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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween, Judeo-Christians!

Despite the fact that we get enough candy to choke a moderately large dog, my house never really gets a whole lot of trick-or-treaters, so this year, I decided to sweeten the pot a little bit by giving away copies of Fantastic Four #60 (the nine-cent Mark Waid/Mike Weiringo issue) to see if that would do the trick.

It didn't. Only six kids came by. But out of those six, I did get the most awesome halfass costume I've ever seen: Polo Shirt Spider-Man.

I'll cop to always being a little disappointed when kids show up without costumes--I mean really, it's Halloween, you can dress like whatever you want!--and this was clearly a case of the family's oldest kid deciding at the last minute that he wanted some candy too and swiping his little brother's mask, leaving him to go as Civil War #3 Spider-Man, at least in my head. For some reason, though, the idea of Spider-Man hanging out at Avengers Tower on Biz Cas Fri just cracked me up to no end and made the whole night worth it.

Comics-related content resumes tomorrow, after I'm through recovering from The Supernaturals with a mixing bowl full of Almond Joys and Bully.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spooktoberfest Spectacular: The Mind-Melting Terror of The Supernaturals, Part Two!

By the time most of you read this, it'll be Halloween, but failing some sort of massive technological jump in the next couple of hours, there's a good chance that it won't be Halloween, 1998.

If it was, you could just go down to your local comic book store yourself and pick up all four issues of the most "fearsom" spook-related crossover in Marvel History--which, I'd like to note, were released weekly--and gaze in amazement at the creative process that allowed such a thing to happen. But until the day when science finally catches up with man's intrinsic desire to show terrible comics to anonymous strangers, I'll endeavor to be your slightly terrifying flux capacitor.

With that in mind... Trick or treat, cretins!

That's right: I thought it'd be a good idea to do two days on this one.

Anyway, when we last left The Supernaturals Brother Voodoo had finally gotten his group of ersatz third-string Defenders together in order to battle the supernatural menace that is Jack O'Lantern! Except that it's not any of the four Jack O'Lanterns already littering the Marvel Universe--you know, the ones that fought Spider-Man and hung out with the Red Skull--as evidenced by the fact that this guy has the power to unleash terrifying demonic hordes upon a weary world that cries "Is there no balm in Gilead?"¹

What horrors, you ask? Tremble in fear, mere mortals, at the sight of...

...The Jester?! Seriously?!

That guy's not even magical! Heck, he's barely even a super-villain. But then again, X-Treme BMX Johnny Blaze doesn't exactly blend right in either, so what the hell. Let's roll with it.

It's about this time that the Supernaturals actually show up to fight ol' J-Lant, who spends about three pages laughing at them with N'Kantu, The Living Mummy before doing... well, something, I guess, that sends them off to fight various Marvel Horror characters.

Werewolf by Night, Satana, and Satana's Pants get sent to what I'm going to go ahead and assume is Transylvania, despite the fact that it's midnight there at the same time that it's midnight in Los Angeles. Really, though, that's just me nitpicking. All that really matters is that once they're there, they immediately knock on the door of the first ominous castle they see, and are only mildly surprised when suave-ass Marvel Dracula and the Monster of Frankenstein turn out to be waiting inside with a posse of random Castlevania villains to give them a hard time.

Gargoyle, like so many of us, I'm sure, ends up naked on the streets of Tijuana...

...where he runs across El Chupacabra and the surprisingly polite Marvel Zombie.

Meanwhile, the Ghost Rider and the Black Cat--whose hair color wanders aimlessly through the entire visual spectrum over the course of the series--show up in what appears to be the seventeenth century, where they're confronted by a torch-weilding mob led by the Headless Horsemen and the Scarecrow (no, the other one).

Said mob seems pretty excited at the prospect of burning the Black Cat for being a witch, which really begs the question as to why they're hanging out with, you know, a guy with no head and all, but hey: I've heard rumors about the way Earth-Supernatural rolls, and that seems to fit the pattern.

As for Brother Voodoo, well, befitting his status as the least-effective team leader since Zartan, B. Viddy gets sent into a hallucination where he relives the tragic moments leading up to the "Chaos! Event" from #1 and discovers that Jack O'Lantern is actually his brother Daniel, which comes as a shock to really, really stupid people.

As you might expect, the Supernaturals eventually start to get the upper hand against Danny Jack's horrifying legions, but it all comes crashing to an end when Werewolf By Night betrays the team, revealing that all this time, he's been a mindless servant of...

