Or – “From The Company That Brought You ‘NASH!’ “

A recent Major Spoilers Podcast featured an extended discussion of the various ages of comics, but we did overlook one sub-section of the modern age:  The Bad Girl Era.  Previews used to be a virtual minefield of fishnets, claws, cleavage and what seemed to be rejected WWE Diva names.  Poizon, Razor, Lady Death, Lady Pendragon, Hellina, and even revitalized stalwarts like Vampirella tottered around on sky-high heels with their business hanging out, and we even got to see the horror of “nude covers.”  (Here’s a protip:  If a nude cover doesn’t say either Altuna or Manara, I don’t need to see it.)  Near the end of this wave of nudilation came Alley Cat, a vanity project for former Playboy Playmate Alley Baggett, and her somewhat prosaically named alter-ego.  Say what you will about the book, but she’s wearing nearly four times as much fabric as many of her contemporaries…

ALLEY CAT #1
Script: Alley Baggett (plot); Greg Aronowitz (plot); Bob Napton (plot and script); Matt Hawkins (plot and script)
Pencils: Bosco
Inks: Tie
Colors: Bret Evans
Letters: Albert Dechesne
Editor: Matt Hawkins
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.50 (Current Near-Mint Price: Check Your Local Quarter Bin)

Previously, on Alley Cat: Image Comics began when several of the most popular artists at Marvel Comics decided to jump ship and make their own concepts fly, creating an autonomous collective of creators who did what they wanted without all that pesky editorial interference or quality control.  Many fine series have made it to comic book racks wearing the Image logo, and of all the comics Image has ever published, this is one.

We begin in New Orleans, as the annual bacchanalia is attended by two young women seeking out sexy underthings…

Bride-To-Be Alley and her young friend Stacy have visited all the lingerie shops in the city, but still haven’t found the appropriate unmentionables for Alley’s big day.  Against her better judgment, Alley is led to the French Quarter (which she describes as full of voodoo and spookiness) and a building that Stacy heard sells lingerie:  La Chat Noire.  It’s French, you see…

What an odd space for a clothing store…  Alley is still spooked as they enter, but is calmed a bit by the lush interior of the building, including what seems to be a Persian rug with the outline of a bra and panties on it.  Classy.  Having calmed down enough to realize that there’s nothing to be scared of, the ladies do what every horror movie vixen does when se relaxes:  Get naked.

The art team is identified solely as “Bosco and Tie,” and I can’t seem to find any information on whether they’ve done any other work, but they’re certainly an odd choice for a book like this.  Real life Alley is 5’2″ and busty, whereas she is always drawn as elongated, angular and practically asexual.  A mysterious old woman appears, and directs Alley to open a particular box, in which she finds a very particular garment…

Now, I’m not an expert on honeymoon-wear, but I can’t say as I would find this disco bondage suit (with, strangely enough, matching black lipstick) to be perfect, especially given that the oddly demure black lace thing was two trashy for her.  Either way, before she can take off the obviously ridiculously complicated ensemble, she is overcome with hallucinations of the Marquis De Sade, and a mysterious shadow creature rips best friend Stacy limb from limb…

All the photographs (and indeed, the painted alternate cover) show Alley’s outfit as skin-tight, but it’s strangely ill-fitting throughout the issue.  Alley flees into the street, and is promptly hit by a car, presaging Kick-Ass’ origin by nearly a decade.  Alley is possessed by some decidedly unsexy sexual hallucinations, and awakens with a start…

When she gets home, Alley continues to be perplexed by auditory and visual hallucinations, and finds that they only stop when she puts on the leather outfit again.  Her respite from madness is short, as the Marquis De Sade reappears and somehow attacks her…

Mystical fighty-fighty ensues, and Alley manages to fight off the psychic beasties, then is suddenly awakened by her fiance, only to see the strange shadow creature hovering above his head!  Dun DUN DAAAH!!!! It’s a particularly odd place to break the story flow, as if they suddenly ran out of space and needed to stick in a cliffhanger.  The issue ends with a text piece explaining who the Marquis De Sade was (albeit with a lot of embellishment and exaggeration for mystical effect.)  All in all, it’s 30 pages, with about 8 pages worth of story intact.  FOUR ENTIRE PAGES are dedicated to walking down the street to the lingerie shop, while the mystical visions feel cramped and compacted.  Overall, it’s a weird book, with a bland main character.  There’s not nearly enough peek-a-boo to successfully make it a big-fun-sexy-time cheesecake romp, but the fan-service changing scene and the general lack of depth in the plotting doesn’t give it the Witchblade bump to overcome it’s genre.  Alley Cat #1 isn’t a complete mess, but it is disappointing enough to earn 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Why would you give the art chores on a book about a real-life super-sexy curvy woman to an artist who can’t reproduce her?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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8 Comments

  1. May 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm — Reply

    This is quite freaky. I was thinking of this comic and it’s photovariant cover just the other day. Ugggh! That interior artwork. Look up “Stock” comic art, and this is the definition.

    To answer your question Mr. Peterson, because they: A) Need someone who can do it on the cheap. B) Hooking a friend up. C) Just don’t care and want to turf it to make the cash back.

  2. Noobian74
    May 16, 2011 at 8:34 am — Reply

    *blink blink*

    That outfit looks like a wannabe Witchblade costume that somebody got from a discount store!

    Wait, you were looking for more realistic body types in a comic book, Mr. Peterson. Tsk tsk.

    • May 16, 2011 at 11:37 am — Reply

      Don’t be so cynical… :) Ironically, this is a time when realistic would have meant comic book pneumatic, as the actress in question is all curves. 5′ 2″ and 34DD seems tailor made for the bad girl era, but that is NOT what you see on the page…

      • Noobian74
        May 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm — Reply

        Cynical? Moi?

        I’m not sure whether it’s a result of a house style like Marvel back in the 70’s/early 80’s, but unless you’re a child or an elderly person, there’s not much to help distinguish most comic characters besides differences in hair, complexion and costumes. Body types are almost at a cookie cutter status.

  3. Adam M
    May 17, 2011 at 12:59 am — Reply

    Is “reproduce her” a new euphemism that the cool kids are using nowadays?

  4. May 19, 2011 at 2:15 am — Reply

    Wow, does this comic ever have Witchblade envy. Easily one of the most blatant visual ripoffs I’ve seen in comics.

    • Noobian74
      May 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm — Reply

      See? Told ya!

  5. Damascus
    May 24, 2011 at 2:18 am — Reply

    Matthew, you were wondering about Boscoe and Tie, well from what I could gather this was the only thing Boscoe did (I could be wrong). Tie on the otherhand was the inker on Citizen V Battlebook: Streets of Fire, The Coven: Spellcaster #1 (with like 6 variant covers), The Coven: Tooth and Nail #1 (with a whopping 15 covers), Lady Pendragon: Merlin #1, Para Troop #5, Purgatori 1/2 Chromium Mega-Premium Edition, Spider-girl Battlebook: Streets of Fire, Thor Battlebook: Streets of Fire, Threshold: Mystic Sirens Pinups (16 different covers….awesome), and Untold Tales of Purgatori #1. Tie was also the colorist for the Rogue Battlebook: Streets of Fire and Cover Artist for Avengelyne: Dragon Realm #2, The Coven: Tooth and Nail #1, Pandora Annual #1, and Threshold: Mystic Sirens Pinups (Ron Adrian Onyx). So he/she/it (not sure what a Tie is other than the fighter variety) worked a little for Marvel, Image, Comics Conspiracy, Avatar, and Chaos! Comics. They all kind of have a central theme to them though (maybe minus some of those Battlebooks).

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