Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #1
March 30, 2009
Kind of self-explanatory, isn't it?
Linkara: (seated on his Futon) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, Women's History Month is almost over. While "Amazons Attack" represents the most recent screw-up of a popular superheroine, people have been screwing up superheroines for years. Now, I've already talked about black and white comics from my "Sinnamon #11" review, but let's look at a now-defunct publisher of such material.
(Cut to a montage of comic book covers by said publisher: Solson Publications)
Linkara (v/o): Solson Publications was a comic company from the '80s and had such stellar titles as "Codename: Assassin", "Reagan's Raiders", "Daffy Qaddafi", and other various comics of similar depth. It was born out of the growing popularity of black and white comics in the direct sales market. The former president of Solson Comics, Gary Brodsky, deserves the most scorn, though. He is scum. He is John Norman level of scum. While it would be one thing to simply approve of this book, cheesecake for the sake of cheesecake exists even in Marvel, but what is the good Mr. Brodsky up to these days?
(Another montage shows up, this one of books by Gary Brodsky)
Linkara (v/o): Here is a selection of book titles from his site: "How to Dominate Women", "The Castration of the American Male", "Dogs Are Like Men, Cats Are Like Women", "How to Use Black Magic to Get Women", "Get Any Woman To Do Anything". Are we seeing a pattern here? The man is a misogynistic pile of crap, and I don't feel any shame in calling him that. Now, I'm a capitalist, so he's free to publish whatever the hell he wants. But on that same note, I'm free to criticize the hell out of him for doing so.
Linkara: But enough about his more recent material. Instead, let's see where his incredible genius when it comes to women came from. So, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #1".
(Cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): What I love about this cover is that they shifted the logo for the book down so they could give top credit to the, quote-unquote, "creators" of this thing. You've gotta love how lazy the font is, too.
(Shots of Superman and Nightwing comics are shown, with their names in their respective fonts)
Linkara (v/o): I mean, screw the Superman logo or the classic Nightwing design for artistic creativity. No, you just need a friggin' Arial font, and red and green words centered and piled on top of each other. As for the cover itself, we have our four protagonists, who are apparently sultry, teenage, super and foxes. (looks closely at one woman in particular, a redhead) I suspect that one woman's hair on the left is a fox, but I'm not seeing it with the others. (another woman has her back turned to the reader) Um, Cindy, the comic's the other way; could you turn around? Anyway, all of their outfits are basically bathing suits, two of which have boob holes cut out of them. And the woman in green has her nipples poking through. Yeah, underage nipples; it really endears us to the comic right away. And before anyone cries out that these kind of outfits "distract the enemy", allow me to point out the fact that any villain worth their money isn't going to give a rat's ass if they're in body armor, much less these outfits. They're going to be running like hell and shooting back at whoever's pursuing them, because they DON'T WANT TO GET CAUGHT! They'll shoot at a superhero, whether she's starkers or fully covered, because they'll know what'll happen if they don't! (the comic opens to the first page) We open our story on an Air Force base where four women are waving goodbye to a group of pilots in their jets. The narration caption begins...
Narrator: July. It means summer heat and clear blue skies here at Rutgers Air Force Base.
Linkara: (as narrator) August, on the other hand, means a filthy obscenity. And don't even get me started on what September means.
Narrator: To Jasmine, Sheena, Amelia and Candy it means vacation–away from boarding school... and here on base, where their fathers work year round for Uncle Sam. Oh! It also means pilot watching.
Linkara (v/o): Wait, their fathers work as pilots, and these girls watch them? If it's in an "Oh, my God, they're hot" fashion, then ewwww! The narrator continues...
Narrator: July is spent gazing at dreamily at the cream of American manhood.
Linkara: (looking disgusted) Okay, don't say "cream" or "manhood" ever again, okay?
Narrator: Today, alas, the girls are watching the pilots leave base on a five day mission. Five days is a long time in July–with no pilots around especially!
Linkara: Yeah, I can remember back when I was a kid, and I just kicked myself in July, because there were no pilots around to watch.
Linkara (v/o): And already we see a problem with a lot of black and white books. Now, in some black and white books...
(Cut briefly to a...)
Linkara (v/o): Cover Revolution of the Mask!
(Cut back to "Super-Foxes")
Linkara (v/o): ...an artist is talented enough to develop different features, face shapes and the like to distinguish their characters from each other. But in a book like "Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes", we get characters who all have the same face, but with different hairstyles. So, forgive me if I make up names for them. In any case, girl with hair from Thundercats [Amelia] sighs and proclaims she misses one of the guys already. '80s Hair [Jasmine] rolls her eyes and says...