...Jack O'Lantern!

Yeah, last night when I said that #3 ended with the exact same big reveal as #1? I wasn't kidding. And what makes it even worse is that the reader already knows that Werewolf's been taken over by Jack O'Lantern ever since the middle of the first issue, which all adds up to this being the single worst reveal in comics, a title which it would hold until we found out that Sue Dibny was killed by the Atom's ex-wife stomping around in her brain with a flamethrower. Spoiler Warning!

At this point, Jack O'Lantern's going to sacrifice Satana--what with that pure soul she's got that was briefly mentioned sixty pages ago--and while you're trying to dredge up any sort of concern for her whatsoever, something magical happens. Because that's when Jack O'Lantern pulls out some sort of mystical French horn and uses it to summon...

...a year's worth of Kirby monsters from the pages of Where Monsters Dwell.

When I talk about the comics that I like here on the ISB, I often mention that some of them have an almost palpable sense of fun to them, and a comic where you can really tell that the creators were having a good time while they were making it goes a long way towards passing that sense of enjoyment onto the reader. And by the time we get panels where Cloak and Dagger battle the Mighty Moomba...

...and Elsa Bloodstone's old man dukes it out with Groot, The Tree That Walked Like A Man...

...I've got to admit that it's got me liking the whole thing a lot more than when I started.

Personally, I'm willing to chalk that up to the fact that Manhunter scribe Marc Andreyko actually wrote the script for this thing, since Brian Pulido's idea of fun tends to involve more "Dead Onez" and less Googam, Sons of Goom.

As you might expect, Werewolf by Night eventually reveals that he was just pretending to be evil all this time, Brother Voodoo snaps out of his hallucination, and Jack O'Lantern gets punched hard enough that everything ends up working out okay.

Truly, it is the candy corn of holiday specials.

BONUS FEATURE: I Assure You, These Are Highly Collectable Cardboard Masks

As it says on the cover, each issue of Supernaturals included an allegedly-collectable cardstock masks for five of the six members of the team (I'm pretty sure they left out Black Cat), which, rather than being bound into the center of the comic for ease of removal, are actually wedged in there and stapled with half the comic pages on either side, meaning that you'd have to thoroughly destroy your comic in order to end up with a piece of cardboard that you can tie to your head to pretend you're X-Treme BMX Champ Johnny Blaze.

Clearly, this is a sacrifice worth making.

So, to review, that's five masks, with varying levels of rarity, bound into four comics, that require destruction of same to actually get out and, y'know, do something with. Thanks, Late-90s Marvel Marketing Department!

For the record, I ended up with a Werewolf By Night, two suspiciously caucasian Brothers Voodoo, and--of course--the rare Ghost Rider.

Stuff Your Pillowcase With the ISB'S Spooktoberfest Specials!

| The Relatively Serious Review of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (With Bonus Flamewar!) |
| The Mind-Melting Horror of Halloween With Tarot |
| The Horror of Haunted Love! |
| The Spine-Tingling Terror of the Demon! |
| The Bloodsucking Battle YOU Demanded! |
| Vampirella With A Chainsaw! |

¹: This joke blatantly stolen from Mike Nelson.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spooktoberfest Spectacular: The Mind-Melting Terror of The Supernaturals, Part One!

Regular ISB readers might have noticed that I didn't post anything last night, and while rumors are circulating that it had a lot to do with a drunken Halloween party and a breakdancing contest, the actual truth is that I was engaged in an intense, twenty-four hour purification ritual designed to prepare me for the mind-bending horror of tonight's Spooktoberfest climax.

Why? Because there exists in this world a comic book that combines the alleged "talents" of Brian Pulido and Jim Balent. And after reading it, I may never be the same again.

You know what's a bad sign? When you misspell the word "fearsome" on the cover of your horror comic.

Anyway, I've been sitting on this one since I found it back in February, but I remember reading a preview of it in Wizard or something back in 1998 that, if memory serves, focused a lot on how low Jim Balent wanted Satana's hip-huggers to be. Needless to say, I've been looking for it ever since.

Unfortunately, and this might be the only time that word's ever been used in this context, Balent actually doesn't do the art for the series. He does the covers, and, according to the "hilarious" credit box, it's actually Ivan Reis--who's reasonably talented despite cramming thirty-one visible teeth into a guy's smile in the first issue--handling the "psycho pencils" of the book itself. But don't worry, there's plenty in the story to be getting along with.

