El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Blood Bound
Submitted by El Santo on October 20, 2009 - 07:00
Most practitioners of vampire fiction have deal with a sticky situation: how do you make vampires sympathetic when theyâ€™re murderers, cannibals, and rapists? Most sidestep the issue completely by creating vampires who prefer chocolates, vegetables, or synthetic blood substitutes. Others have their vampires drink prepackaged blood or emphasize that their victims donâ€™t really die. And then thereâ€™s the ones whose vampires acknowledge that they canâ€™t control their hunger, but devote their lives to hunting down and destroying their own kind, Daywalker style.
Then thereâ€™s the rare ones who write their vampires act exactly like how they should traditionally behave: demonic creatures who kill with neither pity nor remorse. Not surprisingly, the protagonists of these tales are pretty much the most despicable characters around. But hey, youâ€™ve at least gotta credit Blood Bound for pulling no punches.
Before I start, I should tell you that, in all likelihood, Blood Bound is some sort of fetish comic. All the links in this review should be assumed Not Safe For Work. Also, Not Safe for Children. Now, Iâ€™m not exactly sure what fetish is being addressed here, but thereâ€™s a lot of boobies, one instance of a girl getting chained up naked and whipped, a few scenes where guys get humped to death, and one or two images of anthropomorphic-dog-on-woman action.
Blood Bound was created by the world famous Anubis Darque Studios, a.k.a. Justin Kennard. The panels are rendered using CGI models from a Poser-like computer program called Daz Studio and finishing the effects with Manga Studio 4. To Kennardâ€™s credit, the result doesnâ€™t look that bad. This is partially because he reduces the color scheme to a simple Black, white an red â€” â€œThe most powerful color combination of all time, from a Coca-Cola can to a Nazi banner,â€ according to White Stripes frontman Jack White. Just for contrast, Kennard does include some full color pin-ups, and, as expected, they cross the most dire depths of the uncanny valley.
Now, donâ€™t get me wrong, the results donâ€™t look great, either. CGI art is very tricky to get right, and few succeed. Characters do tend to look plastic and robotic. Most facial features donâ€™t ever register anything beyond â€œblankness.â€ This unintentionally hilarious panel of a crying vampire, for example.
As the story begins, our heroine, a pink-haired vampire named Jinni Darque, has been imprisoned in a hanging cage and stripped of her clothes. Youâ€™d think that last part would be some sort of added humiliation, but youâ€™ll soon learn that, in this comic at least, vampire women walk around pretty much all the time with little to no clothes on. Jinni punks out her captor, escapes by jumping out a window, and discovers that she has wings.
After losing consciousness, Jinni gets discovered by Christine, an experienced lady vampire. She introduces our naked vampire waif to an underground vampire and succubi community. One of the leaders of the community is led by Anubis. Yes, the mythical Egyptian diety who is also the authorâ€™s self-insert into the Blood Bound world. And, for some reason, heâ€™s portrayed wearing a wife-beater. Heâ€™s the proud owner of a ridiculously pimped out rice rocket. I guess some gods just donâ€™t give a crap about decorum anymore.
Now that sheâ€™s among her own kind, Jinni can live out the dream. While partying with other naked vampire girls, she screams, â€œIâ€™m free, and I can be Me!â€ Being â€œFreeâ€ and â€œMeâ€ has many perks. It means that waylay and murder innocent people without fear of getting caught. Part of the vampire community, which includes the aforementioned Christine, is hard at work on the police force, and they cover up murders so no human ever finds out the existence of vampires. If fresh meat is hard to come by, humans are corraled in pens until the time when they can be butchered like livestock.
And, believe you me, vampires take hiding their existence very seriously. Thereâ€™s a story where Sassy, a succubi and Jinniâ€™s lover, gets roughed around by one of the johns that frequent the strip club she works at. Sassy survives the attempted rape, though it damages her psychologically. The vampires, though, need to keep everything hush-hush. So, in a beautiful story of justice, the murder the attempted rapist and then murder his wife. They do spare their kid, though â€¦ my heroes!
Sassy, meanwhile, works out her feelings of being violated by going out and killing a random stranger on the street. Donâ€™t let these brutal murders bother you, though: the vampires of Blood Bound find killing to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
Unfortunately, there are some pesky humans who want to put a stop to all the fun. The Order, a squad of hitmen determined to rid the world of vampires. No problem: vampires have the media covered, too. The Order gets painted as a deluded terrorist organization who are hunting down mythical beasties.
The characters are so unrepentant about violence that any attempt at making them sympathetic come off as absolutely ludicrous. Sassyâ€™s mom finds out about her vampire lover, and off the bat she begins preaching about the genetic purity of succubi (the only full-breed demon walking the Earth) with the fervor of a religious fundamentalists. Why do I have the feeling that Justin wrote this story after a really bad argument with his own mother? The story seems to want to side with Sassy against the blind racism of her mom. Instead, her righteous indignation is more analogous to a love-struck KKK member wondering why her parents wonâ€™t accept her relationship to a neo-Nazi. I mean, you canâ€™t seriously be preaching tolerance when your characters are treating humans like cattle, can you?
In another story, Jinni takes a job as a waitress. In a blow for feminism, she murders a guy who dared to while surrounding women cheer on. You go, girl! Now how about taking care of the guy who â€œdrawsâ€ you naked 70% of the time?
Jinniâ€™s past finally starts to get some attention when Anubis takes her to see a psychic called a â€œDream Seeker.â€ After administring a therapeutic what to the head to have the deepest recesses of Jinniâ€™s mind opened, Anubis finds out that Jinniâ€™s mother is none other than *gasp* Lilith, the First Vampire! Somewhere in webcomic world, Laila McCarthy just dropped her monocle. Anyway, this is Lilith of The Alphabet of Ben Sira fame, which casts her as Adamâ€™s wife. Sheâ€™s also the mother of all vampires, something that doesnâ€™t sit so well with the council of humans, succubi, angels, and demons.
Adam also makes an appearance here, though I have no idea why heâ€™s wearing comfortable slacks when, traditionally, heâ€™s either sporting a fashionable fig-leaf or doing the Full Monty. Youâ€™d think that last portrayal would definitely not be a problem in this particular comic. And why is he being played by James Caan?
Anyway, this parentage makes Jinni a person of significant importance. She is the vampire Helen of Troy, someone who many would like to control. What will happen when the hooded figures in charge of Vampiretown find out? Or the Order? Or the female Cardinal in the Catholic Church who bathes in the blood of young women?
Wait, there are female Cardinals now?
Notable contributions to the vampire woman genre:
Also, since this is the second vampire comic where a female character pulls down the eyelid and sticks out her tongue, Iâ€™m going to assume this is some sort of vampire salute.
â€œThey say that time heals all wounds. At least it can start to grow out badly cut hair. As weeks pass life starts to resume is normal course and the girls hearts turn to romance â€¦ and homicide.â€
Important life lessons:
Mandatory helmet laws increase your chance of surviving a serious crash while keeping bugs out of your mouth.
El Santoâ€™s predictions for where this story will go in the span of a year:
After walking home through a dark alley, Sassy gets mugged, which causes her to go on 10 state killing spree.