Jasmine: That is so high school! And you look like someone who just shot your poodle! Play hard to get– for a change.
Linkara: Hey, kids, let's play a game and count how many times these girls have a conversation and they talk about men instead of, you know, any other aspect of their lives.
Sheena: I thought we were in high school, Jasmine.
Linkara (v/o): Ah, yes, nothing says high school quite like women who look like they're in their mid-20s. Two of the women wave at the mechanics nearby, and Thundercats Hair is unimpressed*.
- NOTE: It's actually Jasmine, AKA '80s Hair girl, who is unimpressed.
Jasmine: And just look at you two! Waving at mere mechanics! My God, they're enlisted men!
Linkara: (gasps) What will the girls in baking class think?!
Linkara (v/o): One of the mechanics leers at the women and asks how a guy is supposed to work when the women are so distracting. Oh, I don't know, perhaps by focusing on a task at hand instead of thinking with your other head! An NP stops the women, proclaiming that they're in a restricted area. They manage to sneak away from him and go into a hangar and find a jet that's covered in tarps. I'm sure this was supposed to be foreshadowing, but considering this series didn't live past two issues, I don't think anything ever came of it. When they get out of the hangar, in true sitcom fashion, Black-Haired Lady's father, a general at the base, is suddenly standing right behind her. One remarks humorously...
Jasmine: Yowsa! Yowsa!
Linkara (v/o): Um, okay, yowsa-yowsa to you, too.
Candy: Ha-ha! Sheena, you sound just like your father!
Linkara (v/o): Ohhh, Black-Haired Lady's name is Sheena! Sheena the she-devil. The narrator informs us, quite casually...
Narrator: Oh, well. Looks like they're out of the frying pan...
Linkara: (waving dismissively, humored) Oh, aren't they all just sultry? (laughs) Someone please kill me.
Linkara (v/o): Sheena's father reads her the Riot Act while the other women snicker. When he's finished, Sheena makes a sad puppy-eyes face at him and says...
Sheena: I'm awful sorry, Daddy. I was just showing the girls around. I didn't want to be any trouble...
Linkara (v/o): Yes, ladies, when men aren't lusting after you, you should use your soft, submissive faces to try to calm those raging guys down. This comic just loves to live on the edge! What's particularly stupid about this panel is that the word balloon she's using is dripping down, like she was saying something scary. So any attempt at cute with this panel is just thrown away. The general isn't buying her sad face, but instead of rightfully carting the women down to a less restricted zone and punishing them for trespassing, he instructs her to guide his new aide Barry around the base. Barry, being a complete moron, smacks his head against the car roof as he comes out. The narrator informs us in a new establishing shot that the unimpressive building before them is...
Narrator: The Air Force Advanced Aerial Combat Training Center – the most modern facility of its kind on Earth!
Linkara: On Mercury, though, there's a facility that's even more modern!
Narrator: "C.T.C." for short.
Linkara (v/o): Um, shouldn't that be "A.F.A.A.C.T.C." if that really was its full name? Barry says he'd better get used to living in the area since he's working on Project Valkyrie. When they ask him about it, Barry informs them that Project Valkyrie is...
Barry: A plan to give women advanced aerial training – in case the country should ever need female pilots.
Linkara: Hey, kids, it's time for a history lesson outside of comics! For starters, THERE ALREADY WERE FEMALE PILOTS, YOU JACKASS!!
Linkara (v/o): Now, admittedly, while there were female Air Force pilots at the time this comic was made, women were not allowed to fly in actual combat. They did anyway, and participated in Panama, Grenada and Desert Storm, but combat records excluded them. In 1993, this law was repealed, and women were rightfully allowed to fly combat missions.
Linkara: So now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
(The "More You Know" title appears)
Linkara: (confused) Wait, wait, that was supposed to be the G.I. Joe music!
Offscreen voice: Ah, we'll fix it in post.
Linkara: (looking offscreen) You better! (back to camera) So now, back to our–
(Suddenly, he gets interrupted by the G.I. Joe theme that suddenly plays)
Linkara: (annoyed) A LITTLE LATE FOR IT!
Linkara (v/o): As Barry is shown around the building... and I must ask why civilians are showing him around... one of the women reveals, for no particular reason, that '80s Hair has got a photographic memory.
Linkara (v/o): The women play around with him, taking his I.D. badge and clip it to the back of his jacket. They get away by proclaiming...
Sheena: Oh, gee! Look at the time! We gotta go and, uh... do our homework!
Linkara (v/o): Barry protests that it's July, and another one responds...
Candy: Well, we're sorta slow. We need a real head-start!
