The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #3

With two issues out on the stands that I’ve yet to get around to, it looks like I’ve fallen behind once again my goal to provide a clear, academic exploration of the myriad questions raised in the pages of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter comics. And to be honest, it’s mostly because I haven’t wanted to actually go back and re-read these things, because they are not very good that sort of research takes an awful lot of time.

After what I went through last week, though? Anita Blake oughtta be a walk in the park.

So please, grab a copy of your own and follow along as the award-winning* ISB Research Department tackles the mysteries of another issue of Anita Blake!



0.0: In this issue’s cover, artist Ron Lim has provided us with a striking image that not only calls to mind the classic “mother, maiden and crone” trichotomy and the Greek Moirae (or Fates), but also depicts a clear representation of the three most important elements of the Anita Blake saga thus far:



Sasha Fierce, Spider-Man’s kindly Aunt May, and Eddie from Iron Maiden.


1.1: When we last left Anita, she was hanging around in Aunt May’s basement asking questions for what felt like somewhere around thirty-six years. Sharp-eyed readers may note that despite what it might say on the cover, this is neither hunting nor particularly vampiric, but since it is in fact the most exciting thing to happen in the series so far, I guess it counts as a cliffhanger.




Aunt May never explains how to capture souls in a bottle, a procedure with which the Research Department is also sadly unfamiliar. For more information on how to catch Time in a Bottle, however, feel free to consult singer-songwriter Jim Croce.


2.3: For those of you who were running a betting pool, it’s exactly two pages, three panels into the third issue that necrophiliac sex slavery becomes a plot point:





2.7: In this panel, it’s revealed that Aunt May took money from the families of her Zuvembi Prostitutes to do that voodoo that she do because, and I quote, “It is illegal to tamper with dead bodies without permission of the family.” So, to review: Digging up a corpse and chopping off a chicken’s head with a machete to bring it back to life without a signed permission slip? Against the law. Selling sentient rotting corpses as sex slaves? That’s apparently just fine.


4.1: In this panel, we’re reminded in a caption that “White Goat” is a euphemism for “human sacrifice.” You know, just in case you forgot from when it was explained in the last issue, or if you couldn’t infer the meaning for yourself four panels later when Anita spells it out for the third time. Anita Blake: For the Urban Fantasy Reader with the Memory of a Goldfish!


4.4.: Hey Anita! Which one of the fake trailers from Grindhouse was your favorite?



That’s funny, I would’ve pegged you as a Machete fan.


5.1 – 7.3: Over the course of the next few pages, Anita and Aunt May snipe at each other verbally, with Anita heroically threatening to shoot an old lady, and the septugenarian in question threatening to strike back. And judging from the way she calls Anita “chica” seven times in eight pages, we can only assume that her response will involve her long-standing tag-team partner Kevin Nash, and perhaps the rest of the nWo.


7.4: If I may be allowed to overstep my position as a humble annotator for a moment, I’ve got to say that this issue of LJF’s ABVHLC: B1 is a little confusing, specifically as it treats Aunt May, who seems a little out of character. As a solution, I’d suggest that the creative team took a few steps to tie it in a little closer to the core Marvel Brand:



9.1: One of the primary rules of visual storytelling is “show, don’t tell,” although judging from the steering wheel scene last issue, it’s one that the world of Anita Blake has long since abandoned. Still, this scene, in which Anita, Manny, and Manny’s Moustache are harried by an unseen creature in the shadows of Aunt May’s basement, makes for a refreshing change of pace, as we’re neither shown nor told what the hell’s going on.


12.7: Hey, remember Harold Gaynor, the wheelchair-bound fetishist from the first issue? Well, he’s continuing his harassment of Anita by proxy, assigning one of his bodyguards to give her a stern talking-to. And just to prove he’s serious, he sent the guy who used to model for Rob Liefeld’s Captain America:



13.1: And once more for the full effect:



15.1: In this scene, Anita goes to a funeral. Because that’s what this book needs more of: Anita standing around not hunting vampires.


