Ever since the end of the first series, where I procrastinated to the point where I was doing two issues at a time–hands down the most harrowing experience I’ve ever been through for this blog, with the possible exception of South of the Border–it’s been my policy to annotate the new issues of Anita Blake almost immediately after they come out.
Obviously this didn’t happen last week, for the reason that I’ve been doing The Worst of Netflix weekly and liveblogging Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight on Twitter as I read it, and there’s only so much terrible media a man can take at one time.
But no more delays! Tonight, the ISB Research Department settles in to tackle the ever-increasing mysteries of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Three: Executioner #2! Grab your copy and follow along!
0.0: This doesn’t have anything to do with this issue in particular, but on her website, series creator Laurenn J. Framingham has claimed that this series is, and I quote, “the first sexy paranormal comic ever!”
Hey, Laurenn? There’s a Vampirella calling on Line One to talk to you. And a Tarot on Line Two.
1.2: When we last left our alleged heroine, this book finally did what it had been avoiding for a year and actually had Anita in battle with a supernatural creature. This, of course, couldn’t last longer than a page, and–seriously–ended with the zombie just straight up leaving while Anita sat around in someone’s back yard.
And then other characters showed up so that, instead of involving themselves in any action that advances the plot, they can recap what happened literally three pages ago:
Now, I’ve mentioned the
coma-inducing mind-numbing repetitive somewhat stilted nature of the book’s dialogue before, but to be fair, this scene was actually pared down to a drum-tight dialogue scene from the way it was in the book. Here’s the original draft:
ANITA: It spoke to me.
DOLPH: What do you mean it spoke to you?
ANITA: I mean it spoke.
DOLPH: To you?
ANITA: To me.
DOLPH: Out loud?
ANITA: And in English.
DOLPH: And you’re sure it was to you?
ANITA: To me.
DOLPH: What did it say?
ANITA: Words, words, words.
DOLPH: Cut the Shakespeare, Blake! The comissioner’s going to have my ass in a sling if we don’t bust this case wide open! Now tell me what happened here?
ANITA: It spoke. To me.
…and so on for another fourteen pages.
4.2: Hey, look at that: It’s only four more pages before something actually happens.
Yes, as shocking as it seems, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter is actually actively hunting… well, one of the undead anyway, and if past experience has taught us anything, that’s about as close as we’re gonna get.
5.3: Oh my God, even the mindless killing machines in this book have soliloquies.
6.2: Hey Killer Zombie! Do your impression of Cobra Commander explaining the root of the mortgage crisis!
6.3: Okay, now Anita, you do your impression of my readers after that last joke!
These crazy kids oughtta take this act on the road!
7.1: And so, once again, Anita fails to do both the job that she is paid for in her day-to-day employ (resurrecting the dead and laying them to rest) and her unofficial, often-touted but never-seen “Executioner” duties; is rescued by more competent secondary characters who still defer to her at every opportunity…
…and then sits down and watches other people do what is ostensibly her job.
Y’know, it’s easy to see why these books are so popular with such a strong female protagonist.
8.3: On the bright side, this issue does give us a sneak preview of the cover art Ron Lim created for the new album by ISB favorite AxeWulf: Sweden’s Blackest Metal!
9.1: Well, it looks like that’s it. The flesh-eating zombie Anita’s been looking for for the past three mini-series has been dealt with, the evil voodoo queen/kindly aunt who raised him has been hauled off to jail, and this is clearly the “heroine recovers in the hospital” scene that always precedes the final wrap-up.
Could it be that this series is actually ending three issues (and 13 pages) early?! Why… Why it’s a Christmas Miracle!
Oh Goddammit, there was a B-Plot wasn’t there?
16.3: Hey guys, check it out: Hey Anita, what did the five fingers say to the face?
Ha-ha! I’m Rick James, bit–what? It’s not 2004 anymore? Oh. Well disregard this note, then.
17.5: That’s right, folks: It’s the return of Harold Gaynor:
Gaynor, of course, is the character whose actions actually kicked off the phenomenally slow-moving plot of “The Laughing Corpse,” and if you’ve forgotten that, it might have something to do with the fact that he has not actually appeared in the comic since October of 2008.
19.1-2: You know, Laurell…
…if you’re going to characterize Anita as a super-tough badass by having her tell people that the last dude who messed with her is dead, you might want to wait a while so that we don’t remember that he’s dead because other characters came to rescue her after her own actions were completely and utterly ineffective.
20.1: It was at this point that I realized why it’s been so easy to make Big Lebowski jokes about this comic: The philandering Harold Gaynor is Laurenn J. Framingham’s attempt at doing Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep with zombies.
I feel stupid for not realizing that before, but I actually feel even more stupid now that I know it.