Click on the book cover to see
for yourself on Amazon.
(See Thomas’ notes on how he grades)
We are going way off my beaten path of novel reviews with this investigation of a compilation of comic strips.
I didn’t mean to buy a book at Portland Comic Con. Really I didn’t. BUT The Devil’s Panties, a graphic collection of comic strips from the online comic series by Jennie Breeden intrigued me. As a man, I’m honest enough to say the title and cover had a bit to do with me actually picking up this over-sized book to look at it. Her signage was very clear, “It’s not satanic porn!”
I laughed at the off-beat and edgy humor on just the first couple of pages so I couldn’t pass up buying it. My only regret is that I didn’t get to meet Jennie. She was out of the booth and I never made it back.
The Devil’s Panties is the ongoing saga of Jen (how autobiographical is left up to the imagination of the reader but some of the modified pictures in the back I think are definitive) who works at a comic store, and writes her own comic. She seems to have an ongoing relationship with a very corporeal Jesus who has some very interesting viewpoints for a religious icon. Jen also has two female roommates and at least one is gay (and the other seems to always be in question) who are about as diametrically opposed as three people can be except in couple areas. All three of them have a serious kinky bent and love fandom. Jen and her friends show the feminine side of nerd humor.
Feeling a need to laugh? Go out and buy this book!
There is a regular appearance in the strips by Jesus, the Devil, and a little devil / angel conscience of Jen. The interaction between them and the main characters borders on the hysterical.
The Devil’s Panties pokes fun at clubbing, BDSM, religion, fandom, conventions, costumes, gaming, cheerleaders, shopping, home ownership, men, women, relationships, comic artists … in short nothing is sacred. I applaud this attitude. We must laugh at ourselves to be human.
I don’t think I went a full page in this novel length compilation of comic strips without laughing out loud, much to the consternation of my wife who was next to me in bed reading her own vampire porn as I read this.
Not So Good
I really wished the art was just a bit better. There were scenes I couldn’t make out exactly what was happening and thus lost the meaning of the joke. I also didn’t catch on to the differences between the three main female characters for many pages until I realized they all wore special t-shirts that effectively identified them (read the shirts.. you are missing half the jokes if you don’t).
I will admit that even though a 30 year fandom veteran, some of the jokes went over my head. I don’t know if that was because I didn’t get it, it was a generation gap thing, or it wasn’t there to begin with. These are few and far between, but they happened.
Thomas Gondolf is the author of Toy Wars, The CorpGov Chronicle and numerous pieces of short fiction in the genres of science fiction and cyberpunk. He is also the owner of TANSTAAFL Press (How do you like your SciFi? ).