That’s it, i’m done. No more animations for a while.
The scariest part is i thought this would look more grotesque, but the more frames i drew the more i realized i’ve seen every frame in a comic book, video game, anime or promo art (not even counting fanart) before. It’s almost too familiar to be grotesque, blugh.
If anyone wants to add more moves to her set go ahead. I suggest favorites such as the centaur woman butt bump, or the inexplicable crotch shot split kick :P
We open with backstory, narrated by the title character, Tarot. Tarot informs us that, long ago during the Burning Times, witches created two books filled with spells. One book contained destruction magic and was forbidden for use. Tarot’s sister, Raven Hex, has stolen the forbidden book and plans to use it to Take Over The World, believing that if witches rule the world, no persecution of witches can ever take place again.
Tarot explains that she has tried to locate her sister using tarot cards, but cannot find her, but that she has seen a Mysterious Dark Warrior. She states that she needs her magic armour, which protects her from curses, to fight her sister. And then we get to see a whole page of Tarot changing into her “armour”.
That’s it. Her armour is a thong, bustier, gloves and thigh-high spike heeled boots. Note especially, that the spike heeled boots are in ballerina fetish style, with the toes forced into a point so the wear needs to stand on the very tips.
The art style on this page is fairly standard for most of the comic. Panels don’t follow any sort of narrative style most of the time - you don’t have individual moments from a scene put together in any way that flows or suggests action or the passage of time from one panel to the next. Instead, you get one main image taking most of the page, usually of the main character or someone similar posing, with little snapshots around them in a cloud. Your attention is always drawn towards the main image of the character. Here, I’ve put the first few pages of Tarot #1 together to show you what I mean.
Now, admittedly these first five pages serve as our introduction to the World of Tarot, and to the plot, and are entirely narrated by Tarot. But there is still no clear flow across any one page, and no flow from one page to the next. So far, the comic looks like what you’d get if you sat down a talented keen boob-obsessed teenager, got him to draw five entirely random “cool pictures” and then got him to stick a load of extra doodles around them.
Take note of the outfit Tarot wears in pages three and four, as well. That’s the most clothing you’ll see her in for the rest of the comic.
After one more panel in which we get a single “cool boobie picture” of Tarot standing, legs akimbo, in her full costume in front of a bunch of curtains, we cut away briefly to a new scene, and we get some pages with slightly more narrative flow to them. In this scene, which lasts for three pages, a pair of what are presumably teens are smashing pumpkins in someone’s garden, before getting chased away and then captured by a spooky looking pumpkin man.
And we also get to find out why most of the comic is drawn in carefully-arranged poses, and why the female characters are made to look pretty by means of a very small number of specific, sexy-type facial expressions. Here’s the artist’s idea of a teenage boy drawn without an attempt to make him pose.
This might also explain why the main male character wears a half mask, make-up and eye contacts.
Another one-page cut back to Tarot to see her stare at a sword while monologuing for a moment, and we finally get to meet her sister. Raven Hex. This is where the narration takes a turn for the naratively terrible.
See, up until this point, the narration has all been from Tarot’s POV. We know she isn’t aware of what’s going on in this next scene, so it makes sense that we wouldn’t be in her POV any more. But we’re not in Raven’s, either. Every once in a while the narration jumps out to relocate somewhere around the genitals of the artist. Here’s what I mean. This is exactly as written over the next two pages. Nothing has changed.
Her voice hisses through the darkness. Seductive, deadly. The boys are transfixed by her presence, held fast by a bewitching cold. Her skeletal tattoo seems to slither and slide over every curve of her body… conflicting emotions of terror and lust swirl about her as she stands over the quivering two.
Note how the narration tells us precisely nothing of any interest or relevance about the scene. Raven Hex is speaking during these pages, and only one of them is a random “cool booby picture”, with the other having actual narrative flow from one panel to the next, so we don’t actually need any narration at all. The narration in these pages serves one purpose, and one purpose only. To remind you that your attention should be on Raven’s body, on finding her titillating.
Here’s Raven in this scene, by the way.
Now, I’m confused. Tarot’s bikini armour was described as having markings on it that protect her from curses - presumably, once could justify the lack of coverage by pointing out that the important thing about the outfit was the markings on it. But Raven’s outfit doesn’t have any protective markings at all, aside from the inverted pentagrams on her erm… pasties. At least her nipples are curse-proof!
Having chains hanging from your belly button doesn’t seem like a very sensible move. Imagine if one of the “boys” she’s terrorising grabbed it and yanked on it. Ouch!
The next ten pages of this twenty-nine page comic take place in a cemetery, where we’re introduced to the only male main character, John. John is the groundkeeper of the cemetery, can see and communicate with the dead and works to protect them from grave-robbers and other unsavoury types. John interrupts a group of grave robbers attempting to exhume the remains of conjoined twin sisters. John scares the grave-robbers with his costume, and also sicks his ghost dog on them. Then follows a fight scene.
