With last month’s release of #12, the Marvel adaptation of Guilty Pleasures drew to a close, finally ending the
easy target for outright disdain source of the ISB’s most prestigious academic pursuit, but it looks like it’s coming to an end.
I’ve prepared my research, locked up the vice cabinet and for one last time, I’m ready to delve into the mysteries of Laurenn J. Framingham’s vampirotica masterwork. And it occurs to me that in the two years since the Research Department first began exploring the intricacies of the Anita Blake comics, I’ve outlasted a writer, an artist, and a publisher, so I guess the only question left is whether I can outlast Framingham herself.
I guess we’ll find out together.
Grab your own copy and follow along!
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #11
1.1: Those of you who haven’t dulled your memories with the sweet release of Lady Booze might recall that when we last left Our Alleged Heroine and her Kid Sidekick Eddie, seen here about to go back-to-back like Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw in the video for “High Enough”…
…they were in the throes of Mortal Peril. Unfortunately, given that we’ve got twenty-one pages left in this issue alone, I’m forced to assume that they make it out alive.
1.6: According to her narration, Anita is currently being menaced by a bunch of ghouls. Judging by this panel, however…
…I think she’s actually in danger of being mutilated by the Werewolves of London. And their hair is perfect.
2.5: You know, for a guy who’s supposed to be a badass vampire-slaying assassin known only as “Death,” Edward sure is quick to settle on suicide as the solution to being bothered by creatures that are usually scared off by a stern warning. I mean, he doesn’t even want to kill himself in the most badass way possible or anything.
In this panel, it’s revealed that Anita can’t figure out that setting a rickety wooden shed full of gasoline on fire would make it burn quickly. Just to clarify here, she is our protagonist.
Hmm. Say, Dr. Banner, you want to handle this one?
Bruce Banner, everybody. Let’s give him a hand.
6.6: In this scene, we find that Anita’s made arrangements to meet with the Wererat King at Denny’s at 1:30 AM. Now, I’ve been to Denny’s at 1:30, and while I can confirm that it’s exactly the kind of place where one would expect to encounter eldritch horrors, they tend to be limited to local White Wolf Games enthusiasts.
8.4: Is this the King of the Wererats, or Saved By the Bell super-hunk Mario “A.C. Slater” Lopez?
11.3: You know, it seems like there was something really distinctive about the Wererat King, but I just can’t remember what it–
Oh, right! He’s a Nevernude. Either that, or he’s planning to distract Enos while Anita and Edward attack Nikolaos by jumping over the creek in the General Lee.
Huh. That would actually be pretty awesome.
16.1-16.6: I realize that while I try to keep an academically neutral tone, my annotations for this series can often come off as negative or even scornful at times. So in the interest of fairness, I’d just like the point out that this…
…is actually a pretty good page, and with the smirking vampire ending up in a huge Evil Dead-ish bloodspray, it makes a good sight gag and a decent action sequence.
Also, this marks the first time in the series thus far that Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter has actually killed a vampire. And it only took eleven and a half issues.
18.4: Oh man, this is fantastic.
Nikolaos the 12 year-old girl vampire master? Tired. Nikolaos the 12 year-old girl vampire master who rolls around in a hot pink 80s-style party dress with a ginormous bow in her hair and holy crap are those legwarmers?! That‘s a villain I want to read about.
Man, between this and that last panel, maybe things are starting to turn up for this series after all!
21.1: Hey everybody, it’s Phil–wait just a Goddamn minute! Didn’t he die last issue?! I mean, I realize that this is a story about zombies and vampires, but since it’s also a murder mystery, I assumed character death would have some sort of meaning that wouldn’t be played for maudlin sympathy. Surely I’m mistaken, let me just check my notes here…
Finally, there’s something in this story that elicits an emotional reaction, although I’m not sure “relief” is what Framingham was going for. In any case, given the fact that we’ve a) seen a body, and b) heard Anita say that he’s is dead four times in the span of two pages, I have nothing but confidence that Phillip has shuffled loose this mortal coil and certainly won’t be showing up again in the next issue.
I mean, that would just be sloppy.
Son of a… Man. This can’t possibly get any worse.
Oh no. No no no no no.
Look, I’ve read a lot of bad comics in my time. I mean, I’ve got a full run of Tarot, so I think it’s safe to say that my tolerance is pretty high, but there is no way in Hell I’m going to read a comic where there’s a plot point involving a vampire in the body of a twelve year-old girl having sex with the rotting corpse of a male stripper, and fuck you for making me type that.
That’s it. I’m done. You win, Fram–
No. I didn’t come this far just to quit at the finish line. I ain’t done yet, you hear me? One more round.
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #12
1.3: Okay. Okay. Keep it together, Sims. Just twenty-two more pages to get through. Seriously, though…
…that bow is incredible.
2.2: Here at the Research Department, Nikolaos has been a pretty prominent source of… Well, let’s just call it “consternation” and move on. With this panel, though, we believe that at least one question about her origins has been answered:
Nikolaos… is actually Miss Frost.
4.6: And now, Burchard has a Katana.
Admittedly, Guilty Pleasures the novel was originally published in 1993, a dizzy, pre-Matrix time in which the katana as your super-cool ultimate weapon hadn’t been run into the ground by anybody except Akira Kurosawa, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Highlander: The Series, but man. I don’t even have a joke for how cliché that is. It’d be like making fun of a Roger Corman movie.
6.1: You know, it occurs to me that ever since Ron Lim came on the book as the new penciler and slimmed Anita’s thighs down to a closer approximation of a human being that all that extra weight seems to have migrated… up.
10.1: Another interesting art fact: Rather than an actual person, Zachary’s appearance in this panel is modeled after the “Screaming Egon” action figure from the Ghostbusters cartoon line:
13.1: And now, a brief lesson in comedic theory. This is funny:
15.2: This is not.
17.2: In any sensible comic book, the scene above would’ve been our last-panel freeze-frame cut-to-credits finish, but, well, this is Anita Blake, and nothing’s ever that easy here. So instead, it’s time once again to prepare for trouble…
…and make it double.
Yes, it’s Jean-Claude, who insists on being a main character in this trainwreck despite the fact that he hasn’t shown up in like eight issues. In any case, the next few pages are devoted solely to the fact that he is allegedly very handsome, and while I didn’t even think it was possible, I care less now than I did when I started.
And I don’t have to, because…
I DIDN’T HEAR NO BELL.