Category Archives: fanservice
Hey, kids! Do you like webcomics? Sure you do! But do you think that webcomics have gotten a little … sissy these days? You read Penny Arcade and you say to yourself, “You know, dickwolves was funny. But it sure could’ve been a lot funnier if they’d actually shown the rape. And in graphic detail.”
To which I say: “What the hell is wrong with you?”
But, boy, do I have a comic for you! It’s a little something called Shädbase, by a creator who goes by “Shadman.” It’s a darkly humorous take on pop culture. Shädbase takes references from video games and cartoons, and it physically forces itself on those references without any consent, horribly abusing those references with blunt force trauma, and violating and humiliating those references until they’re emotionally scarred and bereft of dignity.
Suffice to say, links contained in this review are not going to be safe for work.
Strawberry Death Cake, written and illustrated by Elliot Dombo, bears more than a few similarities to a notoriously banned webcomic strip. I’m speaking of Penny Arcade‘s parody piece: a sexy drawing of a tarted-up (heh) Strawberry Shortcake lampooning American McGee’s Alice video game. That very comic got Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins in trouble with American Greetings, which led to some legal mumbo jumbo, which led to that particular comic strip not existing officially. Also everybody got a nice lesson in “fair use” … mainly that no one has any idea what the hell “fair use” even means.
But back to Strawberry Death Cake. Is it possible that this very webcomic was inspired by the parody strip? There’s the title, which features both the words “Strawberry” and “Cake.” Its heroine look like a sexy Goth stripper out of Suicide Girls’ central casting. Penny Arcade has a demon cat; Strawberry Death Case has a demon moose. The parallels are interesting, no?
Curiously, Strawberry Death Cake is more similar to the Penny Arcade parody than to the actual freckle-faced youth in the strawberry-print bonnet. I mean, there’s no strawberries, and there’s definitely no cake. So… why is this comic even called Strawberry Death Cake? Was Goth Panty Flasher too on the nose?
Ah, THAT got your attention!
I should probably give you some fair warning ahead of time: assume, dear reader, that every link is not work safe. Oh, there’s no straight up nudity, if that’s what you’re looking for. However, if your boss catches you looking at underage underwear models in striped nylons, I have a feeling he won’t be giving that raise you asked for.
There’s something you should know about what webcomics I select to be reviewed on this blog. Sometimes, I’m hopelessly attracted to the online equivalent of “bright, shiny objects.” That is to say, I’m easily distracted by some of the stupidest things. It does me absolutely no good to draft up a schedule, since I’d be champing at the bit to review something I’d only encountered at a passing glance. Two months ago, I drafted an ambitious plan to check out a list of review candidates. All of them were potential gems for review fodder. And I’d been doing well following it … until now.
It’s not that I’ve abandoned that list. The one or two of you looking forward to my take on Wasted Talent will be happy to know that I’ve already written a barely legible preliminary draft that I hope to have up cleaned up and ready by next week. However, as I finished penning my Marilith review, I ran smack dab into one such bright, shiny object.
Wondering what “Krazy Krow”* had been up to since he wrapped up his magnum opus, I clicked on Spinnerette, which he developed with artist Walter Gustavo Gomez. It answers the age-old question: “What if Spider-Man was a girl?”
A few weeks ago, the Bad Idea Fairy beckoned to me. “El Santo,” they said, “see what present we have given you on Netflix. Look, it’s that Hudson Hawk movie starring Bruce Willis that everyone hates. But they’re wrong. They’re all wrong. It’s a misunderstood work of genius. Watch the movie… then give me your immortal soul so that you dance for me in Otherworld forever. Muhuhahahaha!”
There’s only so much time you can listen to the seductive voice of the Bad Idea Fairy before you cave in to temptation. Yes, yes, Hudson Hawk is such a notoriously terrible movie that it’s been savaged mercilessly at both the AV Club and Agony Booth. Yet, I know several bad movie cultists who love this odd duck of an action movie that doesn’t take itself seriously. They think it’s misunderstood, perhaps even ahead of its time. Among these people are Bruce Willis, who originally was right there with the critics in agreeing that Hudson Hawk was a mess, but has gone back to declaring the movie a work of hidden genius in the latest commentary track.
These people are wrong.
Hudson Hawk‘s central plot is about a master thief named Hudson Hawk who gets recruited by mobsters, corrupt CIA agents, and evil businessmen to do their bidding. The movie throws several absurd elements to show everyone that it’s all in good fun: Bruce and his partner time their robberies to radio hits from the 40’s, all the CIA agents are named after candy bars, a machine has to be assembled that turns lead into gold, fights are augmented with Looney Tunes sounds, and David Caruso plays a mute who, at one point, dresses up like a statue.
Sounds fun, right? I mean… who doesn’t want to see a young David Caruso caked in powdery white make-up? (And if you look closely in another scene in the movie, the future Horatio Cane does an version of his now world-famous sunglasses move.) One huge problem though: none of the movie makes any sense. Everyone spends so much time trying to convince you how wacky everything is that it gets kinda tiring. None of the motivations are clear, nor are any of the characters convincing, likable, or sympathetic. It’s like being stuck in a room where someone’s telling terrible jokes: you’re itching at the first opportunity to get out of there. And it didn’t have to be that way, either: Stephen Chow’s Kung-Fu Hustle is a gag-a-minute action flick, and I find that movie a million times more watchable than Hudson Hawk.
