The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Necromancer #1

It’s been a few weeks since a new issue of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake comic has come across the desk here at the ISB Research Department, and as shocking as it is for me to admit it, I think I’ve actually missed having it around.

I believe this is what psychologists refer to as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

Alas, the brief reprieve is now over, and while the comics industry’s need for paranormal sex mysteries has already been filled by my own epic, The Chronicles of Solomon Stone, Anita Blake has returned for another round with a comic entitled–and I am serious–Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1.

Exactly why it needs a title of such alarming specificity is only one of the mysteries contained within, and so it’s time for the Research Department to take another crack at it! Grab your own copy and follow along!

 


 

0.0: In addition to the standard cover featuring Team Rocket’s Jean-Claude in all his wispy, sharp-chinned, pallid-as-a-bust-of-Pallas, poet-shirted “glory,” this issue of Anita Blake, like all Marvel comics this month, shipped with a special Wolverine variant:

 

 

Unlike the other Marvel books, however, this one also included the greatest cover blurb I have ever seen in my life:

 

 

You know, I’ve always thought it’d be easier to label the comics Wolverine doesn’t appear in, but I never thought they’d actually do it.

 

1.1: As ISB readers and fans of comics where absolutely nothing ever happens will no doubt be aware, this issue picks up right where the “cliffhanger” of the previous series left off. Why the quotes? Because while a zombie attack certainly qualifies as action, the tension is somewhat reduced when the zombie in question has lost both hands and most of its head.

 

1.3: The fact that it takes six policemen–or five policemen and what may in fact be Grant Morrison–to hold down zombie that has a grand total of zero hands, no teeth, and one leg may seem a little bizarre, until you recall that in the Anita Blake universe, the public trust is served by the Keystone Cops:

 

 

I guess this case is really gonna stump ‘em, huh?

… Okay, I apologize for that. Moving on.

 

2.5: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Anita Blake.

 

STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER.

 

All this, a mere two panels after a caption talking about how badly she wants to “crawl into someone’s lap and be comforted.”

 

3.2: And then she does laundry!

 

 

You know, that really is a lot more empowering than seeing her actually solving a mystery or extricating herself from a dangerous situation without being rescued by six men!

 

6.2-6.3: Okay, look. I’m not trying to overstep my bounds as an annotator by criticizing unnecessary dialogue or anything, but…

 

 

…what exactly is it about “I smelled corpses and it woke me up” requires further explanation? Especially considering that we, the readers, are already aware that Anita woke up when she smelled corpses, because it was in the last issue right there on the page. And yet, there’s an entire panel devoted to her clarifying her statement.

Actually, now that I think of it, why does this scene even exist at all? Is the thrill-a-minute intrigue of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter giving the police her statement really more relevant to the plot than, oh, I don’t know, vampire hunting?

 

6.4: Apparently so, because after a caption where Anita says “I told Dolph everything,” she continues to give her statement for three motherfucking pages.

 

9.5: I’ve gotta admit: Anita’s expression in this panel did make me laugh. And I’m even pretty sure it was on purpose!

 

 

Shame about the penguins, though. They really tied the room together.

 

10.1: You know, I’ve had my differences with the writing in this comic before, but I’m honestly glad to live in a world where you can write a sentence like “if we could prove he had knowingly caused the zombie to go ape-shit” and still get published. Seriously.

 

12.6: In this scene, Anita lays around in a bed and makes phone calls!

 

 

Specifically, she’s calling Irving, the Male Pattern Baldness Werewolf that went off with Jean-Claude the Master Vampire last issue, thus prompting this series to be officially rechristened as Anita Blake: Some Girl Who Knows a Guy Who Hung Out This One Time With a Vampire.

 

13.4: Finally, after the thrill-a-minute excitement of this issue’s dynamic Making Coffee and Checking Into a Hotel scenes, Anita actually does something!

She goes jogging.

Oh well. It’s a start.

 

15.4:

 

 

 

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah. No kidding.

 

16.1: Huh. In this scene, Anita’s actually accosted by gun-toting thugs–which I think qualifies as something happening–and then she deals with them by being kind of tough and clever about it. It’s… confusing.

But not as confusing as what happens next.

