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Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Leather Nun and other incredibly strange comics

I've had this sitting beside me for a couple of days and it's incredibly distracting. It's a dip-into book that you'll have trouble putting down because, frankly, you'll have some trouble believing that some of these comics ever came out. From the cover of a 1950 issue of Teen-Age Romances—where a girl sees her boyfriend flirting with a blonde while her friend tells her "You'll never get him back, Ann. That little cheat will do anything to hold Dick!"—to the action tales of Reagan's Raiders—wherein the pumped-up, 75-year-old US president Ronald Reagan and his senior cabinet save the world from nuclear disaster—Paul Gravett and Paul Stanbury have gathered together 50 examples from some of the weirdest comics ever that will leave you wondering why trees were cut down to make this!

Anti-Krushchev (Two Faces of Communism) and Christian tracts (The Gospel Blimp), promotional comics (Driving Like A Pro, published by the Greyhound bus company) and psychedelic hippie comics (Mod Love and Brother Power the Geek), bondage/S&M comics (The Leather Nun that gives the book its title), comics from another age (All-Negro Comics) and the indefinable (Amputee Love, Chaplains at War, Godzilla vs. Barkley [Charles Barkley, the basketball player], Genus issue 20, the "Special extra large lesbian unicorn issue", Binky Brown meets the Holy Virgin Mary, etc., etc.)—they're all here, and more!

To paraphrase something the editors say in their introduction, there should be something to amuse, amaze or offend just about everyone.

The Leather Nun and Other Incredibly Strange Comics by Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury. Aurum Press ISBN 978-1945133207, 1 September 2008. Published in the USA as Holy Sh*t: The World's Weirdest Comic Books.

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