18.2: According to the dialogue, Anita’s supposed to be wearing coveralls in this scene, but if you ask me…



…that is totally a blue Adidas tracks suit. And I’ll tell you right now: If this book suddenly became about Anita resurrecting the spirits of Turbo and Ozone so that she could stop Harold Gaynor from demolishing the rec center and replacing it with a Zombie Sex Factory with the power of breakdancing, it would suddenly become one of the best comics ever.

Seriously, Marvel. Call me.


22.: Oh yeah, this guy?



That guy is totally not making it out of the series alive.

He’s one of the lucky ones.

38 thoughts on “The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #3

  1. I’d buy a comic that just depicted, from cover to cover, that guy struggling into a jacket so tight it clearly shows the lineation of his muscles.

    It’s easy to picture him rolling around on the floor and grunting, yelling “Shit shit shit, Anita’s gonna be pissed if I don’t make it to the funeral!! HURGH!”

  2. Y’know, it’s only just occurred to me after all this time but- who inked that Liefeld pic, and what was going through their head while they were doing it? I would like to know. Come to think of it, a book interviewing everyone that’s inked Liefeld would be gold.

  3. If the Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Lex Luger, Konan Wolfpack showed up as vampires under the command of Master Vampire Hulk Hogan I’d start buying the books again. Just saying…

    Unless LKH used them in sex scenes, in which case I’d burn down the world to make the hurting stop…

  4. Marvel, nothing. Your plot for Breakin’: Zombie Boogaloo sounds like a perfect Solomon Stone vehicle. If Anita did it, it would be issue 5 before we saw a zombie and issue 10 before we got the flimsiest pop’n’lock.

    Also, no matter how many times I see it, that Cap picture is still…man. I don’t expect perfect anatomy in a comic, but it’s like he did two different drawings of the body from different angles and just didn’t want to be bothered erasing one.

  5. Aunt May never explains how to capture souls in a bottle

    No, but I know where you can get some spirits in a bottle. And man, you need plenty of sweet liquid refreshment to get through this.

    And what is it with all the pointing in this issue? (see the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th images above).

  6. Congratulations, Mister Sims. You have officially passed the point where I, in my reading of the Anita Blake novels, said to myself, “Why am I reading this crap?” and sold my copy to Half-Price Books. (On the recommendation of a bookseller, I optimistically bought the first two books at once, or that breaking point would have been even sooner.)

    So you can now say that you’re officially tougher than me. An achievement, I might add, that only a few billion people can lay claim to.

  7. I will never, ever get tired of wheatcakes jokes.

    So, when is the Tarot/Anita Blake crossover? It would be like printing money. Dirty, filthy money.

  8. I am sad to say that I actually read the book this is “supposed” to be based on… and I don’t remember a single thing here that you mentioned. Aunt May and her brothel of zombies, dude w/ a baby on the way who will most likely die… none of it. Makes me even more glad I’ve been avoiding this book like the plague.

  9. One thing: goldfish have actually quite decent memories, able to maintain a definite social structure in their natural enviroment. A better term would be “the memory of an Octopus”, who can be taught what a white goat is (or how to open jars, whatever), but they will forget by the end of the day.
    And I know the original phrase is a valid part of the lexicon, but every man needs a hobby.

  10. Chris Sims, why do you do this? I mean, if I had a choice between annotating LKH’s ABVHTLC Bk1 and tasering myself, I’d have to go with the taser. I saw some dialogless pages floating around the webz and it was, like, four pages of no one doing anything except standing around and pointing at each other. FOUR pages. Tase me, bro.
    Also, I am not as well-educated in the art of comics as most of your other readers, but is that Liefeld panel for real? As in, published? In a comic? How does that happen? Are there no editors? Dude.

  11. What is up with the perspective on that bird’s eye view of Anita and um…Juggernaut? It appears he’s about 4 feet tall with a head roughly the size of an apple!
    …It’s like the artist knows how bad this comic is and just can’t be arsed even trying!

  12. Who inked that Liefeld pic, and what was going through their head while they were doing it?

    We’ll never know. Every man, woman and child who ever inked Rob Liefeld has mysteriously disappeared.