 

18.3: Huh.

 

 

That’s someone whose last name is “Sims” doing something awfully close to kicking someone in the face, and that’s… kind of awesome? Definitely confusing. If only there was something that could get this back on track…

 

19.4.: Oh, here we go!

 

 

Assuming she’s quoting Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry–which seems like a safe bet, since she drops a ham-handed reference to the same last issue–that is not the line. And not only is she getting the “quote” wrong, she’s getting the quote wrong on a line that every single person in America knows by heart. In fact, it’s the kind of line that you’d have to actively work to get wrong, like if she said “Use the Force, Bruce” or “You want the facts? You can’t handle the facts!”

And that’s Anita Blake, folks: Actively working to get it wrong.

(And I think you just found your pullquote for the next trade!)

66 thoughts on “The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Necromancer #1

  1. You know, if Wolverine had appeared in this issue, maybe they could have done laundry together.

  2. It’s not the first time that marvel’s pulled that “Wolverine does not appear” gag. The first time I’m familiar with was a cover of Moon Knight.

    It had MK, Spidey and Punisher under big block letters that said “Wolverine” and under it in much smaller text “does not appear in this issue, so here’s these three instead.”

  3. “I guess this case is really gonna stump ‘em, huh?”

    That pun is lamer than a one-legged zombie.

  4. You know, if that Wolverine disclaimer was around in the late 80s/early 90s, we could have prevented Rob Liefeld all together.

    Grant Morrison does not look at all happy to be in this issue… maybe it’s because he’s dressed without flair.

  5. In all fairness to Anita Blake’s writers, most of America also gets that Dirty Harry reference wrong. “Do you feel lucky, punk?” isn’t really all that close to “So you have to ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do you punk?” Not following that trend is actually commendable.

    On the other hand, when people misquote the movie, they all do it the same way and I can recognize the reference. Anita Blake’s line reads more like a confused and terminally unhip geezer trying to quote a popular movie months after the fact, out of context, without even getting close enough for people to guess the reference.

    I can actually picture her doing it in the wrong accent, and with an iconic gesture that has nothing to do with it. Possibly Nixon’s double peace signs and a bad German accent.

  6. oh my god, when you mentioned you were working on the new anita blake issue on twitter i was SO EXICTED. i kept checking back like “IS IT DONE YET, HOW ABOUT NOW” allll day. Oh god this is amazing. I wonder if you’ve boosted their sales…

    marvel’s “put wolverine on things he’s not in” might be the cheapest ploy i’ve ever seen.

  7. The disclaimer on the variant cover is priceless. And that has got to be one of the worst Wolverine covers I’ve ever seen, as if he was ‘shopped in over something else. It doesn’t look right at all.

  8. Another excellent, scholarly analysis, Mr. Sims. Also, I very much enjoyed the quantity of Lebowski quotes in this edition.

    Seemingly, thinking about the Dude is the best way to get through these monthly trials.

  9. Really, man, they should’ve had Wolverine in this issue. It would’ve been awesome.

  10. I’ve only read 0.0 and I don’t know if my stomach muscles can take the rest of the review tonight. LOLZ beyond lulz.

  11. All this and NO WOLVERINE? This series is getting harder and harder to resist.

    About the cover, seriously, Anita Blake making out with Wolverine would have been 10 times crazier and better for sales. These variants keep trying to act like this is an ordinary Marvel comic, and it’s not!

  12. The amount of Lebowski references made me think that there actually may be a connection to the dude and Ms. Blake. Both characters are, more or less, passive agents in their own story. Could Framingham have actually written an homage here… on purpose? My God.

  13. That misquote reminds me of my mother’s husband’s oft repeated faux pas.

    When trying to quote the Homey the Clown catchphrase from In Living Color (yes, he still believes it’s the eighties), “Homey don’t play dat” is horribly malformed into “I don’t think so, holmes.” Then he grins like a retarded monkey, and eye checks everyone to witness the laughter that never comes.

    Sheer fucking torture.

  14. …what exactly is it about “I smelled corpses and it woke me up” requires further explanation?

    Quite a bit, actually. Your sense of smell shuts off when you sleep. It’s why people don’t smell smoke and wake up during fires.

