The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Executioner #3

Every now and then, you’ll hear someone ask the question “What makes a hero?” and usually, they come to the conclusion that a hero is someone who puts the needs of others before himself, often making a supreme sacrifice. Am I a hero? Well, I don’t rightly know.

What I do know is that I’m sitting here reading a copy of Anita Blake when I’ve got Bayonetta less than twenty feet away.

Yes, it’s time once again for the ISB Research Department to suffer through examine the mysteries of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Three: Executioner. This time it’s #3, which–as shocking as it might seem–is the one where things actually happen! Grab your own copy and follow along!



0.0: The recent trend of giving the Anita Blake comics covers depicting scenes that I’d charitably refer to as “optimistic” continues with this issue, where Anita is clubbing zombies with a shotgun while hovering about a mile from the surface of the Moon:



This is in direct opposition to previous covers, like the one where Jean-Claude stood around with his shirt unbuttoned, which depicted exactly what happened in the issue. Admittedly, this one has more action than the rest of the series combined, but if anything even remotely resembling the image above actually happens, I will literally eat this comic book.


1.3: When we last left Anita Blake, she was being menaced by the Big Lebowski, who had just ordered the (oddly muscular) Brandt to beat seven shades of pale out of Anita, and since the issue picks up right after that, you know what that means:



Yep: Three pages of stretching.


2.1: All right, now you guys know I love Ron Lim. Straight up, that guy drew the issue of Infinity Gauntlet where Thanos killed all the Marvel super-heroes one by one, so the rest of his career could just be drawings of me getting punched in the face and I’d still think he was awesome. That said…



…I’m pretty sure this is less “jujitsu” and more Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones.


3.1: Hey Anita…



How about we work on “amusing” first and then see about getting up to “hysterical.”


4.1: And finally, the fight scene actually begins, and you know what? Given what’s happened over the past few years of me reading this, I’m actually surprised it only took three pages of buildup from a guy telling someone to throw a punch and that punch actually being thrown.


4.3: And now, Anita Blake being kicked in the face:



Yeah, yeah, I know: I already posted that panel last Thursday. Just let me have my moment.


5.3: You know, it took a while, but between the long, painfully boring buildup, the constant boasting about how badass certain characters are without any proof to back it up, and now–the final piece of the puzzle–speed lines, I’ve finally figured it out:



Anita Blake is totally the urban fantasy DragonBall Z.


7.3: Man, finally. I was worried that Framingham was going to leave “Smaller heroine kicks bigger assailant in the balls” off of the grand checklist of cliches that constitute the plot.


8.3: Finally, after thirteen issues, a monster shows up that’s actually scary enough to prove Laurenn J. Framingham once rifled through the Fiend Folio:



It is, of course, the work of murderous voodoo queen/wheatcake chef Aunt May, and this being Anita Blake, it shows up, stands there while Anita talks about it, and does absolutely nothing for the rest of the issue.


12.1: Seriously, the monster shows up and Aunt May spends three pages talking about how she made it, stopping just short of listing how many hit dice it has. Just a reminder: Laurenn J. Framingham actually got paid to write this.


16.5: Hey, you ever notice how the middle third of every issue of Anita Blake is just people standing around FOR LIKE AN HOUR? Of course you do. That’s why you let me read it for you.


18.4-19.1: There’s one thing you can say about a plot that moves like a glacier made of snails: It gives you a lot of time to remind your readers that hired thugs are people too.


19.2: In this panel, we’ve got the return of paraplegic prostitute Wheelchair Wanda



…who I assume is brought back into the plot because, what with Anita smacked around and tied up having given up on escape after a bare minimum of action did not immediately result in her freedom, we needed a new baseline that would make Anita look like a strong female protagonist by comparison.

20.4: Finally, a chance to do some actual literary annotation!



In this context, the “strength” of Wheelchair Wanda’s arms (and the fact that they “have to be strong” because they’re “all she has”) is symbolic of her fragile emotional strength and the one shred of self-reliance on which she can rely. And I’m explaining this because if you had actually read this, there is no way in hell you’d believe someone put a metaphor that hamfisted into something for which people were actually expected to pay money.


22.4: And just when we thought we’d hit rock bottom, Anita is threatened with rape.



Those of you playing along at home have just hit Female Protagonist Cliche Bingo. For the rest of you, a piece of advice: Invest heavily in liquor companies before the next issue comes out; I get the feeling this one’s gonna be a liver-killer.

