- Posted by Johanna on February 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm
- Category: Indy Comic Reviews
- CREDITS: story by Mike Bullock; pencils and inks by Jose Massaroli
- PUBLISHER: Moonstone; $2.99 US
I had a chance to read an advance online copy of Moonstone’s Savage Beauty, a “jungle girl” comic that’s gotten some discussion about its use of what some perceive as racial stereotypes. The most prominent is a busty black woman in a leopard-skin bikini, as shown on the cover of issue #1.
Unfortunately, what I saw convinced me that this wasn’t a comic I’d be interested in following. The writing is ham-handed and full of clichés. The bad guy, for example, is shown twice raping little girls, as though being a murderous dictator and shooting people dead in front of their families wasn’t enough to make us hate him. Thankfully, at least, we aren’t actually shown the act, just the slime unbuckling his pants while staring at the child and then a “Noooooooo!” sound effect.
If this was a superhero comic these days, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more shown. But while the visuals demonstrate some discretion, the story is nowhere near as subtle. I’m not sure why this particular characteristic had to be shown at all, let alone revisited. If it was to make us hate him, it worked, leaving me thinking that the punishment he gets is far too light — which also made it unsatisfying. The bad guys don’t get the justice they deserve.
The two lead women are drawn in typical comic-style sexy fashion, wearing skimpy clothes to show off their big breasts, even while on a job in the African savannah. Lacy, the blonde, tells us what’s happening and makes salacious remarks while her sister Liv fusses at her for flirting too much. Lacy is portrayed as something of a sex-crazed birdbrain, while the dark Liv doesn’t say or do much of anything on her own. Worst example, one that made my teeth clench at its patronizing tone: “For someone who was born in Africa, you sure don’t understand the food chain, Liv.” Lacy talks to their boss, and Lacy is the one shown doing most of the fighting against the soldiers. The scene shown on the cover, where Liv rescues her captured sister, is nowhere in the book. Instead, the visiting American girls save native women and children.
In addition to this story, there’s a one-page text justification of liking jungle girl heroes, followed by a 10-page “white woman in the jungle” comic reprint. For a change, Camilla wears zebra-skin for her skimpy bikini, instead of leopard or cheetah. Savage Beauty is a boys’ fantasy comic, for white guys looking for some armchair adventure. Anyone interested in a serious explanation of the problems facing Africa and its inhabitants today … well, they wouldn’t be looking here in the first place, would they?