Jun 23, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 13: Men's Adventure Comix #1, April/May 1995

https://www.comics.org/issue/327585/

Where to even start with this one.

There's an in-house ad partway through this magazine that shows a comic store employee forcing Vertigo titles on a young man in the shop, claiming that it'll "put you in touch with your feminine side." The ad is set up like an old Charles Atlas ad, and the cure to these "feminine" comics is Men's Adventure Comix. I'm sure there's a touch of irony in there. The editor calls himself "The World's Most Politically Incorrect Comic Book Editor," but the trouble with such an assertion is that, these days, we see people who actually wear that kind of label proudly. It's a fine line that this magazine treads, and not always on the best side.

The artwork is, undeniably, excellent. Mark Texeira's painted stories are always amazing, and Kevin Maguire's secret origin of Hericane is lovely to behold. The stories are definitely of the pulp variety, as the front cover advertises. The Western feature "Slim & Nun" evokes old school European comics, both in presentation and subject matter - it's the story I could most see showing up in Heavy Metal. There are a few superheroic tales in this issue. "Hericane" is amusing and takes in the ridiculousness of the superhero with no apologies. "Action Figures" skews slightly more toward the Image-style comics that were popular at the time of the magazine's publication. The characters wear costumes that are completely unnecessarily skimpy, and engage in over the top violence. It was the 90s. The final story of the issue, "The Origin of Miss Adventure" is well-rendered, but the take on radical, and not so radical, Feminism in the tale is thoroughly problematic, painting Feminists as butch lesbians who want to dissuade all women from ever having anything to do with men ever again. The writers probably could have stood to do a bit more research.

So, pretty much a thoroughly sexist comic. No surprise, really, though occasionally in publications like this you wait to see a hint of self-awareness peeking through the cracks (pun intended). If they're here, they're tough to catch.

Onward.

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