Incidentally, referring to "exorcismic editors" and an "inker of insanity" on the inside front cover? That's Bad Sign #2.

Our story begins 13 years ago with a flashback to the Louisiana Bayou, where instead of Amos Moses trapping the biggest and meanest aligators (with just one hand!), we instead see Li'l Brother Voodoo and his brother Daniel kicking it in a graveyard making blood sacrifices to return their dead parents to life. Unfortunately for Mr. and Mrs. Drumm, Daniel's ritual actually results in most of the non-magical super-heroes of this version of the Marvel Universe--including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and at least two Defenders--getting sucked into oblivion, never to be heard from again. Which, if you've ever read Brian Pulido's take on Spider-Man in Evil Ernie vs. the Super-Heroes #2--which I strongly advise you against ever doing--is probably a very, very good thing.

Anyway, this magical snafu becomes known as "The Chaos! Event"--yes, complete with exclamation point, marking Bad Sign #3--and, surprising pretty much everybody, does not result in the Earth being immediately conquered by Skrulls or eaten by Galactus. Instead, life continues pretty much apace, and by the time the story picks up again, Jericho Drumm's become a successful record producer plagued by recurring nightmares. And to make matters worse, the few heroes left are starting to go missing, including Dr. Strange, who vanishes mysteriously, leaving his amulet to guide Brother Voodoo into gathering a new group of heroes to fight... something. Or whatever.

And that's about where things start to get awesomely ridiculous. Let's go through the cast of characters, shall we?

Up first is our ol' pal B. Viddy, who, despite being the team leader and the focus around whom the entire story is built, manages to be one of the most ineffectual characters in the history of fiction. By my count, he manages to cast roughly two spells over the course of four issues, for a net effect of absolutely nothing.

To be fair, though, his main function appears to be hanging around on rooftops trying to look like Spawn, and at that, he's darn near perfect

Next, we have Satana, portrayed here as Maria Ramos, a devoutly Catholic teen bikini model with a demon shacking up in her soul, which is about as close as we're going to get in this series to something resembling "internal conflict."

Poor substitutes for character motivation aside, Satana has the ability to fly and shoot hellfire from her hands, which means she's pretty much a hot version of Ghost Rider, but with low-rise jeans instead of a motorcycle. She also doesn't do a whole lot over the course of the series.

Playing the role of Wolverine this evening is a teenage Jack Russel, mercifully known better as Werewolf By Night. in addition to the obvious, he also knows kung fu, and fulfills the function of being the team member who spouts utter nonsense disguised as catchy fight banter.

Yes, there's a Teen Wolf joke. Yes, it's horrible. No, I'm not going to scan it.

Hey, look everybody, it's Emo Hulk! Next.

Rounding out the cast, we have the Black Cat, here seen as a teenage political activist rescued from being sexually harrassed by what appears to be an undead Margot Kidder--which I feel I should mention also involves both of them falling out the window of a high rise office building--before joining up with Brother Voodoo and his gang.

I'm not exactly sure how we got a young Felicia Hardy thirteen years after Spider-Man vanishes, but hey: That's how Earth-Supernatural rolls. Regardless, she can walk on walls and ceilings, and has her old "bad luck" probability powers that she can activate by speaking in a slightly different font.

And finally, the one we've all been waiting for. Feast thine eyes, dear reader, upon the sixth member of Brother Voodoo's running crew...


There's really not a whole lot to add to that, except to say that he first shows up at one of Satana's modeling shoots, where he does tricks off a half-pipe while she stands around in a bikini holding torches in what has to be the single greatest Mountain Dew ad ever filmed. Sadly, it was interrupted before filming was completed by the arrival of zombie pirates, at which time Johnny apparently climbs up to the top of a rollercoaster, then changes into the Ghost Rider so that he can make his dramatic entrance.

Seriously, though? If the Ghost Rider also rode a BMX in this thing, it might just propel it to being the greatest comic ever.

So that's the team, and with a lineup as moderately competent as that one, Supernaturals was a book that demanded an equal challenge from its villain, who had begun to orchestrate the disappearances of the few remainign heroes and, if you'll remember, defeated the Sorcerer Supreme himself.

But who could it be? The Dread Dormammu? Dracula, Lord of the Vampires? Shuman Gorath?! MEPHISTO?!

