Holy F*cked #3

Holy-Fucked-3

Here we are. 100 reviews in. While I didn’t stay at it daily, it was pretty darn close and for me that is quite an achievement. So like a comic book that reaches its 100th issue, or a television show that reaches its 100th episode, I thought I would talk about something great. Something that speaks to me. Something that is way past vulgar and fun as hell to boot. Here folks is the review to Holy F*cked issue 3.

This particular issue was a pretty fast read. In regards to story there is honestly not much going on. Hercules has kidnapped Jesus so Maria and the New Apostles set out to find him. On top of that, Satan’s water broke so Maria takes him to the hospital to have Jesus’ baby. (If there is a god, I am going to hell.)

This issue was a bit of a disappointment. Why? In the previous issue, we’re introduced to the New Apostles, Cosmic Moses, Mother 2resa, The Secret Pope, and The Holy Spirit. The setup was built in such a way as to make them appear to be quite the bad asses yet we find Hercules make pretty quick work out of the group. It was sad in a way too because reading the previous issue, I had images in my head of all the story possibilities that could be opened up with these new characters. There could have been a Justice Deities of America group! The possibilities were endless as to what religious figures and beliefs could have been lampooned and yet we find the New Apostles are made to have one fight scene and poof, they’re gone. Now, it’s a comic. There are any number of ways the characters can be brought back. I plead that they find a way to do so…just not in a prequel because screw prequels.

Don’t get me wrong though. The reason for the disappointment has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the story. To me, it’s about the possibilities for stories that are kind of wasted here. This is a fun issue but more than anything, this really felt like a place holder sequence to get us to the finale in issue four.

The art work was great once again. One thing that will end up hypnotizing you if you’re not careful is Hercules’ nipples. Apparently they’re mood nipples because they grow or retract based on the mood he’s in. The title of the issue on page nine was drawn reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez’s work on Machete. That’s kind of how I picture this comic. If you pumped Robert Rodriguez full of mescaline and LSD and gave him orders to tell you a Bible story, this would be the end result. And the world would rejoice in praise.

Bottom Line:

You will enjoy this issue. Don’t mistake my critique for not enjoying this issue. It’s funny as hell and makes me want to see how everything ends. Unless they find a way to resurrect the New Apostles, I do think it is a shame they were done away with so quickly because there is so much potential in those characters. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear more about Cosmic Moses’ journeys playing basketball in Mount Olympus? Hell, have the four land in the middle of some crime ridden suburb somewhere in America and have them kick ass Charles Bronson in the 80’s style.

In a lot of ways, this issue reminds me of Cannon Films from the 80’s. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about that ol’ great movie company that made so many bad films. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Watching that movie really perked my interests up in regards to finishing up the Holy F*cked series because this really comes off as a wonderful satire of that type of movie. Yet these guys, Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa get that they’re making satire. They’re crafting the words and the art just right to build up to what will be I am sure a wonderful finale. If not, at least we’ll have Hercules’ nipples.

Anyway, I’d like to thanks folks for stopping by my site on a somewhat regular basis. This is a pure labor of love on my part and I do feel like I am learning a lot. My goal was to examine comics through the eyes of a writer, seeing what I feel works and what ultimately doesn’t. Since starting with Silk #1 on August 27th of this year, it’s been quite an education over what makes comics work as a whole. I’d always neglected art. I knew what I liked but never really put much thought into it. Reviewing comics like I have has made me much more critical in regards to what is actually going on in the scene on the page as well as appreciating that sometimes work that on the surface may seem simplistic like the work in Holy F*cked actually goes a long was towards increasing your enjoyment of the story. Much like Mike Judge’s work on Beavis and Butt-Head, on the surface you have two characters making fart jokes and not doing much but Mike was brilliant in terms of how he built up to a joke. Mike Judge’s writing and animation is a lot like good sex. It is a slow build where the laughs get bigger and bigger until you reach the end of the episode you’re laughing so hard you have a mess to clean up. Nick and Daniel’s work on Holy F*ck and Holy F*cked have worked much the same and it’s been a pleasure discovering such great work. I just hope they reconsider the fate of the New Apostles. They have a world they can build from this.