Just when John thinks he’s succeeded, the pumpkin monsters from earlier show up to steal the remains he’s trying to protect. Fortunately, Tarot shows up to save the day! And the narration takes another turn for the horny-and-frustrated.
A “witch of the black rose”. His gaze lingers on her bewitching beauty… her spinning body and whirling blade, cuts deep into memory and limb.
And so what should be an exciting page - a battle scene where we see Tarot do something other than pose and monologue for the first time in the entire comic, becomes all about enjoying how sexy she looks prancing about with her sword in a bikini.
The remaining pages are Tarot and John introducing themselves, sharing a psychic vision that tells them they’re going to bone (pun intended), and the two of them deciding to work together to retrieve the stolen remains and the book of magic mentioned earlier. But I want to focus on the art in the panel above.
One of the biggest issues I have with mainstream comics at the moment is the way cheesecake is used at the expense of the narrative. Now, I don’t have any problem with cheesecake per se. It has it’s place, and when done well can be a lot of fun. But there is a time for cheesecake, and a time for more dynamic action. Take a look up at the image of Tarot erm… leaping… into battle. It took me a moment to work out where her left leg had disappeared to before I realised the fully extended leg was meant to be her left leg, with her right leg, the one closest to us, tucked under her butt. It also took me a moment to realise she isn’t holding the sword with both hands. That’s part of her mask.
Let’s breakdown the pose overall, shall we?
For a start, Tarot is fighting the pumpkin monsters, but she’s flying past them and isn’t looking at them at all. Her arched back is actually not that unreasonable as a pose, but it gives the impression she’s flying upwards while the rest of her body suggests she’s leaping forwards. Her left calf is twice as long as her right calf, and her right knee is dislocated. Tarot’s neck is offset on her shoulders, meaning it can’t connect to where her spine should be, based on the positioning of her chest and her arms are incredibly short, speaking even as someone who has unnaturally short arms herself. She’s only holding the sword with one hand, and the other isn’t doing anything of use - not shielding her from attack or preparing any sort of magic attack, just floating out there all pretty like. Her left thigh is so wide where it disappears behind her right leg that there is no way it could fit to her hip without bulging back in alarmingly. Presumably Tarot has wicked water retention in that leg.
This pose has one purpose, and only one purpose. It’s a standalone sketch of a pretty girl that was probably drawn on blank paper before any of the rest of the page was added in, and without the scene it forms part of having been thought through at all. I’d love to see an Eschergirl redraw of this, to be honest.
So that’s Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose #1. The pages have little narrative flow to them, focusing almost entirely on making a single cheesecake sketch look as good as possible, and when the art attempts to show characters in action they’re ugly as sin and terribly drawn. The art ignores basic anatomy, physics and doesn’t show a “sexual” character but a “sexualised” character. The same character with the same idealised, busty physique could easily be drawn in reasonably realistic poses and that alone would make a lot of difference, if the intent truly was to show an idealised but sympathetic character. But that isn’t what’s going on, as the narrator clearly shows by focusing so much on how damn sexy the main characters are. The art fails to flow and the reader’s eye is either all over the damn place or focused right at those boobies. To say nothing of the fact that of the two female characters we’ve been introduced to, both have identical figures and faces, differentiated merely by slightly different colouring. I hesitate to say they have notably different costumes, since the costumes add so little to the shape and form of the characters for fear of hiding even so much as an inch of their sexy, sexy curves. The artist could stand to learn a thing or two from Aaron Diaz’s talk on silhouettes.
Of course, this is only the first issue. Possibly the cheesecake and the sexy narration is a little over-the-top in this issue, to draw in readers. Perhaps the next issue will be better.
Next, I’ll be reviewing Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose #2.
My coworkers think eschergirls is really amusing, i showed them this one today and much fun was had. First is just a “seeing this from other side” draw over, which is super horrifying, then two different fixes from us of the original which are both equally if not more hot than the original? But way less broken? Then the last one was just a natural progression my coworker made of where the original drawing must have been going :U
New Avengers #14. We don’t get much of teen heroes this issue, just few pages with Ava and few with Victor. Victor gets to rescue Songbird with Cannonball and Doctor Positron, who is back to behing as hilariously campy as in his first apperrance. Victor gets to shine when he draws power from history of old SHIELD helicarrier and literally channells classic Nick Fury to kick some asses. Ava gets setup for her rematch with Angela. And damn me if her lines here aren’t pretty badass. Awesome page, awesome moment, but goddammit, artist fucked up Ava’s body on that 3rd panel. It looks like something I should be submitting to @eschergirls .