Nah. It's that guy who fought Spider-Man a couple of times. Sort of. Either way, remember this page, because it shows up again at the end of #3.

Next, on the ISB!
Jack O'Lantern unleashes hell on a couple blocks of Downtown Los Angeles... And someone notices!
Plus: N'Kantu the Living Mummy! El Chupacabra!
Dream Sequences and fights that don't make any sense!

BONUS FEATURE: Strong Bad O'Lantern!

Speaking of Jack O'Lanterns, here's your moment of earnest, diary-style blogging for the evening: I carved a pumpkin tonight for the first time ever, using a stencil from Homestar Runner.


I think it turned out pretty well!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen...

In honor of Spooktoberfest Weekend, the ISB proudly presents...




IN 3-D!!!

(Special thanks to Siskoid for convincing me to read Vampirella: The Morrison/Millar Collection)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Week In Ink: 10-25-06

It's the Fourth Week of October.

Kevin previews the list.

I review the stack.

Tombstone gets kicked in the face.

That's just how I roll.


52: Week Twenty-Five: As much as this one focuses on Bruno Manheim's newly formed cult--which, while still a little wacky, is explained and established pretty well--I have the sneaking feeling that the entire comics blogger internet was completely focused on the last page reveal, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Absorbascon. It's the shocking return that we've been waiting for since Ambush Bug #3, and while I have to admit that I saw it coming, I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a pretty huge kick out of it. Aside from that, though, it's another solid but largely unremarkable issue with another fantastic cover.

Action Comics #844: I'll be honest with you: As much as I love Terence Stamp as General Zod, I really could not care less about Richard Donner's vision of Superman. A lot of it stems from the fact that I cannot comprehend his apparent fascination with Jor-El, who, as far as I'm concerned, is a footnote at best. Once he hits that button and sends his kid's rocket to Earth, his part of the story is done, and we never need to see him again, least of all as a giant bearded holographic head. And then there's the fact that the movie version of the Fortress of Solitude doesn't have a door, which means you can pretty much just walk in through the giant hole, marking the one time in the history of comics where a giant golden key shaped like an arrow actually makes more sense than the alternative.

As for the rest of Action's new creative team, I like Geoff Johns a lot in general, but after the utter mess that was Infinite Crisis, I'm pretty wary of his work on a top-tier book, and while I like Adam Kubert a lot, I like his brother more. In short, I really wasn't very excited about this one, and nothing about the first issue does anything to change that. It's not terrible, and I'm willing to continue with it if for no other reason than to see where Johns and Donner go with what I'm assuming is the new Mon-El, but if this is a decent sample of what we're going to be getting out of the run, it doesn't quite hit my personal tastes.

All New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #10: A few weeks ago, DK released the Marvel Encyclopedia, and while I've got the one they put out for DC, I skipped out on that one. After all, I've been buying a new installment of the OHOTMU every month for the past two years, and between that and, you know, the internet, I'm pretty sure I'm covered. This particular issue, though, features three pieces of art by Rob Liefeld, two pages of information on Shatterstar, and everything you've ever wanted to know about Steel Raven's tiny, tiny hands, so I'm pretty sure that this is the least essential Marvel Handbook ever. But darn it, I just know I'd kick myself if I had a question about the Snarks that I couldn't answer.

Captain America #23: True to form, Ed Brubaker and Mike Perkins bring us the only Civil War tie-in that features the Red Skull and Dr. Doom talking about time-travel and giant robots, which, in case you didn't know, is totally awesome. It's interesting to see how Brubaker's scripts work around the title character's current busy schedule of getting punched out by Iron Man and surfing on fighter jets, choosing instead to focus on the supporting cast. It has the effect of seamlessly blending his own ongoing story into the crossover while still keeping both aspects moving, and while that's a hard trick to pull off, it's done extremely well here.

Daredevil #90: And speaking of excellent Ed Brubaker comics, Daredevil continues to be one of the best books Marvel's putting out. In addition to the new issue, this week also saw the release of the first trade paperback of Brubaker and Lark's run, and trust me: Those issues are phenomenal, and if you haven't read them, you really, really ought to. The new one's top notch as well, with Brubaker's sharp scripts and Michael Lark's absolutely incredible artwork. As good as he was on Gotham Central, he's even better here, and the whole package is just incredible.

Incidentally, while I was looking for a link to the new trade on Amazon just now, I ran across this little invitation to destruction instead. I don't know about you, but I'm amazed that it took me this long to realize the comedic potential of launching a toddler across the Grand Canyon on a rocket bike.