Holy F*cked #1

holy fucked 1

I couldn’t resist. I had to come back for me. When the previous series ended with a cliff hanger of Hercules heading home and finding his father dead due to Jesus, I had to see where Nick Marino and Daniel Arrudea Massa went next with the series. So instead of waiting for it to become available on Comic Blitz, I went to Comixology and bought issues 1 and 2 of the new series.

The premise of this issue is simple. Jesus and Satan have settled into domestic blitz. Sister Maria is living in Los Angeles and is running a homeless shelter there. While at home, Satan reveals to Jesus that he is pregnant. They’re going to be fathers! I wonder where homosexual deities register? Anyway, we head to Greece where we see Hercules and Anansi talk about what has happened to Jesus and Satan. Hercules is pissed because they’re alive and vows revenge. We close the story with Hercules arriving in town at the homeless shelter offering his help to Maria.

Now this issue does start out slow. It doesn’t really get to the main part of the story, apart from the pregnancy, until Hercules enters the story. It’s mostly little, or in the case of Jesus’ penis, BIG fucking gags meant to garner a laugh. I tried reading the comic at work until I got to the page where Jesus was taking a show and the foot he had attached to his groin caused me to turn off Comixology and head to a different app. But the way I see it, if you’re going to believe in a deity, that deity would have a massive member.

I really dug how they were able to touch on the points of the original comic series without having a character have a long monologue explaining everything that happened. They even found a way to both show AND tell what Jesus had done to Zeus, even though it appears that it is Hercules version of what happened. Maybe this gets touched on in future issues, where Hercules has it pointed out to him how what he thinks happened did not happen the way he thinks it did.

The art work is its usual amazing self. When you have art work that sets the tone so beautifully for a story, regardless of whether you have something drawn by the greatest artist of all time or a kid drawing crude stick figures, you have art that is absolutely beautiful. It fits the tone of the story so well that when you encounter the gags you encounter in the first few pages, gags meant for laughs and not for advancing the story, it still pulls you in like a worm tempting a fish in water. I especially liked Hercules and how, despite being drawn like a deity on steroids, had real emotion when he was contemplating his plans to kill the Lord. Yeah, it’s the type of emotion you’d see in an 80’s action movie but that’s the kind of tone this story is pushing. It’s not The Godfather.

Bottom Line:

It’s a beautiful way to pick up the story where it left off. I think this story could be the start of a sacrilegious franchise of material. I mean, how did Jesus and Satan fall in love? What did Hercules do when he was away from home? How long did it take for Jesus to learn to dunk when he was taught by his main man Moses? They have created a world here and I want to see more of who inhabits it.

One thing I missed this issue was the little prequel stories that showed up in the original series. Maybe they were used as more filler than anything but they were funny as hell. I especially liked the bit where Merlin sent Jesus back into time, he slept with a woman…only to find out it was Mary, the woman who would become his mother. Maybe it was filler, maybe it was the fact that they couldn’t think of anything but I missed it.

You can’t miss this comic. The absolute glee they have in using whatever tool they have, pun intended in Jesus’ case, to either get you to laugh or immediately grab your holy book of choice and pray for forgiveness makes this story a must read. It is a little light on story this issue but it makes up for it with laughs. I know I’ve stated in the past that each issue of a comic should feel like a self contained story. Despite the fact that not much happens this issue, it does feel like a complete piece of work that invites you to pick up the next issue. The passion it took to write this story can and should be rewarded with your hard earned money.

The artwork is superb. It’s goofy, silly, and crudely drawn but it fits the mood of the story so well that it makes a great story so much better. Much like why South Park is great because of how it is animated, this comic is better for the art being the way it is. Well done.

Holy F*ck #4

Holy-Fuck-4

The grand finale of Holy F*ck is here. Will Jesus and Satan save the world from nuclear Armageddon? Will the world still have faith in Jesus? Will the comic include some dick jokes? Let’s discover the long and veiny truth!

The story wraps up with Jesus skydiving onto a nuclear missile and fucking it, yes, fucking it until it explodes. From there the other gods decide to leave when they can and leave Zeus hanging. Even Isis ends up leaving him.

