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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Annotated Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #4

Over the past few months I've been devoting a lot of time here at the ISB to providing my readers with a handy guide through the serpetine plot twists of Marvel's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter adaptation, and with last week's release of Anita Blake #4, it looks like it's that time again.

For those of you expecting a few cheap laughs at the expense of Laurell K. Hamilton's graphic masterwork, however, I'd suggest looking elsewhere for your entertainment, as this is unquestionably the best issue of the series so far.

Then again, in this context, "best" only means "least horrible." Grab a copy and follow along!


0.0: In Laurell K. Hamilton's biography in the programs to this year's San Diego ComiCon, Anita Blake is referred to as "the first sexy paranormal comic ever," a piece of news to which the creators of Vampirella, Witchblade, and Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose responded: "Really."

1.1: This issue opens with a catch-up page on the inside front cover, which is handy considering that there is absolutely no attempt made to establish what's going on in the story itself, or to differentiate this page in any way. Apparently, chapter breaks are unknown in the world of spooky sex romps.

1.4: Although he showed up as a last-page cameo in the previous issue, this panel marks the first full appearance of Valentine, or as I've been referring to him in my head, Huggy Bear.



The impulse to read all of his dialogue in Prince's voice should be considered normal and encouraged.

2.2: Seen here in a flashback, Anita is, oddly enough, wearing the exact same clothes that she is back in the present. One can assume that she either wears the same thing to hunt down and kill a gang of murderous vampires that she does for a swigin' bachelorette party, or that she's elected to stick with one basic outfit for the past two years.

2.6: A lesser man would make the easy joke here:



All I'll say is that Anita could not look more bored at the prospect of her impending death.

5.4: With a hideously scarred face and a metal mask, Valentine completes the Supervillain Mastermind trifecta in this panel by actually saying the word "Bah." The lack of an exclamation point, however, tends to give you the idea that he's just not that into it.

8.1: Anita's narrative captions in this panel bear closer examination: "I had seen two sunrises in as many days," is far less ominous than it might sound at first, what with the fact that the sun does tend to rise every day. Also, her lines, "Everything hurt. There is nothing like waking up the morning after a good beating," lack the sort of impact they would've had if they were spoken, say, after she'd been to sleep.

9.2: Say hello to Edward, who makes his appearance in the ISB-approved manner of breaking into somebody's house and kicking back in their recliner while they're not home. Over the next few pages, he's going to be blowing some things up with a flamethrower and handing out sawed-off shotguns like it's Christmas at the NRA, so it's safe to assume that he's the most likeable character in the series so far.

10.5: According to the story, Edward's supposed to be using a flamethrower in this scene, and not a Wagner Power Painter.

12.6: Huh, that's weird.



I thought Edward had green eyes.

14.6: Huh, that's weird.



I thought Edward had blue eyes.

16.1: In her dream sequence, Anita's wearing a polo shirt with the collar popped up, suggesting that she envisions herself as a frat boy. Similar scenes where she referred to people as "brah" and asked if anybody totally remembered the Thundercats were cut from the adaptation for space reasons.

19.6: Oh dear.



Veronica Sims? Oh that won't do at all.




BONUS FEATURE: Offered (Mostly) Without Comment...


...the solicitation for the newest Anita Blake novel from last month's Previews:



"Being a Federal Marshal known for raising the dead and being a vampire executioner is no way to raise a baby." Fantastic.




More Dubious Information on Anita Blake:

| Matchup #1: Anita Blake vs. Dracula |
| Matchup #2: Anita Blake vs. Batman |
| The Annotated Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #3 |

39 Comments:

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Edward is by and far the most interesting character in the series. Which is why I dread seeing how LKH screws him up in the next book...

2/05/2007 1:59 AM

 
Blogger Monty said...

"Being a Federal Marshal known for raising the dead and being a vampire executioner is no way to raise a baby."

...this Fall, only on FOX!

2/05/2007 2:39 AM

 
Anonymous Fiendenstein said...

In the "My fear was fading" panel.... what's going on, is he killing her, is that terribly boring sex, is he killing her with terribly boring sex?

2/05/2007 4:01 AM

 
Blogger Nimbus said...

