Yesterday may have seen the release of Grant Morrison's "Batman and Robin" and Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon's "Punisher," but the new comic release we've
been looking forward to the most was the "Female Force" biography of "Twilight" creator Stephenie Meyer!
We've been excited about this one since we saw the trailer for the motion comic
last week, and now that it's out, we've forced -- er, asked ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Sim
s to give us his review of the shameless cash-grab series and its latest attempt to stay only one step behind the cultural zeitgeist!
When you're doing a biography of Stephenie Meyer, you're going to run into a problem right off the bat, namely the fact that Stephanie Meyer is really f--king boring.
Really, we're not even trying to dis Meyer here, but the fact of the matter is that she just hasn't done a whole lot. She never sailed down the Mississippi like Mark Twain, she never married a complete lunatic like F. Scott Fitzgerald did, heck, she never even did a ton of coke and got run over by a van like Stephen King. We can sum up her entire life in twenty words. Watch:
"Stephenie Meyer grew up in the Southwest, got married, had kids, wrote some books about vampires and got rich. Batman."
We threw "Batman" in there to make it more exciting.
That is the sum total of information provided by this comic, and yet Bluewater and writer Ryan Burton have given us an issue that is twenty-eight pages long
. So how do they pad out the rest of it?
They put Dracula in it.
Now, we at ComicsAlliance are pretty big fans of the Everything Is Better With Dracula
school of thought, but this just seems weird
. To be fair, he's not actually called
Dracula, and while the monocle and widow's peak combination is more reminiscent of Count von Count
, as he's later shown with framed pictures of Max Schreck as Count Orlock and Vlad the Impaler, it's pretty clear what the implication is, and it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Of course, this is the only one of the "Female Force" comics that we've read, so who knows? Maybe this is a recurring theme. Maybe the one about Princess Diana was hosted by the Wolf-Man. "She was very active in campaigning against land mines! ARROOOOOO!!
Two other things are notable about Fake Dracula: One, he has superpowers -- he can light a candle just by touching it -- which makes him the most exciting person in this comic by default, and two, he has a big ol' book about Stephenie Meyer:
We're not Melvil Dewey or anything, but we're pretty sure that qualifies as a tome
. And god knows how they managed to fill it up.
Anyway, after an introductory shot of a wolf going "auow," a noise which nothing has ever made ever but which we think is supposed to be a howl, it's time to get down to the business of an extremely poorly drawn comic.
The art in this book is atrocious
. It's a shame, because as you can tell from the panels above, artist Dave MacNeil is capable of if not great, at least decent work, and we assume one of two things happened that led to his sub-DeviantArt quality stuff here: Either this became a rush job to get it on shelves before "New Moon" hit theaters, or he hit pages with descriptions like:
Draw two literal topographic maps of Arizona. Make sure to put an inset panel of someone writing Stephenie Meyer's name so that we can talk about how it's spelled weird.
...and just stopped giving a damn.
Seriously, what the hell is this?
Apparently Meyer went to school at Pablo Picasso High, home of the Fightin' Cubists!
And that's not an isolated incident, either. The entire book is slipshod and seems barely edited, like a scene of Meyer's romance with her future husband, whose name is misspelled at least once as "Chirstian," where they're shown hanging out...
...at their local dinner
But the awfulness doesn't all come from MacNeil, as Burton manages to write sentences so ham-handed that they come in a package from Hillshire Farms:
"It seemed as though every other girl was... different. Or, perhaps, she was the one who was different."
"The perfect setting -- the perfect backdrop -- for us vampires. Not too much sun, just enough shadow... surrounded by forest, rainy... and out of way... Paradise. Vampire territory."
And our personal favorite:
"From there, it only took nine months from 'hello' to 'I do'. Stephenie was 21 when she married Chirstian
[sic]... also known as 'Pancho.'"
Thanks to the Midnight Movie Dracula voice that Burton has foisted on his narration, that last one comes off not as compelling narrative, but more like Robert Stack giving a woman's last known whereabouts on an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries," right before he advises you to call in with any information you might have about a man named Pancho.
It's when art and writing come together, though, that this thing achieves the absolute peak of its awfulness. As we said, Meyer's life itself doesn't have much going on, so in order to spice things up, Burton and MacNeil engage in absolutely shameless techniques at padding things out. In the absence of anything magical -- what with this being a biography about a writer of fiction -- they turn to a tenuous link to palmistry, actually drawing the state of Utah on her hand
...in a five-panel sequence that takes up an entire page
Shortly after that, there's a break where Fake Dracula eats a spider. Why Fake Dracula is eating a spider, we have no idea, but that's three pages that Burton didn't have to worry about trying to fill with the actual biography that people are ostensibly paying for, and he manages to rack up another four recapping the dream Meyer had that was the basis for "Twilight."
Which means that this is a dream that has already had both a book and
a movie made about it, both of which have been experienced by the comic's target audience already. Although to be fair, we're assuming that the comic is unique in adding Meyer herself creepily leering at teenagers while they make out in the woods:
Eventually things start to wind down, and after a hilarious montage representing the booming popularity of "Twilight" that includes these two monstrosities...
...we finally find out why Fake Dracula's been narrating the story. In what is the most mind-shattering cliche that he could've possibly pulled out, Burton reveals that "Twilight" is just part of the sinister vampire master plan to make people love vampires! For the monsters... are reeeeeeeaaaaaallllll!!!!!
Sure, Stephenie. Write more. Knock yourself out.
, Burton? I think we've had enough of you.
Elsewhere on the Web:
Rejected Mortal Kombat Fatalities
Expelled Over a Miniskirt
13 Bizarre Comics & Cartoons
(I Am Bored)