The ending was great. The nun ends up killing Zeus but not in the violent way you thought would happen. Kind of like the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the way she kills Zeus is by telling him that he’s not a god anymore. He’s nothing. And because he’s nothing, there’s nothing he can do to stop her. And pop, he disappears, dead (maybe). I love how they acknowledged that as a deity, simply stabbing him or filling him full of lead with a machine gun would not be the way to end his life. Since they live by faith, they can die by faith. But much like Freddy Krueger, faith can bring him back and bring back his power thus setting up sequels.

I also really enjoyed the spoof on 80’s action films. Growing up in the 80’s, action stories to me are exaggerated fantasies. They’re just as much fantasies are the old sword and sorcery epics of ages past. While they are set in a world we are familiar with and using tools we recognize, they are not meant to be realistic stories that could happen. Action movies should not be like The French Connection. There should be lots of explosions, boobs, guns, boobs, and more explosions. There should be snappy one liners. Sometimes they can have a message but more often than not the most complex story should be that something bad happens to the good guy and he kills a hell of a lot of people in retribution.

This story has all the makings of an 80’s action film, albeit a spoof. It’s like Kung Fury with a message. It’s a message similar to Star Wars really. Yes, Star Wars has a message. A very simple one but a message nonetheless. For Star Wars that message is that being good can be a hard damn thing to do but in the end is much more fulfilling a life to live than it is to be evil.

For Holy F*ck the message is about faith. What could a comic where Jesus fucks a nuclear bomb into submission have to tell you in terms of a message? That if you are going to have faith in something, whether it be a deity, a politician, a spouse, something, that faith should never be based on fear. That faith should be based on love. Anything that you put your faith in that you’re afraid of is something that will let you down at some point. Let’s say in the story that Zeus and Isis were successful and people started following them. Much like Hitler during his rise, people had faith that he would bring Germany back from the ashes the other nations threw it in after World War One. But, again like Hitler, people ended up being tired of his rule, lost their faith in him, and ended up revolting. Something would have set Zeus and Isis off, probably paranoia, and caused them to destroy the very people they wanted to have faith in them.

The last pages set up a sequel quite nice. We end with Hercules coming home and being told by Anansi that his father was dead. And the last page reveals the name of the sequel series, Holy F*cked. I can’t wait. Yeah, I discovered this through Comic Blitz and I’m glad I did but I will not wait for the new series to arrive on Comic Blitz. I need it now!

Bottom Line:

This has been a wonderful series. What started off as a one note joke, which there is nothing wrong with that, believe me, turned into something a little deeper. Much like food, not every bit of writing needs to be a classic. For every gourmet meal you encounter, sometimes you want to pop some hot dogs into the microwave and pig out while watching South Park on Hulu. But this series has been more than that. What it has turned out to be is some nice Hebrew National hot dogs that have been fired up on the grill with all the toppings you could think of on top of it. When something like this comic can take a simple premise and just add that little bit of something that makes you tilt your head and go damn, they’re doing something right. Along with Ms. Marvel, this has been my new favorite comic series. Not because the writer and artist have both been very gracious in acknowledging the reviews I’ve been giving them (though that is one hell of a nice thing to do and something I will never forget) but because they have a damn fine piece of work here.

Growing up, Beavis and Butt-Head was one of my favorite television shows. Hell, if it were on now, I’d still laugh my ass off. The show made no excuses for what it was. It was dumb. It was intentionally written to features two idiots who reveled in the fact that they were dumb. The magic in that show though was the writing. You don’t realize the genius behind the writing until you try and do it yourself. Mike Judge did one hell of a job (as well as the other writers on the show of course) of building up the material. The show was a lot like a pressure cooker. The longer you watched, the more the comedy pressure built up until the very end where you just let it all go with a laugh.

This comic has been a lot like that but again, with a little something extra. Yes it’s crude. It’s sure to offend some folks. But they’re missing the fact that in the crudeness the creators are actually saying that faith, which the people who would be offended at the religious references in the story say they have, is very much a good thing if it is there for the right reasons. It’s a celebration of what the people who would be offended by this say they have. For that, you will not regret reading this comic. And if that doesn’t entertain you, Jesus fucking a nuclear missile will.

