Holy F*cked #4

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Here we are with the final issue of Holy F*cked and I have to make a quick comment on the cover. Take a look at it for a moment. Does it look familiar? Well, it should because it is a straight homage to an old Daredevil cover that Frank Miller drew.

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If you’re going to rip off someone, you rip off from the best. And as Bobby the Brain Hennan used to say, it’s not stealing unless you get caught. Great cover.

So on to the comic at hand. The New Apostles have been defeated. Hercules reigns supreme and appears to be on his way to finally defeating the man he thought killed his father, Jesus. Satan is in the hospital in labor pains ready to give birth to the child of our lord and savior. And Hercules has such huge nipples that a cow would probably be offended by them and ask him to wear a shirt.

So I have to say I called it from the start. One thing I noticed from the beginning of the story was that Hercules was hell bent on blaming Jesus for the death of Zeus when it was in fact Maria who killed Zeus due to her lack of faith. Nick Marino all but confirmed this to me on Twitter when he mentioned that I was the only reviewer to point out that Hercules was mistaken in his belief. Score one for me! (As a married man you learn to take victories whenever you can.)

One other thing I liked as well was the fact that they never outright killed Hercules. Too often in comic book movies or just plain comic books today, they have these elaborate deaths for the villain of the story without putting much thought into what story elements you’re taking off the table once you kill them. Christopher Nolan did great with this in The Dark Knight. It’s not my favorite Batman movie and not my favorite version of The Joker by any means but at the very end, instead of having some elaborate death for The Joker, The Joker is simply captured leaving room for his reappearance in future films. Obviously those films won’t happen since Nolan decided to make it just a trilogy but I think you get my point.

Hercules was a pretty monumental threat here. For him to be taken out permanently in the story would be just plain wrong for all the buildup he’s been given. The story ideas of what could be done with him in future issues are pretty much limitless. What if he were able to wrangle the other gods who fled Zeus for a last stand against Jesus and Satan?

Satan has a baby and it’s a boy. I don’t know where they’re registered but this was the feel good moment in the story. For the silliness we’ve encountered so far, I still felt a connection to the characters that once everything wrapped up in their favor, it was great to see Jesus and Satan have that moment with their new son Rad. I don’t know how in the hell Satan got pregnant or was able to give birth being a man and all but hell, it was great to see them grow together as a couple.

Bottom Line:

So ends another Holy F*cked series. This series was pretty much straight on action from the get go. The other story was similar in a lot of ways but did add in the great bit about faith. This was the Chuck Norris ass kicking story with no pretense of being anything else and it is great for being it. What I encourage everyone to do is buy this comic. There are seeds here for a dive into a funny world that can only be explored if sales of these comics demand it. If you like goofy comedy that’s well written and comes with amazing art work, this is the comic for you.

One thing I’ve discovered since I’ve started this little journey is the fact that the general public’s perception of comics is really quite love. If it doesn’t have a Marvel or DC logo on it, then it must not exist. Yet we see television shows and movies coming out each year based on comic books that most people would not assume were originally comics. While I agree with Steven Speilberg about comic book movies having an expiration date at some point, when you factor in the idea that comic books have no set genre, you really have to question when that date could be. There are autobiographies, history comics, religious comics, romance comics, action comics, comedy comics; any genre you can think of, they make a comic for it. It really is a true American art form that allows folks to, not only with words but pictures, to express any idea that can come to your imagination. An idea like this may not work as a regular book. The artwork really does wonders with the story in showcasing the fact that it is meant to be silly. Holy F*cked is why comic books are so important in our culture. It may not be Les Miserables but it is one hell of a story and deserves your support. (Damn, this sounds like a PBS pledge drive.)

My next reviews:

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Holy F*cked #3

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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

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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

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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.

Holy F*ck Issue 3

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Holy Fuck, I’m still doing this. 54 days in a row. And I have to say the response I’ve been getting, and frankly feeling, has been quite good. I made the right decision doing this. Politics has its place and all but at the end of the day, talking about comics and why I may or may not like them is just damn fun.

One thing I wanted to accomplish with this site was to vary my comic reading. By default I’ve been focusing more on Marvel Comics not because I think Marvel is the greatest comic book company in the world but because I have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. I love Marvel Comics but at the end of the day too much of one thing can make you quite bored with what once entertained you. What has kept things varied has been great services like Comic Blitz. They’re in a lot of ways the Netflix of comics. They’ve brought together a couple well known companies along with a nice group of companies the average person may not heard of. Once such comic company is Action Lab Comics who also produces a mature label called Action Lab Danger Zone.

