El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Blood Bound

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Most practitioners of vampire fiction have deal with a sticky situation: how do you make vampires sympathetic when they’re murderers, cannibals, and rapists? Most sidestep the issue completely by creating vampires who prefer chocolates, vegetables, or synthetic blood substitutes. Others have their vampires drink prepackaged blood or emphasize that their victims don’t really die. And then there’s the ones whose vampires acknowledge that they can’t control their hunger, but devote their lives to hunting down and destroying their own kind, Daywalker style.

Then there’s the rare ones who write their vampires act exactly like how they should traditionally behave: demonic creatures who kill with neither pity nor remorse. Not surprisingly, the protagonists of these tales are pretty much the most despicable characters around. But hey, you’ve at least gotta credit Blood Bound for pulling no punches.

Before I start, I should tell you that, in all likelihood, Blood Bound is some sort of fetish comic. All the links in this review should be assumed Not Safe For Work. Also, Not Safe for Children. Now, I’m not exactly sure what fetish is being addressed here, but there’s a lot of boobies, one instance of a girl getting chained up naked and whipped, a few scenes where guys get humped to death, and one or two images of anthropomorphic-dog-on-woman action.

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Blood Bound was created by the world famous Anubis Darque Studios, a.k.a. Justin Kennard. The panels are rendered using CGI models from a Poser-like computer program called Daz Studio and finishing the effects with Manga Studio 4. To Kennard’s credit, the result doesn’t look that bad. This is partially because he reduces the color scheme to a simple Black, white an red — “The most powerful color combination of all time, from a Coca-Cola can to a Nazi banner,” according to White Stripes frontman Jack White. Just for contrast, Kennard does include some full color pin-ups, and, as expected, they cross the most dire depths of the uncanny valley.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the results don’t look great, either. CGI art is very tricky to get right, and few succeed. Characters do tend to look plastic and robotic. Most facial features don’t ever register anything beyond “blankness.” This unintentionally hilarious panel of a crying vampire, for example.

As the story begins, our heroine, a pink-haired vampire named Jinni Darque, has been imprisoned in a hanging cage and stripped of her clothes. You’d think that last part would be some sort of added humiliation, but you’ll soon learn that, in this comic at least, vampire women walk around pretty much all the time with little to no clothes on. Jinni punks out her captor, escapes by jumping out a window, and discovers that she has wings.

After losing consciousness, Jinni gets discovered by Christine, an experienced lady vampire. She introduces our naked vampire waif to an underground vampire and succubi community. One of the leaders of the community is led by Anubis. Yes, the mythical Egyptian diety who is also the author’s self-insert into the Blood Bound world. And, for some reason, he’s portrayed wearing a wife-beater. He’s the proud owner of a ridiculously pimped out rice rocket. I guess some gods just don’t give a crap about decorum anymore.

Now that she’s among her own kind, Jinni can live out the dream. While partying with other naked vampire girls, she screams, “I’m free, and I can be Me!” Being “Free” and “Me” has many perks. It means that waylay and murder innocent people without fear of getting caught. Part of the vampire community, which includes the aforementioned Christine, is hard at work on the police force, and they cover up murders so no human ever finds out the existence of vampires. If fresh meat is hard to come by, humans are corraled in pens until the time when they can be butchered like livestock.

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And, believe you me, vampires take hiding their existence very seriously. There’s a story where Sassy, a succubi and Jinni’s lover, gets roughed around by one of the johns that frequent the strip club she works at. Sassy survives the attempted rape, though it damages her psychologically. The vampires, though, need to keep everything hush-hush. So, in a beautiful story of justice, the murder the attempted rapist and then murder his wife. They do spare their kid, though … my heroes!

Sassy, meanwhile, works out her feelings of being violated by going out and killing a random stranger on the street. Don’t let these brutal murders bother you, though: the vampires of Blood Bound find killing to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Unfortunately, there are some pesky humans who want to put a stop to all the fun. The Order, a squad of hitmen determined to rid the world of vampires. No problem: vampires have the media covered, too. The Order gets painted as a deluded terrorist organization who are hunting down mythical beasties.

The characters are so unrepentant about violence that any attempt at making them sympathetic come off as absolutely ludicrous. Sassy’s mom finds out about her vampire lover, and off the bat she begins preaching about the genetic purity of succubi (the only full-breed demon walking the Earth) with the fervor of a religious fundamentalists. Why do I have the feeling that Justin wrote this story after a really bad argument with his own mother? The story seems to want to side with Sassy against the blind racism of her mom. Instead, her righteous indignation is more analogous to a love-struck KKK member wondering why her parents won’t accept her relationship to a neo-Nazi. I mean, you can’t seriously be preaching tolerance when your characters are treating humans like cattle, can you?

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In another story, Jinni takes a job as a waitress. In a blow for feminism, she murders a guy who dared to pinch her butt at work while surrounding women cheer on. You go, girl! Now how about taking care of the guy who “draws” you naked 70% of the time?

