The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Necromancer #5

What a week it’s been for comics!

Not only did my own comic, Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N., make its print debut at this year’s Small Press Expo, but we also saw the release of the final issue of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book 2: Necromancer!

Of course, this is assuming that you’re operating in a world where the word “final” means that there’s going to be yet another five-issue mini-series before we’re done with the same damn story, which itself represents less than 6% of the Anita Blake series entire. Which apparently we are.

But the ISB Research Department isn’t here to nitpick! We’re here to… well, I guess we are here to nitpick, but we assure you that it is for the highly scholarly purpose of exploring the many “fascinating” mysteries of the series!

Grab a copy of your own and follow along!



1.1: And it begins.



This is the very first panel of this issue of Anita Blake, and already we are faced with problems. Let’s take a closer look at that caption, shall we?



And now let’s have one more look at the art of the exact same panel which I assume will have Anita with her forehead “against the cool linoleum of the floor,” just as it says in the caption, which–again–is in the exact same panel.



Yep. It’s gonna be one of those issues, folks.


1.2: All told, I’ve been annotating the Anita Blake books since 2006. That is literally years of my life spent reading this book. Normally, this thought would be depressing enough to paralyze me in bed with an intravenous drip of Jack and Coke, but as the author is quick to point out…



…it is not a book about Anita Blake vomiting on corpses.



2.5: Apparently the muder that Anita has spent the last two pages not investigating could’ve been prevented by a nieghbor, who, thinking it was a domestic dispute, chose not to get involved.



The irony of Anita Blake lamenting that someone else did not take action is staggering.


5.3: My only exposure to the universe of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter is the comics, but apparently one of the key selling points of the setting is the way that supernatural creatures like vampires are treated in a more realistic fashion as it relates to the law. Which means that the only thing more frustrating than this scene, where the idea of a group of armed men chasing down a killer zombie is reduced to a procedural that occurs off-panel, is that there are actually people who think that’s a good thing.


7.1: Despite the fact that it’s actually just the middle third of a story that’s being stretched like salt water taffy, the number on the cover of this issue says “Vampire Hunter” and “5 of 5,” and it should, by all rights, be the action-packed climax of a story where at least one vampire is hunted.



Anita and Dolph have been talking in a goddamn bathroom for seven pages. At least it looks like the colorist is having a fun game of Tetris in the background.


8.3: Finally, a scene change with some potential!



Anita has brought another animator, John Burke, to the city morgue and I’ve got to admit, a morgue in a world of zombies and vampires that has machine-guns mounted on the wall to prevent a mass breakout is actually a pretty good idea. In fact, I’d venture to say that it fills me with hope for the rest of the book, because there’s no possible way that a story about corpses rising from the dead could have a scene where two people whose entire function is to raise people from the dead (including one for whom this is a primary source of income) could go to a place where there are a bunch of dead bodies and not get into some trouble, right? There’s no way this could possibly turn into thirteen more pages of investigation so boring it makes Matlock look intense, right? Right?


9.1: Son of a bitch.


10.5: Soulpatch aside, the man’s got a point.



Save your breath, Johnny. I’ve been saying that for three years now and they just don’t listen.


11.5: At this point, this story–which, remember, could have been about lost zombie pirate treasure–is now revolving entirely around a charm bracelet.



Also of note: Anita Blake, who uses a machete to slit the throats of chickens so that she can resurrect the dead, is apparently only casually into voodoo.


12.5: And now, my favorite panel in the entire series thus far:



How borrow indeed, Anita. How borrow indeed.

21.1: And nine pages later, after a medical examination that could’ve passed as the most boring episode of Quincy ever filmed, Anita and Severus Soulpatch up there finally leave the morgue so that they can go back to Aunt May’s house, presumably for wheatcakes:



And that is where this–which I remind you is the last issue of a mini-series–ends: With the heroine threatening an old woman in front of her grandchildren.

You stay classy, Anita Blake.

57 thoughts on “The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Necromancer #5

  1. Watching you slowly torture yourself with these comics over the last three years has been a delight. Here’s to three more years of a terrible lack of action!

  2. I’ve always heard that the Anita Blake books are pretty good until they turn into nothing but porn. I’ve never trusted those opinions (because, really, if your pictureless book series about vampires and the hypothetical hunting of them decides that it needs to resort to porn that is, again, without pictures to keep things interesting, it probably didn’t start out in a very good place) but now I’m forced to think about that in the context of the comic.

