum & Coke… that’d make this go a little fast–no! It’s far too early for that kind of talk. Probably best to just move on.


2.3: Dolph says that he sometimes forgets Anita’s “not one of the boys,” which I imagine is a little harder now than it was before artist Ron Lim decided to slim down Anita’s thighs by moving that extra weight up to her chest. Hot-cha!


2.1: In this scene, Anita examines another half-eaten body, and you know what? Forget about chasing down and fighting vampires and other evil creatures, getting into trouble and pulling off daring escapes with her burgeoning super-powers! What I really want to see is some Crime Scene Investigation, because there’s just not enough of that in pop culture today! Bring on the six pages of wandering around somebody’s house swapping quips with a monosyllabic cop–a scene continued from the last issue–because that is exactly what I’d like to see in a book with the words “Vampire Hunter” in the title.


4.1: See?



I told you it’d work better.


4.5: You know, when the characters in the book itself start standing around discussing the weather…



…then keeping the readers interested in the story might be a problem.




I don’t know about you guys, but the phrase “voodoo priest for the entire midwest” just cracks me up. I mean first of all, what, is Baron Samedi appointing regional managers now? And second, really? The entire Midwest? Wow, that’s impressive. I’m sure being the number one source of juju in Peoria, Illinois is a real accomplishment there, sport.


6.6: There’s an old rule of editing that I’m sure comes in handy when you’re trying to adapt something for comics that says if a piece doesn’t advance the plot or reveal character, then cut it out. That said…



…I’m looking forward to seeing Anita defeat her enemies by using a hot steering wheel. Otherwise, there’d be no reason to devote both a caption and the art in the panel to referencing it, and that would just be crazy.


9.1: Hey everybody, it’s Manny! Those of you who were with us for The First Death might recall that Manny Rodriguez, as well as being Anita’s own personal Murtaugh, is also her mentor in the vampire-slaying biz. He is not, however, to be confused with Manny Santos, the often-misguided student of Degrassi Community School who was humiliated by Peter when he sent out a video of her drunken escapades at a party that one time.



10.3: Also of note about Manny?





13.1: At last, it is revealed: The most powerful voodoo priestess in the entire Midwest is, in fact…



Spider-Man’s kindly Aunt May?!

Well, I guess that does make sense, sort of. She’s had an unreasonably long life, and as we all learned from Empowered, the targets of deals with the devil can often end up with an great amount of power themselves. And with great power… well, you know where I’m going with this.


16.2: Wait, why is Aunt May making Anita play with chicken bones?


18.6: And why is she talking like Razor Ramon?


19.1 PROTIP: When you’re going to call something “indescribable”…



…don’t spend the paragraph before that describing it.

Just a thought.

It’s New Comics Day at the Action Age!

In lieu of fresh ISB content today, direct your eyes to the Action Age of Comics for the first four pages of Impossible! #1, by Chad Bowers and Chris Nye!


Click here to read it!


Impossible is the story of Jon Raymond, a pulp-style adventurer in a world of super-villains who retired years ago to a life of solitude. Now, something’s bringing him back… and it’s not gonna be good.

Those of you who are regulars around the comics scene here in the Southeast might remember Impossible from when Chad and Chris first cooked it up a few years ago, releasing it as a full-length comic book to local success and high praise, including a favorable review by the Comics Buyer’s Guide’s Tony Isabella! Now, for those of you who didn’t get to see it the first time, Chad’s remastered it and over the next few weeks, we’ll be serializing it at the Action Age.

So head over there, check it out, and let us know if you’re ready to believe… the Impossible!

They Saved Hitler’s Gold!

Look, I’m no expert here, but if I was running a comic book company and I had a story where Adolf Hitler returned from the grave to re-start World War II



…I would probably put that shit on the cover.

But no: Blackhawk #115’s “The Tyrant’s Return” is bumped to interior pages so that we can focus on the mind-bending terror of that time the Blackhawks found a hand on the beach. And it’s a shame, too, because it is without question one of the best stories in the entirety of the Blackhawk Showcase. I mean, Hitler comes back! The ultimate villain of the 20th century! Even in the world of comics, that’s not the sort of thing you get every day!

So here’s how it goes down: It’s July 4, 1957, and while Blackhawk and his crew of international aviators are celebrating Independence Day (because, you know, the fifties), more sinister forces are at work announcing the return of der F├╝hrer, who has hired a dynamite PR firm this time around:



Flyers, people. That’s how you know it’s serious.

Clearly, this is the sort of thing that’s going to require the intervention of a skilled team of highly-trained independent super elite fighting men whose weapons are the most powerful science can devise. But since Megaforce wouldn’t be created for another 25 years, the Blackhawks will have to do.

Thus, they leap right into the fight against the resurrected Nazis, although one has to imagine that they’re only doing it to counterbalance their previous record of racial tolerance, which wasn’t all that great.

Before long, though, Hendy, the team’s erstwhile Dutchman, is shot down and crash lands on the Nazis’ uncharted island, where he proves his mettle by punching Hitler so hard that it knocks his moustache off.



Or not, really.

As it turns out, the rumors of Hitler’s death weren’t exaggerated at all, actually, and the whole thing’s just a plot to make a loyal Nazi who escaped after the war with $25 million in gold show up to hand over the money to a gang of what I can only assume are extremely desperate criminals.

As to just why they’re going to such lengths to pull off the crime of the century, we may never know. And it’s that question, I’m sure, that drives Hendy to attempt to infiltrate the ersatz Nazis (ersatzis?) disguised as the guy who’s disguised as Hitler, but before he can get to the bottom of things, he trips, bumps his head, and–because this is always what happens when you bump your head in comics–loses his memory and thinks that he’s Hitler.



Fortunately, Blackhawk himself is able to figure out exactly what’s been going on just by seeing the bandage around Hendy’s head, and once the Real Fake Hitler shows up and conks him one on the noggin again, everything eventually works out okay.

Except that I’m still pretty damn confused. I mean, yeah, there’s $25 million in gold on the line here, but the Ersatzis already have enough money that they’re able to find an uncharted island, set up a perfect recreation of a WW2 German airfield–complete with planes, artillery, and a full staff of pilots and ground crew–and make a pretty good show of attacking ships and dropping leaflets, all for the off chance that a fanatical ex-SS officer’s going to show up and hand over a pile of cash.

Admittedly, we’re talking 25 mil in 1957 dollars, but… well. Comics. Whatcha gonna do?