A cheap'n'easy comment on the art. In the linked picture of Anita wearing a polo shirt with the collar popped up, how come her upper legs are twice as thick as her waist? With leg muscles like that, is she related to Batroc Ze Leaper?

2/05/2007 7:34 AM

 
Blogger David C said...

I really did try to keep a straight face, but you got me at "the volatile werewolf who loves her passionately."

2/05/2007 7:34 AM

 
Anonymous Brian said...

It actually called this "the first sexy paranormal comic ever"?


Oh, so that explains those screams of rage from the Vertigo offices.

2/05/2007 8:13 AM

 
Anonymous Dave Lartigue said...

So the rumors are true, Chris? You really ARE marrying Veronica Mars?

2/05/2007 8:56 AM

 
Blogger SallyP said...

I wouldn't touch this dreck with a twenty and a half foot pole, but thanks to you, Chris, I can nevertheless laugh at it.

She's sleeping with a vampire, a werewolk, and what else? Girl gets around!

2/05/2007 9:15 AM

 
Anonymous Verbatim said...

"All I'll say is that Anita could not look more bored at the prospect of her impending death."

Well, that makes two of us.

2/05/2007 9:24 AM

 
Anonymous The Mutt said...

Please tell me there is an Anita Blake/Tarot crossover coming soon!

2/05/2007 10:31 AM

 
Blogger Meagen said...

If you're on top of a girl and she gets an expression like that, you are doing something wrong. Wether you're trying to kill her or screw her.

2/05/2007 11:10 AM

 
Anonymous Eric Logan said...

...a piece of news to which the creators of Vampirella, Witchblade, and Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose responded: "Really."

And let's not forget about Marvel's original paranormal sexpot, Satana!

2/05/2007 12:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm she should've just crushed that guy with her massive thighs. Ye gads! I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I tended to picture Edward as looking more like Rutger Hauer circa Blade Runner.

~runey

2/05/2007 12:31 PM

 
Anonymous ignatiusmonkey said...

Compared to this dreck, "Tarot" suddenly reads like Tolkien and Jim Balent looks like Will Eisner. Even the drawn characters seem bored, like the artist couldn't muster the enthusiasm to make them look like even they care about what's going on.

Did I just refer to Jim Balent and Will Eisner in the same sentence? Oh god, what have I become?!?

2/05/2007 1:21 PM

 
Anonymous LOTRDan said...

Don't blame yourself ignatiusmonkey. Blame Anita Blake.

2/05/2007 1:33 PM

 
Blogger A.R.Yngve said...

He he!

Or:

"Being an Eskimo ice cream- truck driver hunter of mutant radioactive polar bears is no way to raise a baby."

Or:

"Being a vampire Congressman exorcist known for breakdancing with undead rap musicians is no way to raise a baby."

And so on and so on...

2/05/2007 2:04 PM

 
Blogger FoldedSoup said...

As awesome as this book sounds (and by "awesome" I mean "craptacular"), it's still missing something... can't quite put my finger on it... hmmm...

Ah HA!

Let Greg Land handle the artwork.

Tell me that wouldn't be perfect.

2/05/2007 2:46 PM

 
Anonymous Matt T. said...

First I looked at that picture at 2.6, I thought it captured a scene involving necrophelia. Knowing that it doesn't, I still wouldn't be a bit surprised that Anita Blake would go there.

In Laurell K. Hamilton's biography in the programs to this year's San Diego ComiCon, Anita Blake is referred to as "the first sexy paranormal comic ever," a piece of news to which the creators of Vampirella, Witchblade, and Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose responded: "Really."

"Sexy" as defined solely, I guess, as "large-breasted promiscuous heroines fulfilling the purilest of male fantasies under the guise of being 'strong, confident women', and perfoming sexual acts visualized in such a way to give Jerry Falwell a heart attack with male characters that are dumb as sides of beef. And everyone acts like assholes to each other, 'cause that's really sexy."

I find that depressing as hell for some reason.

2/05/2007 3:37 PM

 
Blogger Uncle Cubby said...

The art on this series gets worse and worse by the issue. I actually read the paperback of this book (and I'm admitting it--ON THE INTERNET) and while the imagery was usually flat and boring, I think Rob Liefeld would have represented it better. That way, Edward would have had a big rack too.

2/05/2007 3:58 PM

 
Anonymous Buck Ripsnort said...

