Sighs Matters


Empowered Special

So several years back, Adam Warren got some art commissions to create some superhero bondage fetish artwork. He ended up taking the character he’d created for the commission and turning her into a — ahem — more fully fleshed-out character. The result was “Empowered,” a sexy superhero comedy about a dishy blonde with severe self-esteem issues and a supersuit that gets torn way, way too easily. She’s a member of a superteam called the Superhomeys, but almost none of them like her at all. Her real friends are her boyfriend Thugboy, a former minion-for-hire, her best friend Ninjette, a beer-swilling ninja, and the Caged Demonwolf, a pompous cosmic monstrosity imprisoned inside some power-draining alien bondage gear and living on the coffee table in Emp’s home. There have been five volumes of this story so far, and you should go pick ’em up, ’cause they’re awesome.

Enough backstory? In this one-shot comic, Emp’s up against a villain with the spectacularly clumsy name of Irresistimmovable who wears an extremely powerful battlesuit. He’s already taken out the rest of the Superhomeys and is chasing Emp through a secret superhero cemetery. Meanwhile, Thugboy, Ninjette, and the Caged Demonwolf catalogue Emp’s vast variety of sighs as she goes through the daily trials of her life. Can Emp use a message from beyond the grave to defeat her undefeatable enemy?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wildly, awesomely kinetic eye candy. Beautifully illustrated, fantastically well-written. Part in-depth character study, part superhero action, part comic deconstruction, and large parts of screaming hilarity, thanks almost entirely to the Caged Demonwolf (“The nigh-omniscient netherlord’s staggering sapience overwhelmingly outstrips your own merely mortal musings! Now, hearken hence, half-witten hominids!”). Probably not for kids — there’s sex and skin galore (but no actual nudity), and two of the characters mentioned are named S***house Rat and Mindf**k (both censored almost exactly like that in the comic, which is kinda cool). But the rest of y’all should feel free to go track this one down.


Madame Xanadu #17

Betty Reynolds, former 1950s perfect housewife, is going through a slow, inexplicable, terrifying transformation, and Madame Xanadu is trying to find out what’s the matter. She spies on some clean-cut ’50s suburbanites who moonlight as Satanists and crosses paths with an eerie detective named John Jones. Betty’s transformation ramps up significantly, from bug-puking to fire-breathing to claws, fangs, and culminating in something far worse.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley are doing really wonderful things with this comic. At turns gross, unsettling, awe-inspiring, and breathtaking — I love the way this story is developing.


Comic Book Comics #4

The history of comic books as told through comics — Fred van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, the creators of “Action Philosophers,” take us through the high and low points of “Crime Does Not Pay” (and the real-life crime perpetrated by one of its creators), the creation of the Fantastic Four, the “Marvel Method” of comic creation, the rise of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Objectivism, the Texas Mafia (betcha didn’t know independent comics got their start in Austin, didja?), R. Crumb and the creation of “Zap Comix,” European comics, Herge’s run-ins with the Nazis, and the creation of comics for adults in the forms of “Metal Hurlant,” “Heavy Metal,” and “Epic Illustrated.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff you didn’t know about, lots of great cartooning, and lots of excellent writing. I’m enjoying the individual issues of this series, but I gotta admit, I’m looking forward to the eventual collected edition. It’s outstanding comic history.

No Comments

  1. Maxo Said,

    December 7, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    I’m looking forward to Comic Book Comics in a collected edition, too — I haven’t been picking up the singles, as hard as that’s been.

    Mostly, though, I had to give you a thumbs up for that post title – very nice!