  13. How to catch spirits in a bottle:

    1. Stun the ghost with the boomerang

    2. Swing the bug catching net

    3. Make sure you have an empty bottle in your inventory

    For more information, consult Navi.

  14. As a fun exercise, I decided to crop that Liefeld Cap image into discrete pieces to see if each part of the anatomy makes sense in isolation, disconnected from the rest of the figure.

    Needless to say, no.

    The chest might make sense if you think of it as the ass end of Cap’s conjoined twin. And maybe he’s wearing some kind of inverse codpiece that turns his crotch into a smooth vertical plane.

    But the mismatched wings on his head? Come on, nobody can draw that badly.

    I can only hope this was intended as a practical joke by Liefeld, and Marvel published it anyway.

  15. My memory is fuzzy but do you need the bug catching net in OOT? I thought i’d be the first one to make that reference but you beat me to it
    i thought Anita Blake was all about gross vampire sex….
    there’s also a Tim Powers novel involving bottle ghosts that can be caught with palindromes

  16. For more information on how to catch Time in a Bottle, however, feel free to consult singer-songwriter Jim Croce.

    For this, you nearly owe me a new laptop. As it is there’s a root beer stain on the floor from where I made the mistake of drinking while reading this. You’d think after months of the Annotated Anita Blake I’d know better.

  17. For every person Chris convinces not to read this series, God actually SAVES a puppy.

    The Cap pic isn’t just from a PAGE of Captain America. It was on the cover! (One of the Heroes Reborn–I think I have that issue, was it the one with normal universe Cable?) Somebody over at scans_daily has an moving icon where the Alien finally starts bursting from his chest.

  18. Wow. It is truly a testament to how terrible an artist Liefeld is that, even ten years after he drew that picture, it takes up at least as much of the comments section as the actual REALLY BAD COMIC being discussed in your post. And to think how many copies of X-Force #1 I bought at the naive age of twelve …

  19. If you think about it, the Aunt May appearance here is really a clue to the big secret behind One More Day…

    Peter thinks he gave up his marriage to save his beloved Aunt, but the Aunt he got back was not the one he bargained for, Mwahahhhaaahhaahh!!!

    All of this will be settled in Maximum Zuvembage, Event of 2012… where May brings the Marvel Zombies into the 616 Universe, the Status Quo is once again thrown into disarray, and Peter has his final confrontation with the Devil. (I’m not going to give anything away… but it’s going to be exactly like the end of “Flex Mentallo.”)

  20. I think it says something terrible about me that the thing that disappoints me the most is that these posts remind me just how undepraved the Anita Blake books are. I mean, I go into one expecting a DP within five pages, and it’s just a pretty tame threesome that you could see on a late-night softcore on basic cable. Is everyone a prude, or do you have to know some secret handshake to get the books where Anita blows a goat while getting fisted by three vampires?

  21. Sims,

    Leave Ron Lim alone! He drew part of the Infinity Gauntlet and Silver Surfer. And they were Radd, Norrin Radd!

  22. Is it me, or is the artwork subtly changing away from aping Brett Booth and into something where all of the characters are overly cartoonish?

    Maybe Rob Liefeld SHOULD take over this book. It wouldn’t hurt the artwork, that’s for sure.

  23. Late to the party as always, but…

    “For more information on how to catch Time in a Bottle, however, feel free to consult singer-songwriter Jim Croce.”

    I would, but he is DEAD!!!1!11!

    …maybe Ms. Blake can call him for us? Or was that your plan all along Mr. Sims?!?

  24. I’ve always thought the world would be a better place if there was an Aunt May/Brother Vodoo teamup miniseries out there. Preferably drawn by Liefeld, of course.

  25. Andrew

    The true problem with LKH is that she flirts with depravity but then doesn’t truly embrace it.

    What do I mean? She has sex with Nathanial in a partially changed form and then spends 3 chapters telling us-over and over again-how she’s okay with Nathanial being hairy. Then they never do it again in the animal form.

  26. I feel dirty and filthy after reading Skin Trade (#17).
    Never. Again.
    My relationship with Anita Blake Vampire Hunter is over.
    And oh, yeah. That dude totally has to buy all his clothes tailormade. He´s like Terminator +++