Nutmeg #1

nutmeg

To the average person comic books are one thing. Super heroes. And while a large portion of comics, at least the portion that the big companies want to put out their in the public eye, are in fact the super hero variety, comics are much more diverse than that. Pretty much any type of genre you can think of can be made into a successful comic because comics can add little bits of flair…

to your work.

Thanks to Comic Blitz I found a nice story called Nutmeg. It’s about a girl named Cassia who is new to Mason Montgomery High School. She makes friends with Poppy. They make their way through the travails all kids go through in school by dealing with the silly bake sales and the cliques you always encounter.

I really dug the reality of the story. What do I mean? Whether it be moving from grade school to middle school or actually transferring to a different school like Cassia in the story, everyone has had that stage where they are the awkward newbie. Where you are the outsider looking in on the pre-established cliques the kids have already made for themselves. Most, like myself, react like Poppy in the story. You don’t want to rock the boat because rocking the boat simply means you have more trouble waiting for you at the end of the day. But in the back of your mind you think like Cassia. Wouldn’t it be nice to give the leader of the bullies their comeuppance?

The very first page of the book is what I assume is the actual end of the story. We see the two main characters in a police car. That, along with the pictures of Cassia in a pantry staring at baking ingredients, it is safe to assume that the girls do something silly with the brownie sale that is mentioned in the story. Near the end of the story, Cassia states that she has an allergy to nutmeg and then viola, she hatches a plan. It was a great way for the story to feel like a self contained story while also teasing you for what future issues will hold. It’s a slow building story but it is slow in the right way. We have had a tease as to what the future will hold for the characters in question but the build to get there will make the ending so much better.

The tease itself is great. Too often you see bits of story revealed in such a haphazard way that it either ruins what you’re about to read or is so incomprehensible that you really don’t want to proceed with reading it. In four simple frames we see all we need to see about the characters we are about to meet and what will eventually happen to them.

At the end of the issue the creators have a little blurb from the creators about the comic. In it, they describe the story in what was called an elevator pitch as Betty and Veronica meet Breaking Bad. So far I can see it. We’re getting the Betty and Veronica vibe in the relationship between the two girls as well as the artwork. Just like in Breaking Bad, the build to the eventual crimes is a slow build but so far, they’re building to the craziness quite nicely.

The art does great in establishing the tone of the story. This first issue is set up to detail their normal high school lives and the art does a great job in showing off the normalcy of their lives. One little bit of work the art did which I thought was great was wait until the very last panel to show Cassia having an evil little glint in her eye. Yeah she was pissed at the main bully of the issue earlier but that glint. Little details like this make the artwork in this issue contribute greatly to the enjoyment of the story.

Bottom Line:

I definitely recommend reading this comic. Yeah the audience for the comic may not necessarily be geared toward 39 year old balding men like myself. But the beauty of stories like this, and stories like Harry Potter, are the fact that they can appeal to anyone and everyone. Last I checked, I was never a teenage girl. But the story presents itself in such a way that regardless of your age, gender, whatever, you can find something to relate to in this story.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my wife recently about Tyler Perry. She loves his movies. I think, well, let’s just say I don’t. The reason being Tyler Perry makes his movies for one particular audience and one audience alone. Now there is nothing wrong with that at all. But that can and will date your story once your audience decides to move on. The best stories are the stories that, regardless of the subject matter and what is starring in the story, everyone can relate to it. This comic accomplishes this in spades. Again, find this comic on Comic Blitz or head to Action Lab Comics website (both have links at the bottom of the page) and buy this comic.

The art work goes a lot toward making an already enjoyable story that much better. I found myself reminiscing to my high school years and what it was like dealing with bullies. Bullies are everywhere in life and sometimes you can’t outrun them but damn am I glad I am not in high school anymore. The joy I felt when Cassia had the seed for her plan to get back at her bullies made me quite happy with vindictive glee. I can’t wait to see what happens. Again, great work and an enjoyable experience all around.