Linkara: It's like they're smart, but they're not! (waves dismissively and giggles, then sighs) Somebody please kill me!
Linkara (v/o): Cut to New Orleans, Louisiana, July 14.
(Cut to a clip of the opening of Dragnet: a shot of the city)
Sgt. Joe Friday (v/o): My name's Friday.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The narrator pipes in about the sweltering heat of the city, and that some sections have less tourist attractions than others, showing a street that features signs like "Topless and Bottomless" – and apparently brainless – "French-style entertainment"...
Linkara: "French-style entertainment"?
(Cut to a clip of a man dancing a silly dance to a techno beat, before cutting back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): "Discotheque upstairs"*.
- NOTE: It reads "Discoteque", with no "H".
Linkara: Wow, who knew discotheques were such a hotbed for drugs and prostitution?
Linkara (v/o): We switch to a sign that reads "Madame Rotunda". Oh, that's subtle. And inside, there's a woman with the standard trappings of a palm reader's house: crystal ball, candles on skulls, and incense. Madame Rotunda herself is practicing magic while wearing a ridiculous skull helmet on her head. The narrator exposits that Rotunda's daughter died two years ago, and now she's seeking a way to summon the dead. She finally manages to "pierce the veil", and her spirit rises to... well, I'm really not sure. Rotunda realizes that something has gone wrong, and something explodes out of the building. It appears in the visage of a flaming skull, as the narrator explains...
Narrator: The freed thing bridges the intervening gulfs of inner and outer space...
Linkara (v/o): Wait, she's using magic to go through space? We're looking at aliens here?
Narrator: ...following the silver thread of Madame's spirit... to New Orleans. To Madame.
Linkara (v/o): Is her first name Madame or something? And for some reason that just baffles the mind, the narrator then asks...
Narrator: Mommy, it followed me home. Can I keep it?
Linkara: Oh, no! The writers' having flashbacks back to their childhood! TAKE COVER! (dives for cover)
Linkara (v/o): As Rotunda tries to fight the demon in her head, the demon proclaims that it can give her anything she wants, including vengeance. After she agrees to this, Rotunda transforms into a skinny, hot version of herself, with boots, arm warmers, a bra, and panties, all of which have weird barbed lining. Oh, and the panties have a cape running down the backside, a la the Princess Leia gold bikini. Since she had to take off her robes in order to reveal this ensemble, I can only presume she was wearing this outfit before she was attacked by the demon, so there's a mental image for people. To add to this wonderful imagery of turning a woman into a sex object, we get a wonderfully subtle dialogue from the narrator.
Narrator: The invader wins dominance. Free at last, after so long. Let the universe tremble again.
Linkara: Um, I'm pretty sure the artists were trying to make something else tremble with this.
Linkara (v/o): Back to the Air Force Base. The narrator informs us that this is the lab of Dr. Francis Hobble, where Berry and the General are witnessing a demonstration of his work. The sample they're using is... Ugh! It's four ounces of dog feces! Folks, I don't know what's more disgusting, the sexism or the attempts at humor. The doctor gives them goggles... "The goggles, they do nothing" joke in five, four, three... and the narrator informs us...
Narrator: Switches are thrown... and beams of dazzling brilliance lance down onto the sample...
Linkara: I was unaware that dazzling brilliance have been harnessed into an energy form.
Linkara (v/o): Barry is shocked to discover that the dog feces have become GOLD! Barry speculates that it must require lots of power, to which Dr. Hobble affirms.
Dr. Hobble: When we operate the device, every light on the base is dimmed by the power drain!
Linkara (v/o): WHAT?! An alchemy device, something alters dog turds into friggin' gold, something that changes the atomic structure of one completely different item into another, only drained enough power to dim some lights?! Oh, but it gets better, folks: we get a cost breakdown for the machine, that the apparatus itself costs millions, and that converting the sample cost around $65,000.
Dr. Hobble: It's not a cost-effective source of gold, of course, but the theoretical ramifications are enormous!
Linkara (v/o): "Not cost-effective"?! Once you have the machine, getting the back paper is simple once you make gold of equal value! And where does the cost of actually converting the material come from? Is it the power drain? Now, I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me that if you hooked it up to something that produced an awful lot of energy – say, a nuclear power plant or a geothermal plant – the power cost would be minimal at best. Now, there is an economics problem of making more gold, and thereby flooding the market with it, but a device of this power has other uses. Even if garbage itself is not a big issue in the United States, thanks to the fact that landfills are plowed over and converted into methane power plants, wasteful materials like feces, polluted water or chemical byproducts or other industrial manufacturing could be converted into whatever materials you need at any moment and subsequently sold to anyone who needed them! And what does Barry have to say about such possibilities?
