Real Talk – Sexuality in Comics

People complain when characters are too sexualized in comics. Some do this complaining justly and others unjustly. When characters become objects or body parts like in porn or advertisements for products then I see reason to be angry. When it comes to risqué outfits that is another breed of topic.

Are there character outfits created with the purpose of the male gaze? Yes, of course there is. Are those characters any less strong or badass because of that? No, I think not. The comics industry has this new scary trend where they are covering up every inch of their female characters so there is no backlash from those crying “sexism” or about inappropriate outfits. This is unhealthy, sexuality should not be shameful or shunned because people do not understand it or fear it. Sexuality can be positive and embraced. One should never deny a person or character their right to express their own individual self-expression through sexuality or otherwise. Characters like Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Purgatori are criticized because of their outfit choices but their appearance is apart of who they are and what makes them iconic characters. They are strong women who do not care what you think and dress how they want because, shocker, they LIKE it! I applaud those companies that choose to stick by their characters and refuse to change apart of them because of those out there who believe women should not be sexual beings with their own autonomy.

Do not get me wrong, I love characters in body suits but only if it is something the character would wear. Could scantily clad women also wear them? Sure, but not in the long run. People might think their outfits are not just too revealing but also unrealistic. To this I laugh because that is part of the appeal. Are these women putting themselves in more danger by being so exposed? Yes, and that is what makes them so badass. Do they ever get injured? Yes, but it is rare because these women know they can hold their own. Plus these women can take a few injuries here and there and still take you down, did I not say they were badass? We are talking about warriors here, not damsels in distress. Take for instance Gamora the Marvel character. Her tag line is that she is the most dangerous woman in the galaxy and she has run around in minimal clothing for most of her comics career. Now she has received the coverage treatment (though it is tasteful) but I do not see anyone covering up her fellow male guardian Drax.

Have you ever thought about how difficult it might be to fight in a full body suit? Yea less armor may be less sensible but it is breezier, not as heavy, and easier to maneuver around especially if you are trained in specific fighting art forms. I have always thought about how Batman’s suit is so unrealistic, no way anyone in real life would wear that heavy suit of armor around and swing around a city.

The Bottom line is that both men AND women should be free to express themselves however they see fit. Comic characters should not have to give up what makes them iconic because people do not understand the difference between sexuality and sexualizing something. You could sexualize ANYTHING, it is all a matter of the person and their perspective. Not everything that you find sexy or sexualized is something that I sexualize. There are predators out there that sexualize inappropriately but that does mean you are like them. Sexuality is a form of expression and everyone should be free to express it however they want to, it is our human right to do so. Calling a character a “slut” is no different than slut shaming a real woman, it is wrong and a hinderance to freedom of expression.

I am a feminist. I went to college and graduated with a Bachelors in Women and Gender Studies. I am aware that my sexuality is not your sexuality. I am also aware of how important sexuality is to someone’s identity. I am not ashamed of anyone expressing themselves. If someone wants to cover themselves up then I say go for it. If someone wants to wear minimal clothing then I say go for it. People will sexualize you whether you wear a body suit or nothing at all, that is the real problem.

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Purgatori Reading Order

When I first began reading Chaos! I noticed that the reading order was something I would have to figure out for myself. I would like to present you a Purgatori reading order list so that burden (though not difficult) is not something you would have to carry. I hope to eventually do one for other characters such as Evil Ernie, Lady Death, and Chastity.

Below I will have listed EVERY appearance of the Blood Goddess, including illusions or brief cameos (titles not necessary to read will be in italics).


CHAOS!

  • Evil Ernie: Revenge #1-4
  • Lady Death: Between Heaven and Hell #1-4
  • Chaos Quarterly #1
  • Purgatori: The Vampire’s Myth #-1, #1-3
  • Evil Ernie: Baddest Battles (That Never Happened)
  • Purgatori: The Dracula Gambit
  • The Omen #1 & 5
  • Evil Ernie Monthly (Vampire’s Vengeance) #1-3
  • The Omen: Vexed
  • Purgatori Monthly #1-7
    • Lady Death #10
  • Chastity Rocked #1-2, & 4
  • Smiley: The Psychotic Button #1
  • Purgatori: Goddess Rising #1-4
  • Armageddon #1-4
  • Lady Death vs. Purgatori #1
  • Judgement War #2
  • Dark Millennium #1
  • Purgatori vs. Vampirella
  • Purgatori: Empire #1-3
  • Purgatori vs. Chastity #1
  • Untold Tales of Purgatori #1
  • Purgatori 1/2
  • Lady Death: Tribulation #1-4
  • Purgatori vs. Lady Death #1
  • Purgatori: Love Bites #1
  • Lady Death: River of Fear #1
  • Lady Death: Alive #1
  • Purgatori: The Hunted #1-2
  • Purgatori: Darkest Hour #1-2
  • Purgatori: Mischief Night #1
  • Purgatori: Heartbreaker #1
  • Purgatori: God Hunter #1-2
  • Purgatori: God Killer #1-2
  • Purgatori Re-imagined #1
  • Dark Alliance #1-3 (4-5 unpublished)
  • Purgatori Ravenous Ashcan