    In fifteen years when the comic FINALLY gets to the porn books, is it just going to be Anita talking vaguely about other people having sex?

  3. I think you should hire an annotation assistant.

    Then you won’t need to wonder where you left the bucket when you have to vomit up your rage.

  4. As a St. Louisian (South City, not one of those county fucks) who sports a soul patch, no one wears a soulpatch like that. And if they do, they are 1) Evil, or 2) From the county. Fuck the county. Fuck that, Anita is probably from the county and fuck her too. Yes I have been drinking shut up.

  5. I hear Anita Blake is going to get another comic book where she doesn’t do anything. That’ll put butts in the seats!

    (This is the best reference I could come up with in response to your reference. Hopefully the other three people will do better.)

  6. Why is she called a “Vampire Hunter” again?

    Seriously. “Paranormal Forensic Investigator” would certainly not sound as cool, but at least you’d know what you’re getting.

    Same with “Mary Worth in Zombieland.”

    (BTW, Mr. Sims – god bless you for the Quincy reference. He’d certainly investigate this case faster than Anita, and he’s supposed to be a coroner!

    Oh yes. “Quincy in Zombieland.” Another idea Anita Black COULD have been about.)

  7. So, we can conclude: a “graphic novel” with
    – No fighting the undead
    – No gunplay
    – No fistfights
    – No blood (more or less)
    – No conflict
    – No good puns
    – No drama or romance

    Seriously, who buys it?

  8. That guy with the soul patch looks like Namor in that one scan. But with a soul patch.

    Yeah. I honestly couldn’t think of anything else to say about this book.

    Oh, wait, here’s one…

    Am I wrong to think that the noses seem less rosy in this issue? Is hay fever season finally over in Anita Blake world maybe?

  9. You’re a true internet hero for doing these Sims. A true hero. There should be a statue erected of you in middle of the Internets to honor your brave and noble sacrifice…

  10. When the dust has settled, and the inevitable Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N./Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter crossover has made you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, I hope you will be able to look back on all of this and laugh.

  11. From my limited knowledge of Voudoun, saying something has “hair, teeth, skin and bones what’s it for?” is like asking someone to identify an object from Taco Bell by saying it’s got meat and cheese in it.

  12. I think the action of the average PAGE of Nextwave is significantly greater than the action in the average issue of Anita Blake.

  13. I think the action of the average PAGE of Nextwave is significantly greater than the action in the average issue of Anita Blake.

    This comic could be vastly improved with Anita Blake being kicked in the face by Machine Man.

  14. @Meanderthal – I myself will not rest easy until Anita has been on the wrong end of a “tick tick BOOM” panel.

  15. @fireballofspleen: To be fair, there is a thing called “imagination” that some of us can use to compensate for lack of pictures. I’m not about to start reading Anita Blake novels to see if it’s worth the effort, though.

  16. With every other literary law this story breaks, I shouldn’t be surprised, but it even breaks Chekov’s Law… literally!

    She has a gun over the mantle. Machine guns. Several of them. And not a damn one gets fired.

    Never you mind the metaphorical gun over the mantle RE: the hint of mass zombie risings that never gets realized.

    God bless you, sir.


  17. So, we can conclude: a “graphic novel” with
    – No fighting the undead
    – No gunplay
    – No fistfights
    – No blood (more or less)
    – No conflict
    – No good puns
    – No drama or romance

    Seriously, who buys it?

    The same sort of people who buy Buffy Season 8.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but there it is.

  18. I can’t remember: Through all the “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” comics to date, has she actually hunted a vampire yet?

  19. Wait a second…wait a freakin’ second. I just thought of something.

    If the first panel of the first page is Anita confusing the floor with the bathtub, was the last panel of the last page Anita puking? Did they actually end a comic with their strong female protagonist vomiting? I can only think of one comic that has ever ended with a combination of casual racism and puking and that’s Milk And Cheese. Nice job, Blake.

    Or does “luckily, I hadn’t eaten breakfast” mean that she didn’t?

