(And now, a short remembrance--Chris Sims, a far funnier person than I will ever be, has made a career, more or less out of mocking, mercilessly and brutally, Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, Jim Balent's shining, towering vision of a world of big-hootered witches in increasingly ever-more-perverse adventures. Proving I too, had the poor judgment to read books like that back in the day, re-presented here for your Saturday viewing pleasure from 2006 is my review of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #11)
"I'm a horrible person for posting this, and will surely got to Hell for it. Behind the cut something not safe for work, Wiccans, dilaup, the young, the old, the doomed, the silly, the world in general, my friends in specific, or the moderately sane. Yes, it's here, I'm done threatening--it's Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, and oh my God it's terrible."
NOTE: I'm not usually this crude when referring to women's breasts as I am in the following article.
The material seems to demand it, however.
You know, I've mentioned some horrific comics here in this very LJ, but none have really prepared us for this moment, this hateful awful, godawful moment.
Yes, I'm talking about Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #11.
What's so terrible about this one, you ask? Well, for that, I need to delve into a little about the creator of this magnificent octopus, Jim Balent:
Jim Balent has been working in comics for quite awhile now, and in that time he's developed a certain and very blatant thrust *ahem*) to his artistry--he likes to draw women with big tits. Not a full bust, not a blessed endowment, I mean women with chesticles so big their spines would telescope if they were real people.
He made his bones, as it were, by drawing Lady Death and Vampirella for awhile (both books for people who like big-titted woman, but might be old enough to actually buy porn at the time) and drew about 8 zillion issues of Catwoman for a rather long stretch (he was actually the most consistent thing on that book--oh yes, and she had a massively threatening bustline then) The short explanation is this--Tits are this man's life, in ways gynecologists and plastic surgeon's can only dream of.
After that he decided to write draw and publish his own book. Tarot. And on that day the world changed, and not for the better.
Concurrently with this, Alan Moore is publish his big comic treatise on magic, Promethea. Night and day from Tarot, Prometheta is an almost scholarly work, featuring exhaustive research on magic and wild experimentation with the comic form.
Early on, one issue of Promethea was created as one long sustained panel, mapping the history of the world against the major arcana of the Tarot deck. Whatever you think of magic, Tarot, Promethea, or Alan "Looney Tunes" Moore--you can fault them for ambition.
Not to be outdone and not long after Tarot does a similar run-through of it. And guess what the overriding concept of that was?
Yeah, you guessed it, it's all about the major arcana of the Tarot deciding that Tarot has some huge fucking boobs.
Oh it's occasionally dressed up as the avatars of the major arcana giving her bits of wisdom (or rather gently suggesting to the tart to put some goddamn clothes on already) but even that is done in ways not unlike the following brain-melting snippet.
Subtle enough for you?
Imagine 22 pages of this, then just grab something heavy and bash yourself in the head with it 22 times. It'd be less painful than trying to comprehend this.
This issue's big crisis, is of course, when she encounters the avatar of the Devil Card. Now, as in every other damn time the devil shows up in comics, it's purpose is to tempt our hero or heroine to the dark side.
Well how to do that, you ask? Not with lies or deceptions--shit, not in this book, Steve.
The Devil decides to tempt our comely heroine by 1) undressing her and 2) dropping some demon thing down her panties.
I'll let that sink in.
Yeah, I know, had Milton dropped that into Paradise Regained it would put a whole new spin on a lotta shit, wouldn't it?
Anyways, in what's supposed to be (*snicker*) a big inspirational moment, Tarot declares herself not to be ruled by her desires.
BY STANDING ON THE DEVIL'S NIPPLE AND YELLING AT HER.
The genius of Jim Balent, people. Soak. It. In.
You may have noticed in the midst of all this mockery I haven't made reference to much of an outside plot or cracked that many jokes. The former is because there really isn't one (or there is, but I'm blocking it out and I'm too tired of staring at enormous breasts to run over and look) and the second because this book is goddamn mockery-proof and can really only be experienced as this weird-ass gonzo thing that exists in defiance of all logic and/or common sense. If what little I've shown you here teaches you anything, it better be that.
I haven't even touched on the stuff in the back which is even more entertaining than the main story and at least twice as apeshit-crazy.
And I'm not the only one who thinks so! Courtesy of the far-funnier-than-I-am Chris Sims of the ISB:
"So, to review: In the mad world of Jim Balent, it's okay to show people having sex and other people having their intestines ripped out, but you can't actually say "fuck" or "shit." And that, my friends, is bat-sh*t f**king insane."
Preach it, brother, preach it.