    If LKH knew what the fuck she was talking about, Anita Blake would have been killed by that fucking zombie, and we’d all be a lot happier.

  15. My theory is she’s actually pretty chubby and wearing a corset all the time. It would explain the tiny waist combined with huge bust, hips and tree trunk-ish legs.

    Anita Blake: The Laughing Corset.

  16. “That’s someone whose last name is “Sims” doing something awfully close to kicking someone in the face, and that’s… kind of awesome? Definitely confusing. ”

    Don’t worry Chris in later books Ronnie becomes a drunken, broken loser who whines constantly to Anita that its unfair that she only has one guy in love with her while Anita gets a giant harem of were-kitties, vampires and emo werewolves…

  17. Bruce Campbell doesn’t need to use the Force.

    There’s no mystical energy field that controls HIS destiny.

  18. RE: “Slim hips”

    So, Anita started jogging when Ron Lim took over the penciling duties? The change in artists was actually a plot point? That’s metatextually deep.

  19. in later books Ronnie becomes a drunken, broken loser who whines constantly to Anita that its unfair that she only has one guy in love with her while Anita gets a giant harem of were-kitties, vampires and emo werewolves…

    What.

  20. It’s nice that Anita was able to find a fellow below-knee amputee from her support group to go jogging with.

  21. Aaaaaaargh. A .22 is not an air rifle. Can’t we just send every author to a Guns 101 weekend seminar?

  22. So you’ve stopped doing the “Chris vs Previews” because you hated it, but you keep doing the Annotated Anita Blake?

    I could understand if you did the Annotated Tarot: any comic that has a Haunted Vagina deserves attention, but like you say, nothing happens in this comic! I admire your dedication but why keep doing it?

  23. So you’ve stopped doing the “Chris vs Previews” because you hated it, but you keep doing the Annotated Anita Blake?

    CvP took twice as much time (it was a two-night affair) and a 500-page catalog involve more hassle than a 22-page issue.

    Plus, it’s my duty as a scholar. A very, very hateful scholar.

  24. “You know, the stuffed penguin scene plays out a lot more emotionally sympathetic in the novels.”

    There’s a sentence that I never expected to read today.

    However, I can’t say that I’m surprised, either.

  25. “There’s a sentence that I never expected to read today.

    However, I can’t say that I’m surprised, either.”

    Twice nothing is still nothing, Wolt.

  26. You know, the stuffed penguin scene plays out a lot more emotionally sympathetic in the novels.

    It’s True! The penguin collection was one of the most endearing aspects of Anita..til she became the fantasy community’s communal bike.

  27. Why didn’t they just have Logan jogging in the background in 15.4 so that they can have him appear in the issue?

  28. So, uh, panel 1.3… did Liefeld draw that? True, the characters aren’t muscular enough, anatomy has only been given a black eye rather than been mugged and left for dead, and I don’t see a lot of cross-hatching. But it would explain (A) why Anita Blake doesn’t have any feet; (B) all the cops are grimacing; and (C) that cop with his back to us has an awful lot of pouches on his belt, don’t you think?

    Also, what the hell is wrong with Wolverine’s head on the variant cover? Why is it floating in front of his chest?

  29. It’s a shame the cover wasn’t, “Anita Blake does not appear in this issue.” They might have had something there.

  30. “a comic entitled–and I am serious–Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1.”

    Did it occur to anyone else that Marvel missed out on some sort of postmodernistically ironic metatextuality on this one by not assigning the art chores to Ernie Colon?

  31. I noticed that your recap doesn’t seem to feature Jean Claude. Does that mean that neither guy on either cover appears in the issue? And if so, why isn’t there a disclaimer about Jean Claude? What about all the rabid Jean Claude fans who bought this thinking he would appear?

  32. Chris, you need to name your next iteration of Solomon Stone “Solomon Stone: Half-Vampire Skateboard Detective: Volume Two: Wrath of the Golem Luchadore: Issue #1: Pages 1 through 18: Amazing Supernormal Adventures: My god why are you still reading this.”

  33. Clearly you’re forgetting the title of the original novel: The Chronicles of Solomon Stone: Book One: Enter: Solomon: Stone Me Deadly.

