COMIC BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS: TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #43-47

Updated 20 Sept 2008

I have no idea why this is one of my more popular pages, but let me direct you to my home page where you can see the latest and greatest stuff. Click here! Or check the links at the bottom. I have reviews of EC Comics, Vietnam Journal, Master of Kung Fu, The Crew, and tons more! However if you guys are just addicted to reviews of TAROT:WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE, then please read on :) .

REVIEWING JIM BALENT’S TAROT: WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #43,46,47


Well I’ve been pretty behind on reviewing comics. Haven’t had too much time to stay on top the new books, though will be correcting that in the installments to come.

However for this installment I’ll review a book that I’ve never tried before, JIM BALENT’S TAROT:WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE.

JIM BALENT’S TAROT:WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #43

Curious about this title, and after reading conflicting reports on it I purchased several issues online, issue #43 being the first I’ve had a chance to read. First thing to note is these books come out in a range of covers, from cartoony to photo-covers. I went somewhere in between, eschewing the more garish covers (many of the covers being stuff you couldn’t pay me to walk around with). So I picked #43 because it was a/ a self contained story and b/offered a gorgeous cover (43B) that avoided the juvenile/porky’s silliness/sensibility that seems to be the mainstay of most of the covers .

So that even if the interior wasn’t my cup of tea, I had a cover that lent itself to easy resale (Though to be fair, from issue #40 up the covers appear to get noticeably better).

Going past the cover I found an interior just as beautiful, and an interior that yes, is unabashedly full of cheesecake and copious nudity. But I don’t particularly find that to be a bad thing. In market where so much is mean spirited and negative and violent, it’s good when a book can be about nudity and about sensuality without marrying that to violence or blood or brutality. Balent telling a fable for adults, that is a fun little self contained read, about Tarot being trapped in nether-world where things cry out to her… “Believe in me”.

And yes it’s definitely not Alan Moore or Tolkien going on here, but what it is, is a wonderfully drawn, sexy little fable, that had an actually pretty entertaining story. And I found it far more linear and entertaining than I thought it would be. B.

JIM BALENT’S TAROT:WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #46

TAROT #46 and TAROT #47 are my next introductions to the world of Jim Balent. They are the wrap up portions of a story called THE WITCH KEY. #46 finds TAROT fighting to survive being chained to death at the bottom of the sea, and the majority of the story is a polemic, a character monologue, as we follow her trial to survive and save her sisters. And it is very much an odd polly-annaesque diatribe for nudity, sexual freedom, witches, and the right to be.

And while the argument of silly can be laid against the issue, I find it again just very good-natured. A lot of people like to do good girl art, Balent loves to do good girl art… and he’s exceptionally good at it. And 46 issues in tells you there’s an audience for it. No not that audience. Balent’s audience, much like David Mack’s is largely female. And it’s because his work really is good natured, and oddly innocent in a world that is more comfortable given us nudity in relation to rape, or torture, or violence.

His work may be sentimental, and rose colored… and that’s more than likely why he’s still going strong when others have fallen away. So a little too much soliloquy to the audience, but that forgiven another wonderfully illustrated issue. C+.

JIM BALENT’S TAROT:WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #47

And wrapping up my review is Issue #47. And if you thought the work of Jim Balent was beautiful before, he is absolutely inspired in this issue, as many of his readers (female of course) sent in pictures, and he incorporates them into this issues climatic end battle as witches fighting for their life. :). It’s really wonderfully done, and talk about milking your audience. Oooohhh, that was bad! But seriously a fantastic experiment of an issue, that undoubtedly will only further endear him to his readers. Enjoyable. B.

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