The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #1

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

As some of you may already know and be dreading like an oncoming storm, this month saw the release of The Laughing Corpse #1, marking the start of Marvel’s adaptation of the second of Laurenn J. Framingham’s 846 allegedly erotic urban fantasy novels. Thus, with our mandate to educate and inform the comics-reading public, it is once again time for the ISB Research Department to dust off its spectacles and devote itself to exploring, studying, and annotating the series’ latest offering, no matter how much I really don’t want to do it.

With that in mind, grab a copy of your own and follow along!



0.0: Like many of Marvel’s comics, Laughing Corpse #1 shipped with a “Monkey Variant” to capitalize on the sadly nonexistent fame of Marvel Apes:



Now, while this is appropriate since the apes in question are actually also vampires–yes, really–this cover, like the zombie variant for The First Death #2, sort of misses the point, which is to show the character’s ape equivalent. This means that nobody at Marvel thought that Gorillanita Blake was a good idea, and further shows that they seriously need to call me.


1.1: Unless I miss my guess, the house that Anita goes to at the beginning of the story is actually the Banks residence from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:



From a literary standpoint, this could be indicative of a number of things, from Framingham advising us to relax and stay in one spot to fully take in the story, signifying that Anita’s life is going to go through a great upheaval, or even pointing us to the unspoken fears of her mother that are about to be realized. For a more thorough examination, consult my book, Summertime In Dublin: Modernist Literature From James Joyce to Jazzy Jeff.


1.4: As with all scholars who devote their study to a particular subject, I have to be careful not to filter the work through my own perception too much. Still…



…sometimes I can’t help but think she’s talking straight to me.


2.4: While it’s easy to sympathize with the spike-heel wearing Anita in this panel…



…I feel I should point out that while she is correct, a lady gets a lot of things. She gets:

-A 20 karat ring
-The alimony, too.
-To look good in the nude.

Comfortable shoes aside, there is one place that they’ve been whipped: between the nose and upper lip.


3.4: I know that this isn’t how this scene actually goes, but it’s all I could see when I read it:






Okay, I’ll stop there. Otherwise, I’ll be doing this all night and we’ll never get anywhere.


5.3: This scene introduces us to Bunny Lebowski Cicely, Harold Gaynor’s leggy blonde ingenue that makes me hope he’s got an assistant somewhere who looks like Philip Seymour Hoffman to complete the trifecta:



Here’s an interesting thing about comics: They’re a primarily visual medium, which means that while it might be tempting to leave in the descriptions of the novel, you don’t have to tell us that she’s a tall leggy blonde in a minidress because there’s a picture of her right next to the caption.


6.3: All right Mr. Gaynor, for twenty-five points and the lead, complete this lyric from Toto’s 1978 debut album: “You supply the night…



Oooh, I’m sorry. We were looking for “I’ll Supply the Love.” The white goat, I believe, is from a Danzig song.


9.2: When I was in the ninth grade, everyone in my class had to take a mandatory course that included three weeks of sex ed. Considering that I went to school in the heart of South Carolina, the course was actually pretty progressive, and climaxed–as it were–in a pretty memorable moment when our teacher explained that one size of condom was all you really needed by getting one out, rolling it up her arm to the elbow, and then flexing her fingers.

I mention this because it looked exactly like this:



15.7: I’ve been a little mystified by Anita’s choice of slang in the past, but in this panel, she refers to herself as “heap big vampire slayer,” which… man, I don’t even know where to begin with that. I mean, yeah, she’s saying it sarcastically, but why the F-Troop Indian dialogue? And why does it look like she’s made herself up as Chauncey Throttlebottom III in this panel?



Some mysteries, even I cannot answer.


18.1: Okay, so here’s the plot so far as I have it.



In addition to being asked by David Huddleston to resurrect a zombie through the time-honored tradition of human sacrifice, she’s been called in by the cops to a grisly murder scene involving some badly chewed-up and rent-asunder remains and a missing little kid.

Now, despite the temptation of reading sentences like this, I’ve done my best to keep my reactions to the series “pure” by avoiding the Wikipedia entries for the books and discussing them beyond their supposed general decline, so believe me when I say that I’m completely uninformed about how this book works out.

That said, I’m betting the little kid is totally the parent-eating monster.

Don’t tell me if I’m right or wrong, it’ll be a nice surprise to find out for myself. Of course, “nice” is an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

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

  1. I don’t care about the book, but what’s this about Marvel Apes not being popular? It hasn’t met the meme demand set up by the zombie craze? Also: Ben Grimm doesn’t look like any sort of ape on that cover. Okay, I’ll shut up now.

  2. Who buys these? Are they likely to have even heard of Marvel Apes? Or will they just buy the trape at Borders and find a weird pin-up of Anita Blake fighting a bunch of monekys in Halloween costumes in the back?

