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Friday, October 13, 2006

Spooktoberfest Special: The Mind-Melting Horror of Halloween With Tarot!

In case you missed the memo, today is Friday, the 13th of October, and while I'm not one for superstition, there's pretty much no way that I could let this one go without doing a Halloween post. So regardless of how spooky your day's been so far, brace yourself.

Because it's about to get much, much worse.

And no, you're not hallucinating. My copy is autographed.

Anyway, Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #16 is one of two Halloween specials from this series that I own, and believe it or not, it's actually the better of the two. And that's going to get a lot harder to believe in about six paragraphs, so bear with me here.

Our story begins with our busty heroine scrying on a few kids as they go trick-or-treating and deciding that there's something up--WAY up--with The Old Myers Place, which you might recognize from pretty much every single episode of Nickelodeon's classic Are You Afraid Of The Dark? According to Tarot's sister Raven Hex, who augments her Balentine bustline with giant steel spikes on her nipples in the most unsubtle costume since Firestorm, Myer was "that crazy witch who was a baker." So, based entirely on the fact that a trio of plucky children are spooked by a creepy abandoned mansion, Tarot and Raven decide to stop dancing skyclad around the Festivus Bush or whatever and hop in the Mystery Machine to launch their own investigation.

And therein lies the first problem, as Tarot discovers after entering The Old Myers Place that it's been warded against the use of magic, which sort of puts a damper on the fun when the word "Witch" is right there in your job description.

Problem two? The Gingerdead Men.

Yep. Monsters made of gingerbread that try to rip off Tarot's panties no fewer than three times in four panels which, considering she doesn't actually lose them until page 5, is pretty restrained from Balent's usual tactics. Regardless, I can get behind the idea of mindless homonculi made of baked goods pretty easily, if it wasn't for the fact that they have candy corn teeth. It makes for a fine thematic visual, but really, candy corn isn't exactly known for being sharp and is, in fact, quite malleable and ill-suited for the rending of meat.

Really, it's enough to completely shatter one's suspension of disbelief.

Without their spells, the girls are easily routed and unceremoniously dumped into what appears to be a kiddie pool full of chocolate sauce, where they're finally confronted with their adversary. So who's responsible for this confectionary horror? Is it Myer the Baker who kidnapped these kids and unleashed the horrors of the Gingerdead Men? No, the villain of this sinister tableau is in fact...


Created as part of Myer's master plan to avoid ever leaving the house again, Cookee is a woman made entirely of candy, and while that is a fantastic idea, it gets significantly less so after she recaps her origin. It all starts with Myer licking copious amounts of strawberry icing off of his Oatmeal Raisin Homonculus, and ends with Cookee mistaking Meyer overindulging on a bag of Toll House for an expression of love, which--of course!--leads to her eating him alive in a sequence that's capped off with Cookee diddling herself in Myer's gore-covered easy chair in front of his eyeless severed head. So there's that.

Once her status as a cannibalistic serial murderer made of candy is confirmed, Cookee sets to thematically decorating Tarot and Raven's naughty bits--including cherries--when one of the kids, dressed up like Harry Potter for Halloween, frees himself and rolls over to save them from being eaten. Which he does through the one-two combo of incredibly poor perspective and a good sharp poke to the eye!

Once that's done, he frees Tarot and Raven, who commence to beating the living hell out of the Gingerdead Men despite having been thoroughly overwhelmed by them about ten pages before, and before long, Cookie's been chopped in half, the other two kids have been rescued, Harry Potter gets to see a couple of chicks naked, and everything works out okay.

Except, of course, for those of us who actually read it.


Blogger Ragnell said...

I firmly believe that Tarot was created solely so you could review it.

10/14/2006 1:25 AM

Blogger Matt said...

Hey man I've been reading your site for a while now and I gotta say. Just brilliant. Keep on keepin' on.

10/14/2006 1:35 AM

Blogger Jake said...

Cookee diddling herself in Myer's gore-covered easy chair in front of his eyeless severed head.

You can't seriously think you're going to get away with describing a scene like that and without giving us a scan.

10/14/2006 2:11 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

No please. No scan.

I may never be able to eat a cookie again.

10/14/2006 4:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Tarot, yes, but Vampirella no?


10/14/2006 7:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cookee sure looks a lot like Ultimate Sue Storm.

10/14/2006 8:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an American, you're almost certainly unaware of the UK smut/humour comic VIZ, more specifically the 'Fru T. Bunn' character (http://www.answers.com/topic/fru-t-bunn).

But trust me, the parallels are striking.

10/14/2006 9:20 AM

Blogger Zak J.K. said...

I must ask, in that picture of them fighting the Gingerdead Men, is that woman actually just wearing the heel to her shoe? Nothing else on her foot but the damn heel?

I am not wanting you to ever speak of Tarot again. Even if there are a few weeks left in october.

Also, have some snow, courtesy of Buffalo.

10/14/2006 9:42 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

"You can't seriously think you're going to get away with describing a scene like that and without giving us a scan."

Wholesome thoughts, chum. Wholesome thoughts.

"So Tarot, yes, but Vampirella no?"

Touché, sir.

10/14/2006 11:05 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

Um Chris? Can we go back to Batman kicking dogs again? Glurrgggg!

10/14/2006 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...so I got in the office this morning to pull up your blog to read and WHABAM! there's Tarot in all her scantily-clad glory and WHABAM! someone walks into the office and promptly walks out. awkward.

10/14/2006 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got it signed??

10/14/2006 12:55 PM

Blogger McGone said...

I don't know why people don't take comics seriously as an art form... TAROT seems to be practically Shakespeare-ian in its scope and depth.

10/14/2006 3:01 PM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

Thank you, Mr. Balent, for teaching us all that "poke" is onomonapoeia.

10/14/2006 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, if I still owned this I woulda reviewed it. It's just about the point Balent fully commits to bringing the reader punishing insanity issue after issue.

Tarot is entertaining in it's way. Sort of in the way a trainwreck at a strip club on Halloween while everyone was dropping acid constantly would be.

I think it was either this issue, or the Beltane issue, or the issue with the horny snowmen that made me wonder not if Balent was high as a kite when he came up with this, but indeed, how high?

Oh lord, you left out so much of that Cookee story that went well beyond wrong into HARD WRONG. "He really enjoyed my frosting" I now hold responsible for the fact that I am now deathly afraid of cakes.

10/15/2006 7:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All right, so based on your (kind of) recommendations of this brilliant work of art known as Tarot, I pre-ordered # 41. Then, this month I noticed that # 37 was being offered (again?) in December, so I ordered that too.

I guess what I'm saying is, I now have ordered two issues of this sleazy comic book because of YOU, Chris Sims, and my obsessive collecting personality is urging me on to fill in the issues between 37 and 41. What should I do? WWCD? Would Would Chris Do?

10/15/2006 11:58 PM

Anonymous Owen said...

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11/01/2011 8:58 PM


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