    Not to mention the follow-up, The Chronicles of Solomon Stone: Book Two: Solomon’s Fury: A Stone In Time.

  34. REEEEEEEEEEEEE is the same noise my cat makes when you shut her out of a room. If you can imagine an icepick driven into your temple while someone drills your wisdom teeth, there you go. I actually think the incorporation of this noise is a pretty smart development vis a vis coffeemaker technology, as I assure you it WILL wake you up. (I think the sound is supposed to be Anita’s coffee grinder, though.)

  35. The shirt she wears in the penguin-cleaning pic is fantastic. I love the way that her hips form the shoulders of the chap on the shirt. It’s inspired.

  36. Chris,#

    If you ever get around to Solomon Stone: The Novel, a.k.a. () ‘The Chronicles of Solomon Stone: Book One: Enter: Solomon: Stone Me Deadly.’ you could go one further and rather than call the series ‘The Chronicles of Solomon Stone’ use the title ‘Solomon Stone: The Chronicles.’

    You might even persuade Ernie Colon to do the cover…

  37. I think “slim hips” would have been even funnier under the previous artist, who had more leanings toward Liefeldness (Liefeldiasis?) than the current guy. Of course, neither of them knows how to signify “woman” other than by making a crude hourglass shape and then topping it with a giant wig and a set of wax lips.

  38. Oh, and with reference to 18:3 (That’s someone whose last name is “Sims” doing something awfully close to kicking someone in the face), might I request that you do a blog entry comparing and contrasting this panel with any (or preferably several) panels by Jim Aparo of Batman taking some villain out. With considerably more conviction.

    And are you sure that that panel doesn’t represent a cross-over with the Marvel Mutantverse? The morbidly obese henchman bears a striking (ha ha) resemblance to The Blob.

  39. I just realized that Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1 has eclipsed Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up as the all-time Marvel champ for most diacritical marks in a title!

  40. Almost entirely unrelated story: at some point in the comic GHOST, there was a requirement that there be a Predator crossover in every. single. comic. in the line. Every comic had to feature a Predator. The cover of this particular instalment of GHOST featured Ghost with the ominous three red dots on her forehead. Unfortunately, Ghost was in the middle of a storyline at that time–a storyline that did not involve Predator.

    In possibly the best display of contempt for contractual obligation ever, Ghost handled the Predator’s appearance in three panels on the final page after the storyline was wrapped up. Simply put: bushes rustle. Predator gets in Ghost’s face. Ghost ghosts the tip of her Magnum through the Predator’s faceplate and blows it away. AND THE WHOLE CAST WALKS OUT OF THE STORY AS IF THIS LITTLE INCIDENT HAD NEVER HAPPENED.

    One: Anita Blake wishes she was half as badass as Ghost. Two: All unnecessary crossovers should be handled like this.

  41. I can’t bring myself to buy this, even though I enjoy Ron Lim’s artwork.

  42. Maybe Anita’s role models are large software corporations and she mixing Google and Microsoft together.

  43. They should keep the blurb for future issues, but with one small change: “Vampire hunting does not appear in this issue”

  44. Oh this is so awesome!

    Thankyou. Considering Anita’s behaviour in the later books I’m amazed the second cover isn’t her jumping on Wolverine. He had a lucky escape!!

    The poor penguins

  45. - If the zombie had a head, it could say “Can’t we all just… braains… get along?”

    - EXTREEME COFFEE-MAKING ACTIONN!!!

    - “Anita Blake, One-Legged Vampire Hunter”. It’s not up there with MACHINE GIRL, but it might work…
    :-S

  46. 9.5: “I don’t care WHAT Ronnie says, these reusable penguin tampons just aren’t worth it!”

  47. Well, I’ll be honest.

    Have you ever read a book.

    They…pretty much copied some parts of it, they didn’t adaptate the dialoges, they just ripped them off from the book.

    And seriously it is quite tedious, the dialoges in the book I mean, and the descriptions as well, she gets to descrive the same things over and over, book after book.

    Seriously, after a while you learn by heart how does she describes a Browning.

    …However, I do like some parts of the comic adaptation, mainly the design of some characters…fuck that, not some characters just Edward.

    But he is not in this book, so whatever (I would defend the first one though)

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