Bettie Page, that magnificent model of muliebrity, is back, and this time she is showcasing more of her… tendency to fall into bizarre situations while just trying to make a living. It’s more from the secret diaries of Bettie Page from Dynamite Entertainment!
Writer: David Avallone, Leah Williams
Art: Julius Ohta, Fernando Ruiz
Cover: Reilly Brown
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: October 24th, 2018
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in BETTIE PAGE: The secret life of Bettie Page was uncovered and published as a comic book which detailed her life as a model, a spy, and all-around woman of action. Now a new team of creators take a crack at the secret life of Bettie Page, this time with a Halloween twist!
A GHOUL LIKE NO OTHER…
In Dynamite Entertainment’s previous Bettie Page series, we discovered how she led a secret life away from the camera clubs and modeling scene. It was a life where she helped the United States government solve some of the most baffling cases of their time using her wits and the other guy’s tendency to underestimate a beautiful face. With this Halloween Special, we step back into that with the first story, “Pickman’s Supermodel.”
Based ever so loosely off the idea of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Pickman’s Model”, writer David Avallone (Bettie Page, Legenderry: Vampirella) set us up with another story where the government comes to Betty for the type of help only she can give. It seems that a painter, one Richard Kaiser Pickman, has been painting a creature which should not exist, and Agents McKnight and Lyssa once again come to Betty for her unique to aid in determining if Mr. Pickman has actually seen these strange creatures, or if it is something else. Posing as a model looking for a job, Betty gains entry easily into Pickman’s home studio, and quickly finds that not even Pickman has a true grasp on just the sort of power he has gotten himself involved with.
The second story is by writer Leah Williams (The Alchemy of Being Fourteen, Adventure Time Comics), and this one is a much more light-hearted affair. Bettie has gotten an invitation to attend a Halloween costume party being held by Hollywood casting agent Leo Glicksman. Despite the invitation saying specifically to come alone, Bettie convinces her contact/friend Lyssa to attend. Dressed as a cowgirl and a call girl (you really have to see the cringe worth pun of a costume to understand) the pair of pretty ladies precede into peril at a location which looks ripe for Vincent Price to appear and chew the scenery. Note: Vincent Price does not appear in this comic. But before long they find out that the real party planner has a much more dangerous itinerary than bobbing for apples.
LIGHTS… CAMERA… CAMP!
As I read these without any knowledge of the previous series of Bettie Page comics, I found it interesting for the character to have been portrayed as she was. It is a nice little slice of meta-writing to have the real-life character have a secret diary, and for that diary to contain her exploits saving the world. The stories themselves cross two different genres of storytelling, with the first being the more serious, and the second a much more lighthearted romp.
The atmosphere in the first story achieves a very Lovecraftian feel quickly. A large part of this is due not only to the script by Dave Avallone but the excellent artistic skills of Julius Ohta (Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man, Grimm Fairy Tales). With a licensed comic one of the most important aspects is for the characters, especially the main character, to look like the person from the original property. Ohta succeeds here wonderfully. The look of Bettie is instantly recognizable, while at the same time keeping just a touch of comic quality that makes the situation work so well. When Bettie is acting naïve and innocent, you buy it as quickly as Pickman. When she is aggressive and in action, you accept it as part of the character as well. Even the Lovecraftian creatures have a great look, and Avallone’s story ties it all together for a great read. Excellent story which sells me completely on the concept of Bettie Page as a sort of supernatural problem solver.
The second story is much more comical, with a healthy dose of camp and laugh. Leah Williams’s writing works up a nice little story with plenty of laughs and puns enough to make you groan for more, and I have to admit that based on this and a little research I have added her The Alchemy of Being Fourteen book to my Amazon wish list; I got to support my Mississippi writers. But that aside, it is a fun little done in one tale that is thoroughly enjoyable and fun. The art by Fernando Ruiz is nice as well, but it seems off. It took me a little while to figure out what bothered me, but it was the coloring. Please do not get me wrong, he draws a great Bettie Page, but the style of coloring just seemed to clash with the line work. I enjoyed it, and most people would not even give it a second thought.
And one more thing, that cover by Reilly Brown? It is in my top five favorite covers for the year. Awesome!
BOTTOM LINE: BETTIE PAGE WILL HAVE YOU REACHING FOR THE FLASHLIGHT
Seasonal Halloween books are great and when you get one that surprises you like the Bettie Page Halloween Special surprised me it is even greater. You get two great stories, by two great creative teams, for the price of one. The nods to pop culture of the day are great and I would love to see more Bettie Page in a Lovecraft setting, as well as a chance for Williams to follow up on the ending of her story. Pick it up, you won’t regret it.
BETTIE PAGE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is an enjoyable book for Page and Halloween fans. You only get these sort of titles at certain times of the year, so grab yours while you can.
Bettie Page Halloween Special
More Halloween goodness that winds up being a real “page” turner.