One of the most awesome things about my meteoric rise to fame on the Comics Internet–which, as Kevin said, is sort of like being “janitor famous”–is that people sometimes send me things for free.
I’m not just talking about review copies either. Those are great, but every now and then, somebody will actually just give me something for no other reason than they think I’ll enjoy it, like the guy who gave me bizarre breast-related Japanese comedies on DVD (which I really ought to get around to watching), and one reader who dropped off a self-addressed envelope full of trades for me at HeroesCon this year to read and send back at my leisure. And then there’s Nina, who felt so strongly about a promo comic she got from her local shop that she felt I had to see it.
And that, my friends, is what brings us here tonight.
I’ve talked about my love of the cross-media promotional comic before–mostly in my rundown of The Heist, wherein a team of rappers led by Fat Joe takes on an army of sinister clones–but I somehow managed to miss this one when it came into the shop. Which, as it turns out, was probably no big loss.
As you can tell from the cover, it’s a promo for a new series from the masters of fun over at CourtTV with the intriguing premise of going from wedding to homicide in under thirty minutes. The kicker, though, is that each story–“directed to be intentionally over-the-top, complete with overacting and cringe-worthy dialogue,” according to Wikipedia–is actually based on a real-life murder, inspired by the network’s vast library of court transcripts. So thanks for that, Canada!
Playing the part of the Crypt Keeper this evening is John Waters, who may be familiar to those of you who watch too much VH1 as the elfin, mildly horrifying trash cinema auteur who once directed a movie where a large transvestite ate… Yeah, you know what? Not even going to bother writing that one down; you can look it up yourselves if you’re curious. Best to just move on.
In this case, Waters is safely in front of the camera as The Groom Reaper, a pun regarded by folks at CourtTV as so hilarious that it appears no less than three times in fifteen pages in large, boldfaced type. Despite that kind of a marketing push, his main function appears to be standing around pointing out that one of the people in the story’s going to kill the other one, which seems pretty pointless since that’s already the established premise. But to his credit, he does have the creepiest moustache in years, and that probably goes a long way to scaring up some chills in this thing.
The story itself–if you want to go so far as to call it that–concerns a young couple with its share of problems, most notably the fact that the poor wife, Bonnie, doesn’t even get a name until you’re three quarters into the story, and by that time, odds are that you’ve long since given up caring. Bonnie, it seems, is married to a young mortician named Ronald–a survivor of three pages of nameless oblivion himself–who loves her despite the fact that the actress playing her part is wearing an oversized sweatshirt in an effort to look dumpy and overweight. That, incidentally, is the pure genius of this comic: The character in the comic actually looks like a thin actress playing a fat woman.
That’s right: This shit just got crazy meta on your ass!
In what passes for irony around here, the Reubenesque Bonnie is employed in the sales department of a health food company run by Slade, who appears to be a slightly more sinister version of White Goodman. Slade–referred to hereafter in my head as the Evil Tony Robbins–is perceptive enough to notice that Bonnie’s hiding a hot actress underneath her sweatshirt, and sets her on the path of visualizing her goals. Goals… of murrrrrder!
No, sorry, her goals here are weight loss. The murder stuff comes an interminable amount of time later. But for your sake and mind, let’s cut to the chase:
Yes, Bonnie’s cheating on Ronald with Slade, who advises her to murder her husband so that they can make out in the company gym all day, but before anything actually gets around to happening–like, say, an explanation of why anyone should care at this point–John Waters shows up again to let us know that if you want to know who gets stabbed, you should quit wasting your time reading comics and go watch the show.
Well thanks a ton, Waters.
Thus, this exercise in cross-media promotion comes to a swift and merciful end, and I’m starting to get the feeling that Nina sent it to me not because of any desire to see what I thought of it, but an overwhelming urge to get this thing out of her house. I can’t really blame her, though, since I’m feeling the same thing, and wondering if it’s possible to just send this thing all around the country until it finally ends up in some poor guy’s collection.