It's probably best if I just move on.

Forgotten Realms: The Crystal Shard #2: I'd just like to take this opportunity to point out that in the novel this comic adapts, there's a lengthy scene where our two protagonists slather themselves in deer fat so they won't freeze to death while skin-diving in the arctic tundra, which is mercifully left out of the version with pictures. Thanks, Devil's Due!

GØDLAND #13: For some reason, it really doesn't feel like Godland's been gone for three months. It's not that I didn't miss it while it was gone, it's just that I had no problem whatsoever getting right back into the swing of things right from page one with this issue. Either way, it's a fun time to be had by all. Scioli's art is up to its usual standards--a derivative pastiche? Sure, but it's a good derivative pastiche!--and Casey's wacky alien dialogue, which occasionally hangs a left off Clever and goes about four blocks down Annoying, is highly entertaining here. It's good comics!

Hawkgirl #57: Joe Bennett takes over penciling duties with this issue, and in the absence of Howard Chaykin, this comic book actually makes sense, and that alone puts it worlds ahead of anything that's come before in this run. Even better, while it's nothing above average, it is interesting: After dealing with a giant space vagina, Kendra runs across some war criminals from the Rann/Thanagar conflict, and that's an idea with enough potential that this may actually be the start of an upswing for the book.and with Walt Simonson writing, that's pretty much all I need to keep me going.

CAGE MATCH.Jack of Fables #4: As I've mentioned countless times here on the ISB, I'm a pretty solid Bill Willingham fan, but with Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins, and Katy Keene's own Andrew Pepoy, Jack of Fables is rapidly becoming my favorite thing he's done. Ever since the preview in Fables #50, I've liked everything about it, and this issue's big escape attempt is no exception. It's hard to really talk about in-depth without going into the specifics of what makes it such an enjoyable issue to read, but any comic with the dynamic teams of the Walrus and the Carpenter and the Tortoise and the Hare making a mad dash for freedom from the concept of fairy-tale censorship has got to be worth reading. Incredible stuff, as per usual.

Justice #8: Last month I called this book "Alex Ross's Super-Friends Fan-Fiction," and it lives up to that title pretty well in this one, right about the time that Elongated Man and Plastic Man actually have an argument about who's better. It's thoroughly pointless and remarkably stupid, even for a story where Aquaman recovered from having the top of his head chopped off and his brain scrambled in about fifteen minutes.

Mouse Guard #5: If I was told a year ago that one of my favorite mini-series of 2006 would feature an issue with a four-page illuminated manuscript sequence that revealed the secret origin of the greatest mouse warrior of all time and his unstoppable axe, I would've... Well, I probably would've believed you, because that does sound pretty awesome. The point is, with David Petersen's incredible storytelling, Mouse Guard's actually living up to every expectation I had for it, even with the incredible amount of buzz surrounding it before its release, and that's no small feat.


Nextwave: Agents of HATE #9: This is the single most mind-shatteringly glorious comic since the advent of battery-throwing, and that's a fact.

It's got the most shocking return of the year, the mind-melting debut of three new teams of terrifying (or at least mildly disconcerting) super-villains, non-Euclidean geometry, and a joke on page 22 that's telegraphed on page 4 and is still funnier than just about anything else I've ever read in a Marvel Comic! It wants your love! It needs your money!

Planetary #26: On the off chance that you're late to the party and have no idea what the deal is with the best triannual comic in history, I'll explain: This is the penultimate issue of Planetary, and while it features neither an orbital death ray (#25) nor the Satan Claw (#25), it is by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, and is therefore very, very good. #27 will be out sometime around the next epoch of civilization, and will most likely be totally worth the wait.

Ptolus: City by the Spire #1: I bought this back when it first came out from Dabel Brothers, and I bought it again this week. I wouldn't reccomend that anyone else buy it twice--that's just the obsessive completist in me who doesn't want to bag up the DB version with the Marvel version when the next issue comes out--but if you find yourself in the mood to read some Dungeons & Dragons-inspired fantasy comics (and who WOULDN'T?!), you could do a lot worse than to buy it once. The Ptolus campaign setting--which weighs in at around $120, making it the one of the most expensive RPG products around--was extremely well-done and the idea of a world where everybody pretty much accepts the inherent chaos of a city populated by adventurers is one that leads to some very interesting concepts, like Sheva's sidekick, a dreadlock-sporting ghost who smokes a magical weed to stay corporeal, and it comes off as a pretty entertaining read in its own right. If that's your thing, give it a shot.

