I brought home this quarter bin issue of Maxwell Madd and His Wrestling Women because, well, I like an easy target.
Maxwell Madd is your classic skeevy, 80's cool dude who looks like an emoticon. He hangs with a crew of muscly sexxxy ladies who wrestle bad guys, and each other. In this issue they have to hang out at Madd's rich (but sadly deceased) uncle's haunted mansion, and fight vampires.
I was ready to make a bunch of snarky comments about this ol' hunk o' junk, but then I read it, and it really wasn't so bad. Sure it's pretty dumb and gross but you get the feeling the creator really tried. And there were a few good jokes in there! For real!
The creator, by the way, is one David C. Matthews (avoid confusion and note the "C." Although wouldn't it be awesome if it turned out Dave Matthews had created Maxwell Madd and his Wrestling Women?) David C. Matthews has a dumpy little website where he chronicles his stunted comics career, the highlight of which is Satin Steele, a porny comic about a lady body builder.
Satin Steele dips a bit too deeply into the psyche of David C. Matthews for me, thanks. (There's something depressing about sketches of weird creater-owned characters just hangin' and the Satin Steele site has a montage of those). But in his Satin Steele prologue, DCM kinda gets to the heart of what we need from comics.
"[Satin Steele is] not my earliest creation (that honor belongs to the afore-mentioned "Leenah"), but the one that I felt sure would become my "signature" property, as Batman was for Bob Kane and Superman was for Siegel and Schuster. And whereas a majority of my work is designed to appeal, firstly to me, and secondarily to my fellow fans of "femuscle", Satin was aimed equally to the "mainstream" reader - the "normal" person who may not necessarily like even the idea of "muscles on girls" but who'll respond to a well-crafted story that provides drama, humopr and strong characters"
It's humoprous, for sure. Typos aside, I think duder is right that comics can be about anything, as long as there's good characters and a good story. David C. Matthews is also wise to bring up Shuster and remind us that the comic industry was built by pervs. I keep forgetting to mention this, but Vice Magazine, in their comics guide issue, had a great piece about Craig Yoe's new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's co-creator Joe Shuster.
It features Shuster's pervy soft-core porn comics that star beefy dudes who look just like our favourite Kryptonian. The book looks amazing, and the pictures on the Vice site are strange and sexy and hilarious.
So what am I saying here? That given the right circumstances David C. Matthews could have been the next Shuster? No. That a stupid, porny comic isn't necessarily bad? Maybe. That my brain has gotten a little soft from too many ten hour days at the comic shop this week? Definitely. I'll be back next week to make fun of stupid shit.