So what’s the point about talking about Hudson Hawk? Other than to obviously tell you to stay far, far away from this terrible movie? It turns out that today’s comic, Krazy Krow’s Marilith — which was recommended to me by a loyal reader (gee, thanks) —- is very, very similar in tone and content to Hudson Hawk. Both the movie and this webcomic even have an unattainable coffee-related goal that doesn’t get resolved until the final scene. It’s almost like … serendipity. Curse you, Bad Idea Fairy… clearly this is YOUR doing!
Marilith a webcomic that, God bless ‘em, tries to be wacky and fun and action-packed at the same time, but ends up … *puts on sunglasses* … shooting itself in the foot.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” — Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Currently, zombies are my favorite creatures prominently being featured in horror movies. They’re probably the only horror monster that hasn’t been horribly reconstructed and bastardized for boy-crazy teenage girls. There was a a bit of a scare when the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was announced. Why, if the horror of zombies were combined with the overpowering machismo of Mr. Darcy, then you would have the sexiest monster of all! Sexier than even Taylor Lautner! Fortunately, Seth Grahame-Smith retains Mr. Darcy’s original status as a human being. He, instead, fights legions of the undead alongside his beloved Elizabeth Bennett, narrowly averting the genesis and proliferation of sexy zombies.
However, I don’t mind injecting a bit of humor in zombie stories. While zombies have so far dodged the romance novel shelves, they do make great foils in comedies. Look at these humans who can’t walk of talk right! Ha ha! I’m sure I should at least be partially ashamed from a humanist point of view, but damn it, they’re dirty brain eating cannibals so they get everything they deserve.
While today’s review of S. Dave Shabet’s Dead Winter is not about a comedy webcomic, per se. It is a zombie comic, with touches of apocalytic wasteland and spaghetti western genres thrown in. Still, the comic is sprinkled with nice touches of light-hearted humor. Look, just because you’re stuck in a zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. By the way, there a few panels in Dead Winter that are Not Safe For Work (none of which are linked in this review, so consider them safe if you’re browsing on work hours), and comics feasting on dead bodies are not usually Safe For Children.
Typically, in the great tug-of-war over which is most important to a comic — great art or great writing — I tend to think that writing wins out most of the time. A good narrative will get me through a webcomic any day, while nice art satisfies only but for a moment. But, you know, there’s a chance I’m looking at this debate all wrong. What if a lot of webcomic artists are just poor storytellers?
It’s been said that a picture is of equivalent value to about 1,000 words. Unfortunately, most artists only go up to about 200. I’m a big fan of Jim Lee, especially since, back in the 90’s, his art on X-Men was one of the things that got me hooked into comics. But, you know, these days when I look at one of his comics the only words that pop into my mind are “boy, that girl sure has a nice rack.” That’s only eight words Jim.
On the other hand, there’s Frank Quitely. Take a look at Grant Morrison work independent of him (i.e., Seven Soldiers, Batman RIP, Batman & Robin #4-6). Sure, the stories are high concept, but in the end, they come off as rather pedestrian. But pair Morrison up with Quitely and the combination is transcendent (All Star Superman, Batman & Robin, New X-Men). Morrison’s plotting was only, at most, half of the story. The other half was the fantastic storytelling prowess of Frank Quitely. His illustrations alone spoke volumes about emotion, wonder, and action. Batman & Robin #2 opened with Dick Grayson slumped over while sitting on the stairs in his Batsuit, ill-fitted and hardly as intimidating as when Bruce wore it, while Alfred looked on sadly. That single panel was easily the 1,000 word variety… maybe more.
This is probably why I’ve really enjoyed The Meek, written and illustrated by Der-Shing Helmer. The art isn’t just pretty. It’s half the storytelling.
By the way, this webcomic does feature a cornucopia of nudity, so be warned: assume all links are NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
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.
Names carry with them the heavy weight of expectations. Say your name is Charlotte Webb, like the heroine of School Bites. Surely you should be spending your days hanging around in the rafters of some barnyard and spinning words like “radiant” or “some pig.” Not so with Charlotte. Perhaps that was her destiny, but it all changed that fateful day she she found out she was a vampire.
This may be why she changes her name to Cherri Creeper. Sure, it still sounds like she should be a rollergirl with the Yakima Valley Vixens instead, but it can passably be a vampire’s name, too. Plus she’s got a cherry embroidered in her t-shirt. That counts for something.
Speaking of names, School Bites is written by Holly Golightly, who by all rights should be a Bond Girl rather than a comic book creator. I was delighted to find out that Ms. Golightly already had a few comics in print, most with gothic overtones: Nightmare Theatre, Archie Comics’ Sabrina, and Vampfire. When not drawing comic books, she’s apparently living the life and dressing up in skull tees like a real life Abby Scuito (and I think I just might get my ass kicked with that last comment). According to her site, Ms. Golightly also likes to be referred to as “Holly G”, which I won’t be using in this review unless it’s preceded with “The Divine.”