Barry: No way they'll fund it this year. It's just too theoretical.
Linkara: "Too theoretical"?! THEY TURNED DOG POOP INTO GOLD!!
Linkara (v/o): Thundercats Hair [Jasmine] comes in, apparently the daughter of Dr. Hobble. He then said his grant for the alchemy machine won't get renewed. He talks about the possibilities of such a machine.
Dr. Hobble: I mean, consider the transmutation of living tissue! Men into supermen! The power of creation could be in our grasp!
Linkara: My God! We could make Hardee's into edible food!
Linkara (v/o): Thundercats Hair tries to reassure him that everything will work out while at the same time thinking...
Jasmine: This gives me an idea!
Linkara (v/o): Why do I get the feeling this idea involves costumes that makes no sense and sultry looks at readers? Back in New Orleans, we have a full page of narration talking about how Rotunda is picking up the homeless and prostitutes to be possessed by other demons. Naturally, these new women are also wearing '80s biker wear and supervillain outfits as Rotunda teaches them to read. One of them has a Bizarro moment as she proclaims...
Possessed woman: It are simple! I are figure in wordglyphs already! Me is ready to go out!
Linkara (v/o): "Woman" equals "dumb", apparently, because otherwise, why wouldn't these demons already have knowledge of speech and reading? Rotunda purchases a computer, which she uses to gain access to Project Valkyrie. I could point out that this is completely implausible, but I guess no truly understood the power of a Vic-20. By the way, the password for Project Valkyrie? "Valhalla".
Linkara: (rubbing his temples) You know, that military intelligence oxymoron is really getting bleaker every day.
Linkara (v/o): Back at the air force base again, the women are sneaking around and go into the lab using Dr. Hobble's ID card. Barry tries to follow them, but the door shuts and locks before he can reach it. Thundercats Hair explains to the others about the transmutation device, and now two of the women have changed their hairstyles – not that they had such distinct personalities beforehand. They identify themselves through their dialogue to one another, but I like my names better. Murphy Brown [Amelia] expresses concern about the prospect of using the device to transmute themselves into super beings. Thundercats Hair replies...
Jasmine: Oh, Amelia, don't be such a wet blanket! This is my chance to become a superior being, and you are not going to ruin it for me!
Linkara: (as Jasmine) Every time I have a chance to become a superior being, you always mess it up for me! It's like that "power of Thor" deal all over again!
Linkara (v/o): Sheena the she-devil pipes up with this gem of wisdom...
Sheena: It occurs to me, ladies, that a superior being would stand an awfully good chance of getting a date with a pilot!
Linkara: Yes, because heaven forbid these unnamed pilots might want to date you for your personalities. Oh, wait, you don't have any. I'm serious, someone knock me out or something!
Linkara (v/o): Jasmine explains that Jack, whoever the hell he might be, showed her how to use the device.
Linkara (v/o): PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY, REMEMBER?! Okay, that might explain how it'll turn you into gold, but how in the heck do you know how to turn yourself into a super-powered being? You just press buttons and hope for the best?
(Cut to the obligatory shot of the panel from "Superman At Earth's End", showing...)
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
(Back to the Super Foxes comic again)
Linkara (v/o): The others pressure Murphy Brown into getting onto the platform with them, and one of them gives this bit of sage advice...
Candy: Come on, Amelia! Do you want to sleep alone for the rest of your life?
Linkara (v/o): AGH! THE SEXISM! THE GOGGLES, THEY DO NOTHING!
Linkara: See? Told you it was coming up.
Linkara (v/o): Amelia thinks for a moment that it's likely to toast them, but since they're her friends, she's got to stick by them. Yes, because it's okay to give into peer pressure when it's your friends.
Amelia: Okay! I'm coming... but if this kills us, Jasmine, so help me, I'll kill you!
Linkara (v/o): (laughs) Oh, my sides are splitting! Oh, wait, that's actually my wrist; I'm trying to cut myself on the pages. Barry manages to get in, but it's too late. The device activates, and all the electronics in the area start to short out and explode. The roof explodes, and the four women ascend as Barry beholds a woman standing over them with yin-yang symbols all over her. Barry looks up in shock and thinks...
Barry: (thinking) What was that thing I saw standing over it all? It looked like a woman, but...fifty feet tall!?
Linkara: Quick, someone call Allison Hayes!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and pay no attention to this panel, folks, it has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on, and yet it's just sitting there on the page. Next, we reveal the women in all their new outfits. The narrator explains that...