Secret Six #5: And suddenly, life on Apokalips doesn't seem so bad.

Yep. I'm going to leave it at that.

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #11: I've mentioned before that one of my favorite things about this book is that whether it's Spider-Man fighting the looter on the roof of Midtown High after giving MJ a pep talk or Ned Leeds showing up as someone's rebound boyfriend, every issue has a subtle reminder that the high school drama is taking place in a version of the Marvel Universe. But this issue... This issue features the first appearance of a new student. A new African-American student. Named Luke. Who wears a yellow shirt.

Thank you, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, for being the best comic book ever.


Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger v.1: To be perfectly honest with you, I'm planning on getting every single Showcase volume that DC's putting out, so I'm probably not the guy you want to turn to for a review if you're trying to decide whether to buy it. So with that in mind, I'll turn this one over to Dr. K:

"...Kanigher had the Phantom Stranger teaming up with a Scooby-Doo-Style group of kids (sans dog), who represent what Kanigher must have thought teenagers were like in the early 70s.

One of the odd things about the series, though, is that, for most of the first year or so (after the first few issues reprint stories from the 1950s Phantom Stranger series), each story followed an identical structure. The group of kids would come across an event that may or may not be supernatural. Coincidentally, both Dr. Thirteen and the Stranger would be in the neighborhood as well. Then, Dr. Thirteen would tell a story that resembles the current event, demonstrating how he exposed it to be a fraud. Next, the Stranger would tell a similar story that had a supernatural explanation. Later, the Stranger would fight whatever supernatural force was causing the event, but Dr. Thirteen would miss it all and continue in his skepticism. The story would end with Dr. Thirteen shaking his fist at the cloud of vapor that once was the Phantom Stranger and shouting something like, 'One day I'll prove you to be the charlatan that you are!'

I've basically taken you through the first year of the series. Do with it what you will."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spooktoberfest Special: The Bloodsucking Battle YOU Demanded!

Last week, I briefly mentioned that Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1--a title that ends about four words after it should--wasn't exactly what you'd call "good." But after a careful reconsideration, I've come to the conclusion that I might not be the best person to judge this one.

After all, I usually skip the Supernatural Erotica section of my local bookstore in favor of the Pro Wrestler Espionage and Martial Arts Western shelves, so I don't have the baseline familiarity with the character that any serious reviewer would draw upon.

I do, however, have a copy of Marvel's recent Dr. Strange vs. Dracula: The Montesi Formula trade--which revolves around a spell from the Darkhold so powerful that it wipes out all the vampires... except, you know, all of them--to use for comparison.

So with Halloween fast approaching, tonight the ISB brings you the Most Supernatural Slugfest Of All as we dare to ask the question...

Anita Blake vs. Marvel Dracula: WHO YA GOT?!

That's right: After exhausting research that consisted of both flipping through back issues of and pushing the right button on my scanner, I'm prepared to offer up a definitive five-point comparison of their defining characteristics.

Now on with it!

Round One: The Look!

Anita Blake appears to be a reasonably attractive brunette with no skin pigmentation whatsoever.

Dracula appears to be a slightly more terrifying Vincent Price.

Admittedly, Dracula probably achieves the desired effect a little better, but all things considered, I'd rather look at the albino resurrectionist.

Advantage: Blake

Round Two: Tough Talkin'!

Anita Blake:

Okay, that's not bad, even if she does spend the majority of the issue trying not to be mind-controlled into jumping onstage at a vampire strip club.

Dracula, your response?

Advantage: Dracula

Round Three: Arch-Nemeses

Dracula wages a titanic mystical battle against the eldritch might of Dr. Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme!

Also, while it doesn't happen in The Montesi Formula, I do think it's important to note that Drac here once beat the living hell out of the Silver Surfer.

Anita Blake, on the other hand, fights this douchebag.

Advantage: Dracula

Round Four: Breasts

Anita Blake:


Advantage: Blake

Round Five: Rollin' With Your Homies

Anita Blake rolls with a Sex and the City-style posse of ladies who want to lick the scars of a reedy heroin addict and snowball a mouthful of blood despite the truly unreasonable health risks.

Dracula does not.

Advantage: Dracula

And so, with three out of five, your winner is...

See? It's science