62 Dicks: Black Kiss 2 #1 Reviewon August 4, 2012 at 12:30 am
Black Kiss 2 is the sequel to a 1988 story about the hunt for the Vatican’s pornography and the transsexual vampires who stole it, so you should have some idea of what reading this story entails. At my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to remember that Juggs isn’t a comic book, they kept Black Kiss 2 #1 behind the counter, and at this college town comic store in Godless, liberal Boston, they never keep books behind the counter. “I normally don’t do this,” the owner told me, “But it’s summertime, and I couldn’t risk some kid coming in, finding it, and bringing in all his little buddies for a cheap thrill.” So I asked him for a copy and some Vaseline. But I digress.
The point is that Black Kiss 2 isn’t gonna be for everyone, or if fact, anyone if they’re younger than, say, 16 years old (by then, they’re old enough to get around any nanny software on their computers, and have seen all this stuff anyway). It is sexually explicit, and considering it is a story about demons and vampires, we’re not talking airbrushed Playboy sexually explicit. It’s not Two Girls, One Cup, but you should ask yourself how you feel about tentacle porn before you put on your raincoat and sunglasses and ask your friendly comic retailer for a copy.
Black Kiss 2 is actually a prequel to Black Kiss, giving us the origin of that story’s master vampire Buster Kenton. In the original, Kenton was the leader of an order of depraved vampires that spans through most of 1980s Hollywood glitterati, but here, he’s just “Bubba” Kenton, a 20-year-old punk, crossing the Atlantic on the Titanic, praying fervently to get his dick wet. Just as he’s about to slide into home, as it were, the ship (spoilers!) hits the iceberg, As he’s trying to escape, he is captured by a demon who apparently turns him into a vampire… and I’ll tell you this: if this was the popular version of how one is transformed into a vampire, there wouldn’t be a single goth or Twilight fan anywhere in the world.
Creator Howard Chaykin also give us an image of New York City in 1906 where the movies are treated as a place of worship for the lower immigrant class, provided what you worship is cock. It’s hard to say if Chaykin is indulging in metaphor when he describes and shows the crowd in the theater moaning in pleasure and shrieking in delight, or if he is being literal when he shows a demon shoving her ten penises out of the screen and into, well, everyone.
It is a disturbing scene, but it speaks to Chaykin’s skill as a writer that the whole thing could be taken as a metaphor for a movie audience’s rapture at the spectacle on the screen. In less skilled hands, this could easily be taken as simple, animal titillation – mere over the top filth to shock the rubes. But the fact that there is more there to take, if you want it, elevates the book from mere shock to real art… although I guarantee you somewhere in the world, right now, someone is frantically yanking it and grunting, “Yeah, lady – you take that demon tentacle wang!”
Where the original Black Kiss was firmly ensconced in the 1980s and the 1950s, this prequel is looking, at this point, like it’s all taking place in the early 20th century, which is an artistic style in which Chaykin has always excelled. The guys gets period details right; everything looks authentic and right for the time, from the clothing to the architecture to the circumcisions (or lack thereof). Look: if you’re a fan of Chaykin’s art, this is a prime, black-and-white example of it; the same thick lines, patterned wardrobes, and squared heads with heavy, emphasized eyebrows and features… only with a lot of dick thrown in for flavor (ew). How much dick? Well, like Mr. Brown said in Reservoir Dogs: Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick. How many dicks is that? Apparently 62.
Black Kiss 2 #1 is a difficult book to review, as I imagine was the first Black Kiss. However, having read the original, I know that Chaykin was able to deliver a time-jumping, hard-boiled noir tale, wrapped in a lot of hard fucking. And where that miniseries was The Big Sleep by way of Miami Vice and Deep Throat, we see enough interesting metaphor and initial character detail here, combined with a statement on people’s relationship with film, to get the inklings that Black Kiss 2 may be Chaykin writing Gangs of New York by way of The Call Of Cthulhu and Ass-Blasting Tentacle Whores. It is also a difficult book to read, because it takes a lot of discipline and careful reading to glean out that Chaykin might be saying something about the plight of the Irish and Jews in early 20th Century New York when you’re watching them fuck each other in the projection booth of a theater where a celluloid succubus is turning the audience into hysterical cum dumpsters.
There is a promising book here, with potentially a lot to say about early 20th Century America. However, it is not for the squeamish, and you might find it difficult to see the forest through the trees. And by “trees”, I mean “dicks.”
All 62 of them.