  20. HAHAHAHA WCW reference! Aw, shit, I got a WCW reference =(

    Also: but apparently one of the key selling points of the setting is the way that supernatural creatures like vampires are treated in a more realistic fashion as it relates to the law

    …run that by me again? Do they, like, arrest the supernatural evil that is probably way too strong to be subdued by normal people and then put it in jail aka feeding pens? Interesting…

    I thought this was book 2 of 3 for this novel. How the fucking fuck did they stretch it out for 3 years?

    And someone best retract the Buffy joke. I know it’s not great, but nothing is this bad. Not even fucking Jeph Loeb on Hulk is this bad.

  21. You know, I’m not even convinced that Hitler liked dogs. I trust nothing in this comic.

    Or more accurately: I trust nothing will happen in this comic.

  22. Look closely at that first panel. Between the body position and the fact that the right hand looks different – I think originally this line read “cool porcelain of the toilet.” Someone decided that they shouldn’t begin an issue showing their strong female lead with her head in the john, and so the panel was quickly redrawn.

  23. “This is the greatest comic in the history of our sport Brain!” Tony after reading Anita Blake during a Silver King match on Nitro.

  24. Nah, she’s just leaning on the edge of the bath – basically what got drawn was the moment immediately after she’s woken and started to pick herself up from a sprawled position, and what ever “writer” (scribbler? Riddler? crayola?) was responsible for adapting the book into comic format just didn’t fucking care what was drawn and went ahead with lifting quotes from the book without trying to make them fit the pictures the artist drew.

    And if I was really being uncharitable I’d suppose that the reason why the picture doesn’t fit the words is because the artist lacked the skills needed to do the sort of close up worm’s-eye-view of anita, drooling slightly, with her face smushed against the porcelain tiles of the bathroom floor that Darick Robertson would have gone with in an equivalent panel of Transmetropolitan. This particular artist does seem to have a very static and limited set of perspectives they rely on to the detriment of the story.

    Though the reason why I’d be charitable and not mention that is because I probably couldn’t do better as far art goes… whereas a decapitated piglet would know better than to use unnecessary and factually wrong expositionary boxes that Describe events that are being shown in the panel itself and don’t NEED to be explained in any way shape or form.

    Seriously, do those expositionary boxes cost less than having the artist just put scenery in their place?

  25. artist lacked the skills

    Well hold on there, little shaver. While it’s not his best work, the art for Anita Blake is provided by Ron Lim, who certainly does not lack in skill, as evidenced by all of his other work. This is not to say that there’s not a problem here, but that it’s gotta be for some other reason.

  26. I haven’t read Anita Blake, so I hit up the wikipedia page. I notice it has a list of when she first starts having sex in-book. Just throwing that out there.

  27. At the very least, things do in fact happen in Buffy Season 8. The metaplot’s confused, but you do have at least the occasional fight scene.

    Of course, strictly speaking, Cry For Justice seems to have more action than this comic.

    I think I’ve got this figured out- this is supposed to be the portion of the book wherein the detective has no leads and is baffled by the case and gets shoved around from one point to another before making the shocking revelation at the end. (I.e., that the old lady is like Hitler somehow.)

    The problem is, A) we no longer remember what the case is, and B) this is the most rote, literal adaptation you could have, so we get every fucking scene of Anita going from non-event to non-event and receiving non-clue after non-clue. It’s like that low-budget WAR OF THE WORLDS adaptation that ended up three hours long or something because they felt the need to film everything that the book even mentioned offhand.

  28. Sure, Hitler liked dogs- but did dogs like Hitler? ‘Cuz I can totally see a daschund biting his hand, and Hitler’s going “Ah, der little wienerschnitzel is being playful!” Stupid Hitler…

  29. This comic could be vastly improved with Anita Blake being kicked in the face by Machine Man.

    I bet that after he finishes these reviews and lets the booze take over, that’s what Sims sees in his dreams.

  30. I’ll give credit where credit is due: Anita Blake treats vampires with more respect than Twilight does, and Laurell K. Hamilton does not rape and molest beloved Marvel characters like Jeph Loeb does. So, while this whole thing is horrible, it is not worse than what Jeph Loeb has done.

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip: To be fair, you do not want to use your imagination with this series. Do you really want to imagine a dude with a wanger six inches across, or how Jean-Claude and Asher use all of their vampire wits to keep their main squeeze from being fucked to death by a dude with a penis that is six inches across.

    Because, buddy, that shit’s canon.