One comic I discovered was called Holy F*ck. Admittedly, if these types of a la carte services did not exist, if we were back in the 1990’s, this may not have been a comic I would have bought. And frankly that would have been my loss because each issue keeps getting better and better.

One analogy I used for the comics in my earlier reviews was comparing it to a fart joke. I kind of regret that in hindsight. While folks who know me get what I am saying, to the average person that analogy probably comes off as a bit condescending when it really wasn’t. I was referring to the fact that the first two issues were not subtle. At all. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Take Mel Brooks. He has made a lot of funny movies over the years. Even movies like The Producers (the original, not the abortion that was the musical), a movie I didn’t really care for, was funny as hell just for the audience reaction to Springtime for Hitler. Mel, when he made movies so in this case I will use the past tense when describing his work even though he is thankfully quite alive and well, has two ways to make you laugh. He can hit you over the head with his comedy…

…but he could also make you think.

To me, the greatest comedy ever made was Blazing Saddles. Never before, and probably never again, had we had a movie with a very real and serious message dealt with by glorifying the stupidity of the bad people you are supposed to look down on. Mel realized that when dealing with racists, people were going to respond more to laughing at them than they were going to with a movie that dealt with the issue seriously. Yeah, yeah, there have been many great dramas throughout the years that have dealt with racism and have done it beautifully. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of them. But to me, to really show the absurdity of something like racism, you have to show how utterly fucking dumb it is. Because come on, anyone stupid enough to treat someone like dirt just because of the way they look deserves to be laughed at.

For Holy F*ck, I thought this comic fell into the Spaceballs camp of funny. Jokes for the sake of jokes. Turns out I was gladly wrong with that assessment. After Jesus saves the nun, he escapes with her and Satan to the desert. There, Jesus and Satan give up. The nun verbally slaps them both into place by telling Jesus that she refuses to lie down and take the actions of Isis and Zeus because she will not worship a god out of fear. If she is going to worship a god, it will be out of love.

There was the deeper meaning I was looking for in the first couple issues! It’s a simple moment, going by quickly, but it takes a story that is silly but funny and makes it a story about why people of faith do the shit they do sometimes. Whether you believe in a deity or not is besides the point, people with faith have done amazing things because they felt that the love for their deity was worth everything they were going through. Take Ghandi. Take Martin Luther King Jr. Take the Dalai Lama. Those are three famous names but there are millions more over the centuries who have fought for the public good because of their faith and for the love of their deity. Faith and love can and are powerful mental broadswords that can get you through quite a lot in life.

One other aspect I really enjoyed this issue was Zeus and Isis on the Helen DeGenerate show. It reminded me of Idiocracy, the classic Mike Judge film about the dumbing down of society. The glazed look in the host’s eyes as Zeus and Isis calmly declare their intention to blow up the world and the audience happy they received designer gas masks says a lot about our society today without really having to say anything. We live in some strange times where people are more concerned with being on television than they are about making the world a better place for people to live in.

Oh...yeah.
Oh…yeah.

Bottom Line:

Each issue keeps getting better. What started off as a funny but silly story is quickly turning into something more. While it certainly won’t end with “This Comic has been brought to you by the Watchtower Society!” it is still a great story about the power of faith and love. Following someone, anyone, out of fear may work in the short term but long term you will be overthrown. Just ask Emperor Palpatine! Comics are a true American art form. This comic shows that what comes off as a bit silly can have quite a bit more substance. It doesn’t have to be slathered all over the story like a young kid emptying a syrup bottle on his one pancake he’s having for breakfast. It can be just that right amount of syrup that makes eating a pancake worth it. Cause pancakes alone, unless you cook them with a bag of fucking sugar can taste like crap. I hate pancakes. Bad example. But hopefully you get my point. I strongly encourage you to read this comic. Apart from Ms. Marvel, Holy F*ck is one of my favorite comics around today. Thanks to Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa for making the series, Action Lab Danger Zone for publishing it, and Comic Blitz for adding it to their collection for me to find. Marvel and DC are great companies. They would just never touch a story like this with a ten foot pole. In the end, it would be their loss because this is fucking amazing.