  3. Wouldn’t an ape version of the The Thing essentially just look like Hellboy sans horn stubs?

  4. So what were you drinking tonoght, Chris? Because there is no friggin’ way that anybody could this thing and relived high school sex ed while remaining completely sober.

  5. Also, “trape”(above) is totally not a typo. It’s a Freudian portmanteau of “trade” and “tripe.”

  6. What worries me about this series is:

    1. It seems to be popular enough that it might actually make it for awhile. Meaning I wonderam ascairt about how they move from PG-13 to R to NC-18.

    2. How Sims will be able to survive if it actually makes it past Book 9, when the series REALLY starts to get bad…

  7. Hee, I looked this stuff up on wikipedia. Not only did I find an awesome quote from Laurell K Hamilton that people who don’t like her books aren’t smart enough to understand them, I learned that she was raised in Sims, Indiana.

  8. @Scott

    Nice find. Is that some sort of karmic connection between Chris and Laurell Hamilton? Lord knows the blogosphere would probably explode if that were the case.

    @the owner of this damn blog

    Keep making me laugh with these annotations, sir. You’re just playing into their hands!

    And I echo the sentiment of Ben Grimm over there seemingly having no difference whether in ape and rock form.

  9. Chris wrote:
    “Why does EVERYONE in this comic look like they have a cold?”


    I think they look drunk. In a fourth-wall-breaking theory, I’d think that it’s the only way they got those fictional characters to appear in the series, after they read volume one.

  10. I thought I’d never see the day when you Chris, would take up the heavy burden of annotating this series again. Well, if I didn’t already lose it, I would have eaten my hat.

    I probably wouldn’t have gotten the Lebowski editing joke a year ago, but the older you get, the nerdier you get.

  11. Another question that’s largely unrelated to vampires:

    Is it Thorilla or Gorrilthor?

  12. Ape Ben Grimm doesn’t look like an ape because that’s the character’s central tragedy! The rest of the Four still look like apes, but he’s become a grotesque hominid mockery.

    Also, while this cover is still unimaginative, it is better than the zombie one where she wasn’t even shooting anything. Couldn’t they have at least made Anita a Bonobo (the wisest and horniest of the Great Apes)?

    Also, I will happily take the odd coloring choices behind Shiny-Nose Syndrome over the structural problems involved in the characters’ thighs in the last series.

    Also, Chris Sims is the greatest hero in comics-blogging history for going back into the fray like this.

  13. thank all that is good for Chris Sims. so i don’t have to read this dreck myself.

    because i’m an absurd completist, i have first editions of all of LKH’s Anita Blake books. i used to be a fan, even.

    i still enjoy the early books (up to Obsidian Butterfly), though her later “works” (using the term loosely) are complete crap.

    but these comic adaptations bring new meaning to the words “painful” and “awful.” they’re actually worse than the later books – which is saying something.

    oh, and:

    “grisly” – Middle English, from Old English grislic, from gris- (akin to Old English āgrÄ«san “to fear”); akin to Old High German grÄ«senlÄ«h “terrible”

    “grizzly” is a bear. bears are cool. they didn’t kill a bear in the comic, did they? because that would be a kind of odd change from the novel. i guess it might be a change for the better, though.

  14. “grizzly” is a bear. bears are cool. they didn’t kill a bear in the comic, did they? because that would be a kind of odd change from the novel.

    You know, I think I like my way better.

  15. My 9th grade health class included our football coach telling us that the average penis was between 7 and 9 inches. Since I had barely entered puberty at this point, let’s just say that that night, ruler in hand, I seriously considered ending it all.

  16. Who draws a “leggy blonde” and then cuts the panel off above the knees? I want my money back!

  17. I’m just wondering in that last panel… what happened to Anita’s left foot.

    I know, it’s the little things, but it makes me wonder if the killer’s name is Rob.

  18. Who draws a “leggy blonde” and then cuts the panel off above the knees? I want my money back!

    Oh, that was me. The actual panel’s longer, but, as is the case with most things that contain dialogue in this comic, is largely irrelevant.

  19. What was the random pink ballgown scene? She just wanted to play dress up for a minute before her next call? And if she’s really worried about the scars on her arms, I think they make dresses now with sleeves.

  20. She’s trying on a bridesmaid’s dress. Jeez, it’s like you people aren’t following along at all, and just relying on me to read it for you while you mock my pain!

  21. In public school, a woman from the Health Center visited us and showed us how to put on a condom using a wooden penis carving named Woody. Yes, the wooden penis had a name.

  22. *mocks your pain*

    Literally the day after high school, my mother hauled me out of bed and sent me down to the district office to fill out paperwork so I could be employed as her classroom aide. My mother taught the Teen Mothers class, you see. At some point during that first week, I looked around the room and thought to myself, “I know for a certainty I am the only virgin in this room.”