Jinni’s past finally starts to get some attention when Anubis takes her to see a psychic called a “Dream Seeker.” After administring a therapeutic what to the head to have the deepest recesses of Jinni’s mind opened, Anubis finds out that Jinni’s mother is none other than *gasp* Lilith, the First Vampire! Somewhere in webcomic world, Laila McCarthy just dropped her monocle. Anyway, this is Lilith of The Alphabet of Ben Sira fame, which casts her as Adam’s wife. She’s also the mother of all vampires, something that doesn’t sit so well with the council of humans, succubi, angels, and demons.

Adam also makes an appearance here, though I have no idea why he’s wearing comfortable slacks when, traditionally, he’s either sporting a fashionable fig-leaf or doing the Full Monty. You’d think that last portrayal would definitely not be a problem in this particular comic. And why is he being played by James Caan?

Anyway, this parentage makes Jinni a person of significant importance. She is the vampire Helen of Troy, someone who many would like to control. What will happen when the hooded figures in charge of Vampiretown find out? Or the Order? Or the female Cardinal in the Catholic Church who bathes in the blood of young women?

Wait, there are female Cardinals now?

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Notable contributions to the vampire woman genre:

Not only do vampires have fangs, but they also have really fearsome overbites.

Also, since this is the second vampire comic where a female character pulls down the eyelid and sticks out her tongue, I’m going to assume this is some sort of vampire salute.

Memorable Quotes:

“They say that time heals all wounds. At least it can start to grow out badly cut hair. As weeks pass life starts to resume is normal course and the girls hearts turn to romance … and homicide.”

Important life lessons:

Mandatory helmet laws increase your chance of surviving a serious crash while keeping bugs out of your mouth.

El Santo’s predictions for where this story will go in the span of a year:

After walking home through a dark alley, Sassy gets mugged, which causes her to go on 10 state killing spree.

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on October 20, 2009, in adult webcomic, CG webcomic, dramatic webcomic, El Santo vs the Vampire Women, fanservice, fantasy webcomic, gothic, horror webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Wow, this is probably the blandest thing I’ve ever seen. Bravo, Mr. Kennard, for somehow making tits and violence less exciting than unflavoured porridge.

  2. Roger Ebert once called the movie ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ a number of unpleasant things, ranging from a ‘vile bag of garbage’ to ‘one of the worst movie he’s ever seen'; a title he still attributes to it today. However, while that movie’s heroine committed brutal acts of (undoubtedly righteous) revenge against the men who had done so much wrong (gang-rape, physical/verbal abuse, and the like) to her, this comic’s main cast make this comic (alongside it’s laughable art/dialogue) much, MUCH more of a vile bag of garbage than ISoYG.

    Granted, I’m someone who thinks that murder, revenge, and the death penalty don’t solve anything (other than the unfortunate problem of overpopulation in prisons, which still morally doesn’t justify it), and while I can perfectly understand why the main character in ISoYG having a fervent vendetta against the four antagonists, it saddens me that they could’ve found a way to resolve their conflict without killing; which is made sadder by the fact that probably one of the main reasons this didn’t happen was because of the message and of how forgiveness/healing in situations like those is extremely difficult to achieve in real life.

    But this? The characters in this are, as you made it clear, utterly despicable. Although my beliefs are ones of healing/forgiveness, that state explicitly that no one is beyond redemption (and, in fact, everyone will be in heaven (see the works of Philip Gulley and James Mulholland)), characters like this really push my buttons; especially since they act so casual about it, whereas real life killers either are disturbed (visibly or no), or are understandably insane. I mean, I know they’re vampires, but geez….

    It kinda reminds me of how, on deviantART, there’s a trio of female deviants who each have female zombie characters (who aren’t personas of themselves, really), who each have stories of how they were killed, and how they came back from Hell to be wholly-intact, functional-minded undead. However, despite having retained their self-awareness, all three of them still kill and eat humans (usually specific organs, based on their personal preferences for brains, lungs, etc.), and while it could be implied that they mainly do so on those they feel deserve it, there’s some strong evidence to show that they casually do it to innocent people, or people guilty of minor annoyances, all with no remorse being shown. Furthermore, what right does that give them to decide who lives and who dies for their hunger? And from what can be told, they’re not really trying to see if there’s any alternative way to sate or even resist their grisly hunger. What’s more, since they seem charismatic in a sense, almost every commenter hardly lets their sadistic side deter their adoration of them. And all of this aside, the lot of them are supposed to be the good guys (so to speak) in the stories. Ugh, I dunno, maybe I’m reading to deeply into this. I mean, there are some characters in different fiction that I like, even if they do place less value on human life, but still….

    Anyway, I’m sorry for getting waaaayyy too long-winded with this, and ended up bringing irrelevant crap like my philosophical/religious views.

    • Thanks for the reply, DM. I remember that review when checking Ebert’s site once. When you mentioned in this comment, I went back and looked it up. It’s one of his strongest stands: you can’t do a story where there’s no one to root for. If people with abhorrent behavior keep getting their way at the end, it’s wearying.

      I don’t think the distasteful reaction is really about religious views. I would imagine that even non-religious people would value human life. Thus everyone would feel uncomfortable reading something where people kill other people, feel no remorse, and get away with it at the end of every story.

