May 1, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 66: Barbarienne #1, June 1992

(Okay, apologies. I'm remarkably busy right now, and was up very late having gone to see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night, so here's a fill-in post. I'll get back to The Score some time soon, though tomorrow's comic may well be something that I pick up for Free Comic Book Day.)

This comic was awful.

I kind of want to stop there, and not spend any more time on a comic that's already taken 15-20 minutes of my life, but that wouldn't be very professional, would it?

I think the problem is that, by and large, erotica is really hard to do in comics. Porn's easy. Porn is just bodies being jammed together, and if your artwork is good, then you'll accomplish your goal. But with erotica, you kind of want to have at least a modicum of story wrapped around the naked bodies. In the case of Barbarienne, we are dropped in in medias res about 300% too far into the story. I had no idea what was going on. The only way to distinguish characters, especially when they were naked, was by hairstyle (not even by sex, as there's no naked men in the comic). I couldn't figure out relationships between people, mainly because they'd been set up in the untold back story, and weren't fleshed out (see what I did there?) nearly enough in this initial issue. I'll bend a little, and allow that maybe the characters and relationships would be cleared up in subsequent issues, but with serialized storytelling, you kind of want to pull a reader in and intrigue him or her, not just outright confuse them.

And then there's the art. I always feel a little odd critiquing art, as my own is rudimentary at best. But parts of this comic looked like they were traced from a Playboy magazine, and the parts that didn't were just awkward. Both the writer and the artist on this book obviously had a vision of an erotic fantasy work, but I'm just not sure either of them were up to it.

There. That's another 10 minutes this comic has taken away from me. I think that's enough.

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