    This tiny little Hispanic woman with a heavy accent named Yolanda came in one day to give a presentation. I knew Yolanda, she’d been coming to get-togethers at my parents’ house for years. I never really thought about the fact that Yolanda was the local Planned Parenthood outreach rep until she reached into the tackle box she was carrying and slammed a 12″ black dildo onto the desk. “Dees ees a PENIS.” she informed us all. “Who wants to show us how joo put de con-DOM on de PENIS? Mary Sue?”

    I think I blushed so hard I got a sunburn.

  23. I’m now desperately wanting Antia Blake: The Lunatic Cafe to be drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. That would be made of awesome.

  24. Sims, I thoroughly appreciate these annotations, but I hope you realize that this may inspire some of your readers to actually, you know, read Anita Blake. Because your annotations make it seem, you know, fun. It’s just like how MST3K made some people think it would be a good idea to watch Manos: The Hands of Fate without their commentary. Or like you inspired me to actually flip through an issue of “Tarot.” What a poor, poor fool I am.

  25. The ISB is the last place I ever thought I’d see a Sparks lyric. I should have known better.

  26. HEy, since Laughing Corpse came out in 1994 and the Big Lebowski came out in 1998, is it possible the Cohen brothers actually got the “strong man in a wheel chair with a hot leggy blond chick” bit from Framington?

    *runs away*

  27. It’s really wonderful that these annotations have allowed people to share their best sex ed stories. You’re bringing people together, Sims, and it’s beautiful. Well, that and Mary Sue’s is hilarious.

  28. “The rest of the Four still look like apes, but he’s become a grotesque hominid mockery.”

    Or the HOTTEST MONKEY ON THE PLANET! Everyone else has had the rhinoplasty they deserve leaving Ben Grimm: Sex Machine to rock it old school wit the ladeeezz.

  29. “(Plus, it’s far more likely that it’s a >-=hamfisted=-< homage to the same thing Lebowski is, Chandler’s Big Sleep.)”

    Just when I was about to point out that the Blake trash includes a line “in it up to your elbow” and make a ONE-FISTED TALES joke, I read that.

    HAM-FISTED TALES? Or a manga style title like ONE HAM?

  30. Gorillanita Blake was a tragically missed opportunity. They could have also gone with Orangutanita Blake, or possibly even Chimpanzita Blake.

    All that aside, I’m digging all the Big Lebowski references.

  31. I don’t like to extend these things to mocking artists and I’m not really, but why is Anita Blake never drawn with a nose bridge? The space from her eyes down to her nostrils is completely flat in almost every picture. Did a zombie eat her nose in one of the previous novels or what?

  32. I just realized I may be busting on the cover artist unnecessarily by calling the variant ‘unimaginative.’ He may have wanted to do monkey-Anita, but couldn’t get the author’s approval or something like that. So if you’re out there, you may or may not have my apology, sir.

  33. Does the artist for this draw any other comics? Because, and correct me if I’m wrong, aren’t all females in superhero comics showing more skin than this poor girl being trotted out as a slut?

    Besides, she’s clearly got another inch and a half before indecency sets in. Her lovingly outlined crotch shading is proof enough of that for me.

  34. Does the artist for this draw any other comics?

    Ron Lim? Yeah, he’s actually a pretty notable Marvel artist from way back, with contributions to Infinity Gauntlet, and a long run on Silver Surfer, among others. Most recently, he did the art for Iron Man: Legacy of Doom, which was very fun, and you can see him using more of his normal style in that, whereas his work on the Anita Blake books is meant to more closely resemble Brett Booth, who drew the first seven issues of Guilty Pleasures.

  35. I’ve been relooking over your scans and I’m now wondering. Do the artists on both runs think that people in Missouri don’t tan or something? Because all the white people are really pasty looking…

  36. re: nose bridges, I think that’s a pretty common shortcut some artists take for female faces. Jim Lee draws women like that, but he usually has a colorist that shades it in such a way as to give the impression of a ridge. Here, the colorist has shaded her face as if it were a smooth surface.

  37. Ron Lim’s art is just getting painful to watch. He used to be a good artist, until he started aping Brett Booth… which provides a sad little bit of irony for the cover.

    I’m actually surprised that Marvel has kept this series going, given the drops in sales since the first volume. It must have massive bookstore credibility still, or else they’d stop going through the motions.

  38. Yeah, Lim’s been around quite a while. I seem to remember he had a sizable run on Badger.

  39. Oh GOD, thank you for this! I look forward to the next one! As soon as, you know, you get the meds adjusted and they let you out on day release, your stay in the local mental asylum being directly assured by reading this in the first place.