26 thoughts on “The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Executioner #3

  1. You are brave enough to be one of the Beresaad, and worthy of respect.

    I hope you don’t lose all your SAN before this series ends, though.

  2. Well it does look like she really ripped her red blouse since she finally changed to that blue shirt instead.
    Does anyone else do laundry or take showers in the core Anita Blake universe?

  3. Lessee, I’ve read the novel this is based on, and I have a vauge sense of your reactions to certain things…

    I’m buying a hell of a lot of liquor stock.

    You are a brave, brave man, Sims. I salute you.

  4. I don’t know, Chris. I’ve played Bayonetta, and I can’t imagine that you’ll feel all that good playing it after reading this. Bayonetta alone made my brain and eyes hurt, and I wasn’t even in a state of Anita Blake-induced weakness. And you’re talking about mixing this with alcohol? Please be careful, dude.

    Of course, Bayonetta, as a highly adept witch-demon-angel-razorgirl-librarian-thing with living hair, at least demonstrates an understanding that when you have a gun and paranormal things are trying to kill you, you jump around and try to kill them back. You know, instead of standing around talking about how referring to them as paranormal might make them feel.

    …Has anybody else noticed that Anita Blake’s perm, nail polish and makeup are holding up really well considering what she’s been through? Or is that a pointless observation in Comic Book Land?

    Does the Anita Black comic even exist in Comic Book Land? Geez, I’m starting to feel like I’ve been playing Bayonetta.

  5. At the words “Michael Jackson,” DING! I had it — the ditty:

    (Sung to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”)

    I’m street smart…
    or so I say
    If you drop a fart..
    I run away
    They say I’m tough…
    but that’s a lie
    When going gets rough…
    I go and hide

    Well I’ve never won a fistfight,
    and I’m always pretty scared
    I’d be a necromancer,
    But only if I dared…

    Because I’m lame! I’m lame!
    You know it!
    It is a shame! A shame!
    You know it!
    When you’re all sizzle and no steak and your name is Anita Blake
    Who’s lame??

  6. Chris Sims: The Jesus of the Internet. Reading complete shit so that we can all laugh about it.

  7. In the phrase “everything else was gravy,” “gravy” refer to “extra benefits,” right? I know she’s using that phrase sarcastically, but even still…??? Is that just me?

  8. There’s something extremely right about you finally getting to enjoy AB taking a kick to the face.

    I hadn’t realized who the artist is on this travesty either… unbelievable.

  9. what’s more sexist – this, Bayonetta, or Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose?

    nah if i had a system to play it i’d play

  10. @Christian LeBlanc – No I caught that right away too. “Everything else is gravy” refers to an excess of good and positive things beyond the primary positive benefit… I shudder to think how badly you’d need to misunderstand basic idiom for that sentence to make sense…

  11. Umm you forgot to annotate the scene where she fights the zombies with the shotgun.

    Just wanted to acknowledge this as the best use of “you forgot…” we’ve seen so far.

  12. I admit that I read the first six issues of Anita Blake when they first hit stands so many years ago…and that was all I could take. I moved on to read less gutwrenchingly stupid books like HULK and ULTIMATUM.

    I imagine it would take a hefty payday to get me to read the rest of it. And that’s only if it had Chris’ notes scribbled in the margins.

  13. Jujitsu? I don’t know much martial arts, but I imagine the guy jumping around, Punch Out style.

  14. Ju jitsu is “the art of throws and chokes”, or so it was defined to me when my brother was taking it (he’d have made black belt if he hadn’t still been pre-pubescent — too small for the larger students, too advanced for the students his age.) Wikipedia, that bastion of research, defines it literally as the “art of softness” or “way of yielding.”

    I’m guessing most people don’t recognize it because he looks more like he’s trying to fit down a comically-small passageway, à la Santa Claus.

    Chris, you are a brave and cruel man.

  15. @ Lovecraft:

    I’d say that the Anita Blake series is the more sexist of the two. Tarot is horribly sexist, but then it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. The Anita Blake series does- it really expects us to believe that Anita is a strong woman.

    Plus Tarot actually does kick some butt every once in a while.

  16. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t GEORGE PEREZ draw that issue of the Infinity Gauntlet? I think Ron Lim took over the issue after.