Narrator: The warm night breeze breathes its approval over them. They are gifted with a bond* that reaches in and grasps their hearts.
- NOTE: The phrase is actually "a bond to their world that reaches in".
Linkara: Oh, I sincerely doubt that's what's going to end up being grasped.
Linkara (v/o): The narrator continues...
Narrator: The planet–from the core to the ozone–is alive, and it smiles on them, for it is theirs and they belong to it.
Linkara: So, wait, the women belong to the Earth, or the Earth to the women? I'm confused. And hungry. The narrator explains the new powers of each of the women.
Narrator: Sheena is gifted with incredible strength, drawn from contact with the mother planet. While she touches the earth, her blood and body sing with power!
Linkara (v/o): Well, as long as she's not singing like Yanni, I'll be happy.
Narrator: Amelia is joined to the water. Joyfully, it comes to her call– eager to caress– or to strike!
Linkara (v/o): Ah, sexy, sexy violence. Joy.
Narrator: The waters of the world are hers to shape as she will. They cry out for her touch.
Linkara (v/o): And I'm crying out for an end to this crap.
Narrator: Jasmine is now the bride of fire.
Linkara: (as Jasmine, pretending to clutch his throat) This relationship is suffocating me, literally!
Narrator: Her body is a channel for the power and heat locked inside the Earth. Sweltering, locked away from the light... it seeks release through her!
Linkara (v/o): Geez, how many double entendres can you fit into a single comic?
Narrator: Candy rides the winds tonight. They wrap around her soaring form, at once like silks, like a powerful steed, like a lover's touch.
Linkara (v/o): Three sexual images in one sentence!
(Linkara takes out a bottle of alcohol, wrapped in paper, and takes a swig)
Narrator: From the frigid winds that whip around mountain peaks, to the slow smoke-laden air that rolls through dimly lit city hollows to the arid scirocco that rides the desert dunes... She knows them all now. They call to her: "Come. Ride. Soar." She nods and smiles and promises: "Later."
Linkara: This is like Sex and the City, only much stupider than it already is.
Linkara (v/o): Barry makes himself scarce as the women practice their new abilities, setting down to talk for a minute. And what do the ladies discuss, what with their newfound abilities, powers and responsibilities the likes of which no person on Earth has ever seen before?! Why, how to get MEN, of course!
Sheena: I saw we meet those hotshots tomorrow right as they land–then, wham! Show our stuff!
Linkara: You could've done that just by lifting your tops!
Linkara (v/o): The next day, the general is understandably peeved about all the damage to the lab. And what does Barry have to say on the matter?
Barry: I had no idea that what we were doing would be of interest to saboteurs.
Linkara (v/o): Guys, it's a machine that can turn anything into something else! Show some freakin' imagination here! The eponymous Jack, mentioned earlier, says that most of the damage was superficial and that nothing was wrecked permanently. Dr. Hobble worries that they won't be able to repair any of the damage without funding, but Barry states that now that the Russians are interested in it, that they'll get more funding. He does say that it's unlikely that the Russians themselves did it, because they would have destroyed the lab more efficiently.
Linkara: (waving dismissively) Come on, the Russians have much better methods of destroying the world, like a boxing supervillain.
(Cut to a clip of Rocky IV)
Ivan Drago: (to Rocky) I must break you.
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Barry requests to be in charge of investigating and informs the general that Project Valkyrie will be landing shortly. (as general) Wait, I thought we only gave them womenfolk jobs in an emergency! (normal again) The Super Foxes wait outside as the pilots land, ready to reveal their new abilities, but then Project Valkyrie lands and the female pilots all leave the plane and of course immediately hook up with the male pilots, much to the chagrin of our heroines. The ladies all grumble about this development as Major Burns, the female commander of Project Valkyrie reports for duty to the general. And so, our comic ends with the general saluting them. I know it doesn't look like it, but I can assure you that Barry is saluting, too, just not with his hand. A solicitation for next issue raises these thought-provoking questions...
Narrator: What are the sinister plans of Madame Rotunda? Who are the Vampires of Venus? How can I join?
Linkara: This narrator has issues.
Linkara (v/o): Just to cap off the stupidity, there's an ad for the next page for this very comic, with a picture of a jackass Gary Brodsky proclaiming...
Brodsky: From the comics company that dares to have a personality!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, and that personality is one that thinks women are objects to be owned and dominated, and that their only thoughts are getting dates.
Linkara: (angrily holding up comic) This comic sucks! It's sexist, it's stupid, and I've heard knock-knock jokes made by six-year-olds that were funnier! (slams comic down, gets up and leaves)