Recent Dorkiness

Hillbillies and Satan Babies: Eric Powell is Back in Fine Form

So I got a bit distracted earlier in the week by yet another Batman comic, and I felt a little bad about that, after the fact. Because there was another funnybook out last week that was far more worth talking about, and I ignored it in favor of something I didn’t even like very much. So let’s correct that oversight now…

Hillbilly 1
by Eric Powell

I like Eric Powell. He draws pretty pictures…

Powell Hillbilly 1

…he tells funny stories…

Powell Hillbilly Iron Child

…and he’s into all manner of rustic supernatural weirdness.

Powell Hillbilly Tree Witch

Hillbilly, then, is the perfect Eric Powell comic. It’s about a witch-hunting mountain man, armed with the Devil’s own meat cleaver and living in a haunted countryside that’s one part medieval fantasy and two parts Appalachian folk tale. Like The Goon (another perfect Eric Powell comic), it takes place one step to the left of the world we know, in a time and place that are impossible to pinpoint, but that resonate so well you don’t really notice.

Powell Hillbilly Sword

Well, okay. The hillbilly with the broadsword did strike me as a little odd. But I just kinda rolled with it. Because, dude. It’s a hillbilly. With a broadsword. And he’s just an incidental character, too! A crusty old bastard tossed in for color. How awesome is that?!

The sabretooth hound dog don’t hurt none, either.

And that, pretty much, tells you all you need to know about Hillbilly. This first issue is an introduction to the title character…

(That'd be this handsome fella here.)

(That’d be this handsome fella here.)

…his origin story told in the form of a folk tale as he goes about his business saving a young boy from a witch-tree. Or a tree witch. Or somethin’. There was a tree and a witch involved, anyway, and they were all weird and cool and scary-lookin’. But you’ll have to read it to find all that out, and make up your own mind what they were. ‘Cause I’m not of a mind to spoil it any more than I already have. This comic is cool and fun, a light read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Sometimes, that’s all you really need.

Grade 4 Star

But, hey. As long as we’re talking Eric Powell… He put out another brand new comic just yesterday, and though my scanner’s on the fritz, and the book’s too new for me to find much artwork from it on-line, it’s still more than worth talking about…

Satan’s Sodomy Baby 2
by Eric Powell

The first Satan’s Sodomy Baby comic came out a few years ago, and was deemed so offensive by its publisher that they released it in a poly-bag with a giant warning label on the front. Hell, they even used funnybook cuss words in the logo:

Satans Sodomy Baby 1

(Though I wasn’t aware that the word “sodomy” was considered an expletive.)

Anyway. This comic’s the sequel to that one. And even though Powell’s self-publishing it under his Albatross Exploding Funnybooks label, he still kind of side-steps the title:

Powell Satan's Sodomy Baby II

That cover’s pretty spiffy otherwise, though, so I’ll forgive him. This one’s really all about what’s inside, anyway. Like the first Satan’s Sodomy Baby, it falls under the heading of broad social satire, with Powell taking aim at both the left and the right. He tackles religious hypocrisy in both Christianity and Islam, liberal arrogance, America’s problem with guns, the endless flow of money into our political system, Gamergate, overblown self-righteous outrage, homophobia, Stan Lee, and every satirist’s favorite whipping boy, Donald Trump.

Powell really hits Trump hard here, drawing him pantsless (with micro-peen) and establishing him as the harbinger of the apocalypse, the final sign that God has lost his battle with Satan, and humanity is doomed. The Sodomy Baby gathers together his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, including Macho Man Randy Savage and of course Jimmy Stewart’s head grafted onto the body of the robot from Lost in Space.

(And, trust me, I’ve seldom wished more for a functioning scanner than I am right now.)

Powell’s Macho Man is especially funny to me. He’s not on-camera that much, but he’s constantly spouting great lines like, “I’m a Space Volvo twirling through the infinite! Yeah! Dig it!” Which makes no sense, even in context. But that’s entirely appropriate for Savage, and if you read that shit in his voice, it’s twice as funny. Maybe three times if you do it out loud.

The book also has to live up to its name with some offensive comedy, of course. But there’s not as much of that as you might expect. I mean, the whole thing has an unsavory air about it, but there’s less anal bleeding, for instance, than you might think. So it’s got that going for it, too.

Anyway. My enjoyment of this book was probably helped by the fact that Powell’s political attitudes so closely mirror my own. But for my money, Satan’s Sodomy Baby II is funny and profane, a satiric romp sure to piss off all the right people for all the right reasons. Good on ya, Mistah Powell! And thanks for being the voice of angry moderates everywhere!

Grade 4 Star

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About Mark Brett (431 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at http://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at https://dorkforty.wordpress.com/.

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