    @Tim C: Anita Blake doesn’t eat breakfast. She just has some coffee. It gets repeated, like every little fucking fact, throughout the books.

    Is there a correlation between Anita skipping the most important meal of the day and the lack of action in her book? Who knows.

  31. @Just Some Guy:

    I think they did “CSI: Amityville.” It was called The X-files, and it was much better than Anita Blake, even though it tended to have the same problem with not showing the coolest parts of what was going on, at least until the last 10 minutes of the show, and never in good lighting.

    The conceit with The X-Files was supposed to be paranormal “realism” too. I’m starting to think that “realism” is not the way you want to go when you’re talking about zombies and vampires and aliens and unicorns.

    Which are, you know, NOT REAL.

  32. @Andrew – whether she eats breakfast or not, she did throw up in the book. I just need to know if LKHAB:VH:TLC:B2:N#4 ended up with her vomiting on the last page. Based on where this one starts, it occurs to me that the creative team might have considered Anita vomiting to be #4’s one big action moment, as well as a sterling critique of the series.

  33. I hate to admit it but I’ve read 4 or so of the Anita Blake books so far. There’s a sort of addicting ridiculousness to it, that increases as you get further.

    @24 There is nothing strong about the character of Anita Blake. She spends nearly half of every novel crying in bed hugging a stuffed penguin. She spends pages and pages hoping for the strong/sexy/single/supernatural man to come save her. Essentially she comes off as a weepy spoiled sorority girl who gets off on murder but can only justify it by killing supernatural beings.

    @38 This is by far the most annoying thing about Laura K Hamilton. By the end of the 4th book the story has become the same endlessly repeated phrases over and over with little or no content. These things are endlessly padded as if the woman writes only using cut and paste. And I’m not joking same exact phrasing used over and over.

    But as Sims points out above (special undead morgue!) there’s interesting little ideas mixed in here and there. And things just keep getting progressively more absurd as it goes on.

  34. I just need to know if LKHAB:VH:TLC:B2:N#4 ended up with her vomiting on the last page.

    It ends with her running into the bathroom. The puking happens between panels, or as Scott McCloud would say, we the reader complete the action of Anita puking!

  35. Scott McCloud may need to put out an amended edition of `understanding comics’ to include a 7th form of panel transition, the `nothing happens’ (or the LKHAB:VH:TLC for short, um, long).

  36. Do you really want to imagine a dude with a wanger six inches across

    It’s funny if you assume it’s only 6 inches long – and is perfectly cube shaped.

    I’m noting that, aside from whatever the artist has done in the past, he’s gone with leifeldian teeth a lot of the time, and is Anita doing some sort of bodybuilder pose at the morgue guard while sticking her ass out? What is up with that pose?

    “hi fred, long time no see, huargh! how’d you like my pecs? pretty ripped eh?”

  37. LurkerWithout@32 said:

    No we don’t. At least I don’t and I used to be a fan of LKH…

    Hey, I have the first three trades of Buffy Season 8, so I know. Whedoniacs will buy anything that has anything to do with Buffy or Angel or Firefly, and LKH fans will plunk down for Anita Blake-related merch. They’re not the same people, sure, but they’re the same kind of people. Forget it, Lurker, it’s fandom.

  38. I choose to believe that the first panel is not a mistake, but is instead a little more insight into Anita Blake’s mind: she has no idea what a “floor” actually is.

  39. Hey — one of those kids in the last panel looks like Jeremy.

    Maybe Aunt May has kidnapped him, and we’ll be treated to a guest appearance by Barry Ween, with a generous dollop of high-tech violence. Sigh.

  40. “They’re not the same people, sure, but they’re the same kind of people.”

    Sure, in the same way that people who play chess and people who play tic-tac-toe are the same kind of people.

    (I’m not a `whedonite’, dude’s hit and miss, and while neither of them are my favourite vampire hunter there is still seriously quality gap between Buffy & AB. Specifically that little thing we in the biz call `fight scenes’).

  41. I read these books in high school, and I seem to remember Laughing Corpse ending with Anita raising an undead army to fight the old voodoo lady, and ultimately they eat her or something? Gee, that might make a neat comic.

  42. Oy, can they get to the 6th book already? I want to read some action with Anita and Jean-Claude! Well, that is if they decide to show it. They might show Anita in the tub really… but i think that is it.