Comparing Valentine to Huggy Bear is unfair when he's so obviously related to Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon!

2/05/2007 4:27 PM

 
Anonymous hydrogenguy said...

Being in a comic that's like Die Hard in an Anne Rice novel is no way to raise a baby.

2/05/2007 4:39 PM

 
Blogger Bully said...

Oh geez, this is drek, no way about it. But I'm wondering...how is the Laurell Hamilton contingent reacting to it? Is it impressing and intriguing them, or reenforcing to them that comics are beneath them (which, no offense to LKH fans, can't be that far beneath them).

Or do they, as I suspect, just couldn't give a fig and aren't even venturing into a comic book store to buy it?

2/05/2007 5:30 PM

 
Anonymous Lorene said...

In the "My fear was fading" panel.... what's going on, is he killing her, is that terribly boring sex, is he killing her with terribly boring sex?

That's exactly what I thought! And it took me a second to realize, in that same scene, that her left arm wasn't torn off her body. (It's the tattered red sleeve that threw me off.) At least then that look could have been excused for shock.

Is it impressing and intriguing them, or reenforcing to them that comics are beneath them (which, no offense to LKH fans, can't be that far beneath them).

Or do they, as I suspect, just couldn't give a fig and aren't even venturing into a comic book store to buy it?


The only ones buying it in my store ARE LKH fans. I think I've had two regular customers pick it off the shelf out of curiosity. We had to re-order #1 because we didn't think it would sell as well as it did, but it has decreased with every additional issue, to the point where we went from 50 issues of #1 (including the re-order) to I believe 10 for #4. And as of today, at least five were still sitting on the shelf.

The art certainly isn't doing the title any favours- it's the #1 (snarky) criticism I hear in the store.

2/05/2007 8:37 PM

 
Blogger Yas said...

Ya know, everyone puts LKH down lately. It's all i read. even on her own forum. I cant help thinking to myself, if you dont like it, why are you reading it?

Doesn't that just blow your mind? i mean why? If the book causes so much downcasting of the eyebrows, then why bother buying the next one? or buying the next comic?

I really enjoy her books. I'm a writer. I think I know whats been goin on with her lately. And sadly, I think that its horrible that people do nothing but put her down.

although i laughed hysterically at the Huggy Bear comment. thats great.

And edward is my favorite character and knowing that him and Olaf are comin back in the next book really has me dyin to get my hands on it. but then again.. I enjoy her writing. it seems, other don't.

it just doesnt make sense to me how people can be that way. but then maybe im just ignorant. i dont know. what a bummer.

2/05/2007 9:55 PM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

I cant help thinking to myself, if you dont like it, why are you reading it?

I have never once said that I don't like the Anita Blake comics, and in fact once said, and I quote, "I love it. I hope it runs for years."

Of course, I also said that it reads "like the whole thing was assembled with magnetic poetry and a blender," so it's a good thing that my enjoyment here isn't actually proportionate to anything resembling quality.

2/05/2007 10:40 PM

 
Blogger A.R.Yngve said...

I read Chris's blogposts about the Anita Blake comic (and laugh very hard) not because I resent LKH or her books (bless her and her legions of fans), but because I love satire, parody and send-up.

And basically any fiction that leans toward the pretentious, clunky or unintentionally comical is fair game. Heck, I'm even doing a pisstake of my own writing.

2/06/2007 12:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Before I get into this, I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy your AB satire, Chris. Please keep them coming.)

yasamin, you are trying to understand ppl. that may be your first mistake.

there are always crazy, stupid, moronic people out there who do crazy, moronic things. For example, bitch about how LKH's writing may have gone down... and yet still buy each and every one of her novels the day they are released.

these ppl have the right to buy whatever they want and say whatever they want. so let them. at least LKH is still getting her share of the money.

I admit that i am no longer a fan of hers either, but I've moved on since then and found other authors to follow.

Let the stupid be stupid. It's not like you can change them anyway.

2/06/2007 3:09 PM

 
Anonymous ABS said...

Could the father of Anita Blake's baby be (god help me) Solomon Stone!?!?!?

2/06/2007 6:10 PM

 
Anonymous hydrogenguy said...

If Solomon Stone ever met Anita Blake, they would do it. They would do it hard.

2/06/2007 8:03 PM

 
Blogger Tom Foss said...

