asymmetrical's Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #63 - The She-Wolf of Salem review

Greeting an Old Acquaintance

For all those who have been anxiously awaiting a review on this series after my twenty issue or so hiatus and a few years of maturing (not just in hormonal balances but I'd like to think intellectually and in comic exposure/preference as well), then be awed for I have decided to waddle out of retirement to dust off a series I used to defend like nobody's business...where is it now you ask, let me tell you. Oh and just so you know I stopped reading (even though I said I tried my best to never drop a series until I saw it through until its end) but I still figured out the general idea of what I missed, the series is definitely a different style then it used to be when I loved it.
The Story: It was alright, that's all I can say. Nothing even slightly phenomenal, it was the basic new character enters while hero on patrol, new person has their own agenda in a fight with another new character but our hero can't figure out who's the good girl in the situation. Then of course an "epic" fight ensues and I won't spoil who wins but the ending had no "To Be Continued..." and the upcoming issue doesn't look like it continues from this story for which reason I have to say that this had possibly the most dreadful cliffhanger I have ever come across...seriously...introduce a new character and just drop them in the midst of all the stuff going on with them? Now it's possible subsequent issues will solve this atrocious ending but it doesn't look hopeful.
The Art: Of course we all know nobody reads this for the story, its the art you worry about. If that's all your concerned for you'll love this, I honestly think Jim Balent is a talented artist. Some will argue he doesn't draw the female figure realistically but art is rarely realistic. At least it looks beautiful. One thing I always find strange is Skeleton Man's kicks though, maybe he's just that flexible?
Nudity: Yes, there was some. Too much? Not enough? I think it was a decent amount, if you're into naked women with werewolf heads and dead corpses getting raped anyway. The featured character was more pin-up then straight up porn. Of course one thing you have to understand is this is a common Tarot gimmick, modeling a character after a real person and then doing them in poses. What's the point I have to wonder since in a case like this, the model has a website full of her doing poses. Also, another thing I always felt was wrong with Tarot nudity is that they never show penis. No I'm not gay but any major publisher is willing to show a boob...but show any more and you're expected to go full-out porno but as far as I know, Jim has never drawn the male gonads. However he's all about boobs and vaginas...and it's always so non-chalant...then again I get the idea women being naked or "skyclad" is actually a key part of the religion this comic tries to endorse.
Humor: None. Very dull, which was disappointing since some of my favorite issues worked because they were funny (Cold Spell and No Rest for the Witchy being prime examples). Yes there was a little joke between Boo and Tarot at the very end of the issue but nothing memorable.
Extras: Idk, I've always skimmed over the extras but there's usually a letter about the last issue, an instructional tutorial over how to perform some spell from an actual Wiccan I believe (though I'm a little ignorant on that side of it). But maybe some people enjoy those things.
In conclusion, the fact that this comic has thousands of issues sold a month (over 8000 last issue) is actually quite saddening...that means in sales it did better then several of my favorites and various other indie books even though this is nothing more then no, don't read this...but some of the old stuff I might pick up in trade if you have some interest in what this series was like at its highest point (IMO).

7 Comments Refresh
Posted by Silkcuts

The more I research this book, the less I want to read it.
Thanks for all the tips

Posted by Dark Noldor

I stopped at issue # 62

Posted by Asymmetrical
@Silkcuts: it's just been going on a steady downhill in quality...Jim Balent originally had to establish a story, now that he has that...he can forget about the writing and just work on the art
@Dark Noldor: good man, people need to stop supporting this comic as it is so that it can go back to good writing and art
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

This is softcore porn, plain and simple.

Edited by Asymmetrical
@Emperor Gonzo Noir: yeah, but there is such a thing as good softcore porn...example... Codename: Knockout
Posted by Dark Noldor
@aztek the lost:  I´ve bought all the TPB (#s 3 to 8); couldn´t find #s 1 and 2, except on Amazon at a skyrocket price; I´ve really liked reading this, it used to be an amusing series, now it´s a little boring
Posted by IanBland

Speaking as one who draws porn, complete with gonads, for a living, I think Tarot's just stuck in that rut (ooer missus) that all softcore is stuck in, of trying to be porny but stay "acceptable". Softcore only exists because we live in a puritan influenced society, so there's this idea that sex gets more evil the more explicit it is. The strange result- and we saw this very clearly in Britain with the absolute ban on hardcore movies- is that softcore ends up more sexist than hardcore, because all you can focus on is posed women, posing and posing and posing. It all ends up kind of dishonest and very "objectified".

Not that I mind objectifying people in the right context. Naked bodies are great, female and male. With softcore though it's all female, all the tme.

Pity really because the male bits are a great artistic subject, that can add a lot of drama. No, really. The vagina's a bit of a problem because it's not so visual, tucked away kind of thing, unless you shove it right at the camera.

Anyway, I find Tarot quite nice to look at but not too involving. Because it really needs to be hardcore, or at least have naked blokes in it. As it is, half the time it ends up so posed it's virtually fumetti, especially as Balent is noticably doing a Greg Land with many of the faces these days.

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