I said it before, and I’ll say it again: what’s better than a kick-ass comic book with a strong female lead? How ‘bout a kick-ass comic book with a strong female lead written by a woman and featuring demons, pistols, and bottles of liquor? Let me introduce you to The End Is Totally Nigh, a comic book written by Kara Barrett, who I interviewed several weeks back. This comic is a black and white cocktail of horror, western, and manga. Let me elaborate:
The story begins with witty narration and a full-on splash page depicting a horde of demons emerging from some netherworld to overtake our real world. We are first introduced to our main character, Jane, as she muses about the fate of the world while taking a swig out of what looks like a bottle of whisky. At this point, I’m interested because what I see is some cool western elements (the style of the town, the whisky, the duel-equse pose between Jane and an unnamed antagonist) combined with manga-inspired artwork (dewy eyes, lines galore, and, of course, the lack of color).
And then the horror element arrives. We are taken back in time to one of Jane’s first missions as a demon expert. The setting is a middle school in the “boonies.” And the demon has possessed a little girl. Here, we are introduced to what might be the beginnings of a team: a cigarette-smoking priest, a guy who calls himself Cowboy, and their snappy leader Grace. Teams are always fun (if you didn’t see the Avengers movie, what are you doing reading this blog?), so I’m hopeful for this team’s evolution in issues to come.
Overall, the art is cool. I like it. It’s also smart. See Page two, panel two for some awesome composition. Plus, the creators aren’t afraid to experiment with unique angles. The writing is witty and interesting. I already have a feel for Jane’s character, and I’ve only known her for 25 pages. Although I was a bit confused at some points, the cliffhanger ending has me wanting more.
% Panels Devoted to Women
Probably close to 95%, especially since the demon has possessed a little girl who gets more than a few full-panels to herself.
Women in Action
★★★Women often participate in plot-moving action.
Jane’s the main protagonist after all.
Women as Leaders
★★★Women often lead the other characters.
The team’s leader is a woman, and Jane does some leading herself.
Women as Sex Objects
★★★Women are depicted as sexy (or their sex is not emphasized at all), but their allure does not define their purpose as a prominent, plot-moving character in the comic.
Jane’s cute, no doubt, but it’s clear that her actions speak stronger than her appearance. She’s compared to a girl scout by one of the other characters, but her unique demon fighting abilities prove she’s a lot more than she appears.
Men Deviating from Male Stereotypes
★ ★ Men sometimes deviate from the male stereotypes of a logical mind, rationality, lack of expression and empathy.
One of the guys calls himself Cowboy. The priest is kind of a hard ass. I don’t see any guys acting apart from society’s expectations, at least not yet.