"Sexy" as defined solely, I guess, as "large-breasted promiscuous heroines fulfilling the purilest of male fantasies under the guise of being 'strong, confident women', and perfoming sexual acts visualized in such a way to give Jerry Falwell a heart attack with male characters that are dumb as sides of beef. And everyone acts like assholes to each other, 'cause that's really sexy."

No, because that still describes Tarot. I think the only definition for "sexy" that fits is "starring Anita Blake and written by Laurell K. Hamilton."

2/06/2007 9:35 PM

 
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

"Being a Federal Marshal known for raising the dead and being a vampire executioner is no way to raise a baby."

Hey, both of my parents were federal marshals known for raising the dead and acting as vampire executioners, and I turned out okay. Granted, my fifth birthday was a little traumatic, what with the bloodbath and the zombies and the gore-spattered slip-and-slide, but overall, my childhood was fine. So buck up, Anita! It'll be okay!

2/07/2007 12:40 PM

 
Blogger EverDawn said...

The problem with LKH is not that she hasn't developed an interesting world, but that she is pretty much paid to write mediocre "FanFic"

Anita is perhaps the most successful Mary Sue out there. My advice to readers of LKH: Write you own fanfic, 'cause do you really need to depend on someone else's masturbatory fantasies? *g*

Chris, this is the first time I've read your blog--and definitely not the last time! Thank you for the laughs!

2/10/2007 11:22 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't that just blow your mind? i mean why? If the book causes so much downcasting of the eyebrows, then why bother buying the next one? or buying the next comic?

Because some of them don't buy them anymore. Former fans who are disappointed in the way that the series is going can be very vocal.

I'm glad I just borrowed them from the library, myself. I get to laugh at them for free!

3/05/2007 8:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To respond to the Mary Sue comment...you do know that her nickname is Laurita?

And wow, does that Yasmin (sp?)comment read almost exactly like the blog entry that LKH posted on her web blog about how the people who couldn't understand and appreciate her ever so edgy work should stop buying it. it was a moment worthy of Amazon and Anne Rice.

Should you desire more humor, the web blog almost writes it for you right there.

3/30/2007 1:07 AM

 
Blogger Sean J. Jordan said...

"Oh geez, this is drek, no way about it. But I'm wondering...how is the Laurell Hamilton contingent reacting to it? Is it impressing and intriguing them, or reenforcing to them that comics are beneath them (which, no offense to LKH fans, can't be that far beneath them).

Or do they, as I suspect, just couldn't give a fig and aren't even venturing into a comic book store to buy it?"

Actually, the LKH fans are the primary audience for this book, which was always our intention. We get lots of calls and email from comic book store owners telling us that they're seeing a lot of women in their stores specifically for this book!

-Sean @ DB Pro

4/04/2007 3:11 PM

 
Anonymous halcyon said...

We get lots of calls and email from comic book store owners telling us that they're seeing a lot of women in their stores

Why can I not stop having visions of comic book store clerks frantically calling each other up, going "omfg there's a GIRL here!!!!1" =)

4/16/2007 5:52 AM

 
Blogger Telea Rose said...

You obviously haven't read her books because of all the things your saying. Try reading them. And on a note she doesn't buy different out fits. She likes certain things and she sticks with them. So the fact that she might have the same clothes on isn't that weird. I haven't gotten a chance to read the comic yet but, it was made for fans.

5/03/2007 10:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm kind of behind the beat on this one, but I had to comment: On that page of profiles you linked to, Mr. Chris Sir, I happened to notice that Laurell K. Hamilton's profile was about four times as long as Neil Gaiman's.

5/10/2007 4:45 PM

 
Blogger cde said...

That was awesome. I absolutely love the Anita Blake books (I have books 1-13~14, so I am a bit behind) and just got the Hardcover of comics 1-6 (Waiting on the new issues), which I also love, even if it does miss alot of the information overload a book can give.

But, I also loved this ""review"" (Atleast it wasn't a Anita vs. Batman slaughterfest [Srsly, Batman? God modder...]).

Just to note, I'm looking at the hardcover and an original of this issue 4, and both have the unnecessary zoom in of Edward with green eyes, not blue. Maybe your copy/batch had a color issue?

7/22/2008 10:44 PM

 

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