Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, June 23, 2007


I would like it to be known that I have a fairly strong stomach when it comes to graphic imagery.

I used to read MPD Psycho (and similar series) regularly after all, back when my Japanese was actually competent enough to have some vague idea what was going on.

In fact, I read that before I ever got into superhero comics, which probably does explain a lot about my own attitudes. I mean, compared to say when the lead character opens that cooler, Alexandra in the fridge was surprisingly tasteful.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that was my initial reaction. "Wow, that's more tasteful than I'd expected."

I'm possibly a little twisted. I admit this. I only bring it up for one reason.

Mallet's got a scan up from a comic I have never read and will never read.

The cooler scene in MPD Psycho didn't phase me. Women in bondage gear, skulls open being used as plant pots didn't give me pause.

I'm not sure why, but this scene (Both Not Work Safe) almost made me ill.

I don't know what it is. I've read my Bathory. I've seen worse. Just...

It might just be that at the toy store I tend to use the box crusher.

Way to freak me out before the last day of work, Witchblade manga. Thanks muchly.


  • At June 23, 2007 4:13 AM, Blogger Dorian said…

    I think the violence in something like MPD Psycho works because it's presented so coldly and analytically it's easy to view it dispassionately, while also emphasizing that we're seeing something horrible. That Witchblade sequence seems so over the top I'm almost hoping that it plays like some sort of dark joke in context. I hope that's the case, because that's the only way I can stomach the idea of anyone at Image/Top Cow finding that image appropriate to publish. I'm hoping, because the fan service nature of all the other shots I've seen of the series have suggested that it's just pandering.

    And now I'm wondering how long it'll be before we see a defense of those images on the grounds that "it's good enough for Japan."

  • At June 23, 2007 4:38 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    A dark joke in context would possibly save it.

    All I know is I have NO interest in seeing the context one way or another.

    And I'm gonna make my co-worker squish the boxes tomorrow.

  • At June 23, 2007 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's that one panel of the woman crying, the very last moment before the inevitable. It's that face that creeps me out the most. It's really awful.

    I don't think that's a fair shot, Dorian. There no doubt may be some small set of defenders (considering the creepy guro genre), but I'm reminded of Scipio's defense of similar gory images in superhero comics, including his big huge running joke of an over-the-top sequence of a woman having her head punched off.

  • At June 23, 2007 4:47 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    JLG: No offense intended, but I think it's a stretch to compare gory superhero comics (including Pantha's unfortunate end) to...that thing.

    At least Pantha died fighting...not like a grape in a wine press.

  • At June 23, 2007 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's true that it's as sadistic as the concept of that godawful grape press in the Witchblade example, but I'd argue it's almost as graphic and just as impersonal. There were more panels given to Pantha's corpse and the gore than her alive - the decapitation, the head and trail of blood, and SBP over the headless, oozing corpse (it's even worse with the Cox novelization, actually describing how wrecked the head was... stupid curiosity). It's not a grape in a press, but I really can't see how Pantha died "fighting," she left herself vulnerable leaping toward SBP, and never even laid a finger on him. She's immediately cut down after insulting him, that's hardly a noble moment.

    But the point of bringing that and Scipio's post was that his defense was that horrible, horrible stuff was just natural to happen to supporting characters as a device for the story and situations. That's why the gore in IC (and that JSA-Nazi scene) was acceptable. The Witchblade example here, I think, is a way to put that defense to the test with a really extreme case.

    I was just trying to argue that superhero comics can't make the claim of being morally superior.

    And I'm also kinda wondering why dark humor would "save" these sorts of things. I mean, I can't lie that I find "Dead Alive" and "Dawn of the Dead" funny. But I'd be hard-pressed to put Witchblade and IC in the same category; finding it funny, I'd think, means it's a failure.

  • At June 23, 2007 5:45 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    She got cut down after at least verbally showing her will and lack of fear. That's a bit different then again, a grape press, to me.

    Honestly though I thought the IC/JSA violence was reasonable because of the manner of the story. They managed to keep it quick mostly and none of the graphically gory deaths involved a naked woman lovingly detailed, crying just before she gets squashed into another woman's bathwater. The implication that this girl was killed in this manner could have been done without being quite so...disgusting.

    If you can't see the difference, we should probably just agree to disagree because further discussion won't go anywhere.

    As for why dark humor will save it, it's simply that this image is so over the top that the only excuse would be parody/satire. It's so ridiculous that if it weren't meant to be funny it would be simply sad...

  • At June 23, 2007 6:11 AM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    GUGH :(

    I should never have clicked on it...


  • At June 23, 2007 8:59 AM, Blogger Greg Sanders said…

    Definitely eww. I think for the future I will take it on faith that anything you find disturbing is genuinely disturbing.

  • At June 23, 2007 10:29 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Yeah, it's pretty disgusting. I'm sooooo glad that I don't read Witchblade.

    Grape in a press? For some reason, I was thinking blender, which is just as revolting.

  • At June 23, 2007 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, my first reaction was, "Thats a woman. She's... She's being juiced into a giant gravey boat... Blerg." That last sound is me choking up a little on my own vomit. It's actually worse in the comic because theirs a couple pages where she's just sitting their and they start lowering the thing down.

    Yeah, like I said, I read bad comics all the time, but not even I was prepaired for the level this one went to.

  • At June 24, 2007 5:27 AM, Blogger Nenena said…

    "Elizabeth Bathory" was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that, too.

    I've also read worse. I've read way worse violence against women. But that image was still so profoundly disturbing... Because of what JLG said. It's the woman's helpless face and her little "Oh, oh" whimperings that gave me nightmares last night.

  • At June 26, 2007 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know the post is kinda old but:

    "A dark joke in context would possibly save it."

    Yeah, I'm calling bullshit on that one, is preferable to have a horrific act presented as something terrible and disturbing than as something funny


    Because murder jokes are just as bad as rape jokes; if you're gonna talk about something terrible, present it that way, not as something to be amused by

  • At June 26, 2007 8:08 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    (I had a different response up, but this suited me more.)

    Because murder jokes are just as bad as rape jokes; if you're gonna talk about something terrible, present it that way, not as something to be amused by

    I'm calling bullshit on THAT.

    Comedy and tragedy are unalterably linked. And humor is a well known coping mechanism for things that have become too much for a person to handle.

    It may be in bad taste, but many people have morbid senses of humor for a reason. And there's a reason humor plays a big role in most successful horror movies.

    Murder IS terrible. But honestly. This isn't a serious treatment of murder. This is a HUMAN JUICE PRESS. It's too ridiculous to mean anything. If it's not MEANT to be a joke, it's a failure.

  • At June 27, 2007 1:41 AM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    Indeed. Insisting that you take this seriously god dammit gives it power.

    The Witchblade manga... while I found the first couple issues amusing in a sort of softcore porn way, it really seemed like it was edging toward the creepy. Guess so. x.x


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