Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shadow Hunter #0

Shadow Hunter #0, December 2007, Virgin Comics
writers: Jenna Jameson & Christina Z
artist: Mukesh Singh
letterer: Nilesh S. Mahadik
project manager: S.P. Karthikeyan
assistant editor: Sara Amanat
editor: Mariah Huehner

Blogger’s note: Entry for Tuesday, March 11, 2008.

I picked up this free preview issue of Shadow Hunter a few months ago and intentionally saved it for Women’s History Month, since a comic book starring Jenna Jameson should have something to say about female archetypes in the medium, intentionally or not. Well, according to Jameson’s introduction, the theme of female empowerment was actually one of the contributing inspirations for this series . . . that, and the adult film star’s love of horror films. “[W]hen other folks go back to their hotel rooms at night and watch me, I go back and watch horror films,” she explains.

I don’t blame her. The horror films are cheaper.

Of course, the potential to lob this series with juvenile potshots about sex and promiscuity is off the charts, considering its creator’s illustrious career. In fact, Virgin bigwigs Gotham Chopra and Sharad Devarajan exhaust a significant portion of their introductory essay claiming some of the best one-liners -- regarding her work ethic, that Jenna’s “really flexible” is one of my favorites -- but then instantly discrediting them by exploring Jameson’s intelligence and artistic integrity. I’m willing to bet that someone picking up a comic book created by and/or starring Jenna Jameson doesn’t need the disclaimer. Long time comics readers have seen all kinds of celebrities contribute to the medium, from directors to actors to athletes. Our tolerance for this unique brand of personal franchising is high, and our appreciation of beautiful women is just a little bit higher. Shadow Hunter just mashes ‘em together.

Besides, pornography is a primarily visual medium that buries some semblance of a story beneath imagery primarily targeting a male audience, though, sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a woman that likes it just as much. In this case, pornography is just like comics.

So, what does Shadow Hunter contribute to the vast tapestry that is Women in Literature? No much, I’m afraid. Though this zero issue offers only six pages of story, Jameson’s and Chopra’s essays offer enough insight into the story’s context to expose it as little more than a Witchblade rip-off. The interview with writer Christina Z, Witchblade co-creator, at the end of this issue reveals as much: troubled girl wields mysterious magical sword against the demons she’s seen all her life. The connection to a more obscure character in Greek mythology is interesting, and Mukesh Singh’s artwork is absolutely amazing, but I don’t see either of these factors contributing to the success of this series. This zero issue is a great supplemental piece with a great cover gallery and conceptual art section, but at the end of the day, I think Jameson’s name alone will keep Shadow Hunter afloat.

I also think that she really doesn’t have a problem with that. Something tells me she likes to be on top.

(C’mon . . . I couldn’t resist.)

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