      Shows like “Dexter,” which feature a serial killer, at least portray a character struggling to overcome his debased nature. (On the show, he reconciles his blood-lust by focusing his rage on murderers and serial killers.) It’s not a perfect system, and it still is loathesome, but the point is that he’s trying to overcome his violent nature which makes following his story more worthwhile. Would the show work if “Dexter” was about a remorseless serial killer who, a la Ted Bundy, killed innocent girls with abandon with no hint that anyone was catching on? I don’t think so. I think the show would’ve been canceled after one season. While we’re naturally drawn to scenes of violence, part of us wants to also see retribution done to bad people. That never happens in Blood Bound. The killers are portrayed as cute, liberated, and in charge. The comic invites the reader to side with them for those reasons alone … but we can’t, because they’re killers. A few times, the vampires and succubi are portrayed as victims, but the retribution is so bleak that you never forget how despicable they are.

      Now, from the standpoint of a creator, I do admire Mr. Kennard’s unflappable enthusiam for his webcomic. He forwarded me ideas he had for future plotlines, and they are pretty interesting. Still, it’s very hard to follow a story when the utter depravity of the characters make you feel sick.

  3. Ohhh I like that idea for a plot! I may have to use it!
    Thank you for your review of Blood Bound. I did find it very interesting to read and yes I agree with you on most of your points. It is a bit fetishy, though for them such things are mundane normal things.
    Also thank you for not drawing attention to all the bad spelling (whoops did I just do that myself?) I am hoping as I continue the story I will get better, especially with facial expressions. It is a weakness I have identified as well.
    As for how they deal with humans? well to them Humans are a bit like cattle, I agree, just like how humans tend to treat their food animals.

    • But since human are sentient beings — what with them being present at the council at the beginning of time and both vampires and succubi finding jobs in the human world — wouldn’t there be less of an excuse to treat humans like cattle?

      • you would think that, and I would to, but I think the human deities (like Adam) and the Inhuman deities (like Veena Lilith etc) have an understanding (after all they are all pretty much bastards). Besides humans are a renewable resource, you don’t have to farm them, and theres plenty to go around. I deliberaly made them all despicable, and things will only get worse before it gets better.

  4. When you mentioned “The Order” I was hoping it was “The Order of the Triad!”

  5. fffffffffffff I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.

  6. This is worse than Jack. At least with Jack you got something very slightly imaginative with characters that have specks of human quality. With Jack you got some sort of other realm of existence and though it was irredeemably sick and distorted it at least was something to go to. This is the equivalent of taking pictures of store mannequins and inserting speech bubbles with irrelevant text next to them. These characters–if you can call them that–live in no realm of the imagination because there is absolutely nothing distinctive.

    Also, the author needs to consider changing font faces since the ones he’s chosen so far are hideous beyond belief. A good place to get more on that would be http://webcomictriage.blogspot.com/ which I found from the former and now defunct Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad.

  7. Wow, does this thing need a proofreader. It’s like someone took every single one of my pet peeves regarding amateur writing and rolled them into one.

    The major issue I’d take with this comic – and one I wish had been covered in the review, because it really stuck out for me when I was reading the linked examples – is quite how clumsy the dialogue is. All of the characters speak in the exact same awkward, stilted manner, with no real attempt made not only to differentiate their voices, but even to make the dialogue sound even partway natural. People just don’t talk like this anywhere outside of bad amateur fiction.

    Oh, and it’s ‘you’re’. All I think when I see the phrase ‘your not human’ is ‘your not human what?’.

    • oh I agree totaly with that one laila, I have a lot of work to do to try to get the spelling right. and I am still working on the dialoge. Fortunately I have most of the old files, so I am slowly going though them all to rebuild them, change some things, and fix up as many spelling mistakes as I can.

  8. anubis,
    IMHO the real problem of your webcomic is the not flabergasting quality of the art, with really puzzling anatomy details (for instance, in the third sample from above the boobs of the girl are like bag of beans, mass of sloobs, all things but human boobs..); this real puzzle me, cause in “Immortal Desires” – hosted by drunk duck – your art is REALLY, really very good.
    BTW, also the plot, IMHO, isn’t a miracle of continuity and coerence…

    Isn’t better for you restart “Immortal Desires” and give “Blood Bound” a moment of resting?

    ciao da ginogori
    from italy

    • Hi there, and thanks for your comment. Yes the early stuff was very haphazzard, as I was still learning (I am still learning as I go on) and I did have problems with boobs. I am glad you liked Immortal Desires, I did that later on (and am thinking of doing another story) but Immortal Desires is simply fetish sado-necro sex stuff. As for the continuity and coerance of the storyline. That is a huge issue. At the moment I am going though every page and redoing them (not the art itself but the pages) with new dialog and even found some pages no longer needed. I am hoping that this will tighten the storyline up somewhat. It will never be perfect but hey I’m not perfect. But I am grateful for your constructive criticism.
      If you go to the Drunk Duck version of Blood Bound, you will see the updated comics at the beginning of the archive, as I will replace each page as it is re-done. Also it is at http://bloodbound.anubicdarquestudios.com
      Again thank you for taking the time to read it and for responding to this article

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