Devil’s Due Publishing

  • Purgatori #1-5

Dynamite Entertainment 

  • Chaos #1-6
  • Purgatori: Hell and Back #1-5
  • Chaos! Holiday Special
  • Swords of Sorrow: Chaos! Prequel
  • Swords of Sorrow #1-6
    • Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade & Kato
    • Swords of Sorrow: Pantha & Jane Porter
  • Alice Cooper vs. Chaos! #1-5

This list will be updated with new character appearances.

Life Goal Complete – Meeting Jim Balent

Like I always say, when I think of Purgatori I think of Jim Balent. On account of this Jim has always been someone I was hoping to one day meet. I received my chance this past Sunday on August 2nd, 2015 at Beachead Comics in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

It all began with a post Jim made saying he would be going to the next Beachead anniversary party. For one reason or another I was not able to go previous years and so I was ecstatic when this new opportunity presented itself. I drove with my best friend (who is a Catwoman fan) two hours from our small state of Delaware.


Meeting Jim


When Jim finally arrived at Beachead, with his lovely wife Holly, we were overwhelmed with joy but calm. After he chatted with some familiars we walked up to him and introduced ourselves. I had previously messaged Jim and when he asked if he knew us I quickly and pointedly replied “I’m Purgatori and she is Catwoman” without thinking. He replied “Ohhh!!” and instantly knew who we were. We chatted with him for hours as he signed our comics and sketched our drawings. It was a fantastic and euphoric experience, this was one of my most pleasant meetings with someone working in the comic industry. He told us secrets and stories and we left after those three hours wildly happy and giddy. We had so many hopes in meeting Jim and it was everything we imagined and more.

Unfortunately we are not sure when we will next see Jim. Beachead Comics is closing at the end of the month because their owner passed away recently. It was sad to hear the news and it felt almost like being at a funeral when Jeff’s (the owner) wife talked about the shop’s end. We had never experienced a shop closing before and it was heartbreaking. The other cons that Jim went to in the past were Pittsburgh and San Diego. Sadly, he will no longer be going to Pittsburg and San Diego is a bit out of our reach travel wise. We counted ourselves lucky that we were able to see Jim this year and we hope to one day do so again.


Signing


I brought many things to get signed. There were The Vampire’s Myth comics (including my newly acquired Black Onyx edition!), two oversized chrome cards, two Lady Death centerfolds from Evil Ernie: Revenge, and two Purgatori posters. Needless to say I am a very happy person right now.


Free Sketch


Jim was also doing free quick sketches at Beachead. This was an amazing opportunity for me to get a sketch by one of my favorite artists and at no expense! I feel extremely grateful that he took the time and effort to sketch this beauty out. It actually took him roughly an hour to do mine and I am honored that he put as much effort in this drawing as he did, I cannot thank him enough!

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Purgatori in Cosplay!

For some time I had an idea where I thought it would be cool to have Purgatori on different sketch covers other than her own. This spurned the thought that she could be trying on outfits of different superheroines or villains. I came up with a list of five characters that I knew I wanted, these included Wonder Woman, Black Cat, Medusa, Spider-Woman, and Harley Quinn. I liked the idea so much that I began thinking about how I would go about this. Would it be different artists for each cover? Then I came across an instagram account called DustinsArt and I immediately fell in love with his art style and knew he was the right person for the task at hand. Upon contact I was pleased that he was interested and veryyy reasonably priced, I took a chance and commissioned all five of the covers I had presently wanted. I am ecstatic to finally be able to showcase these beauties in all their glory and satisfied that I picked the right person for this fun project.

You can find Dustin on Instagram!

I hope you enjoyed these covers and are as impressed with Dustin as I am! He is as talented as they come and I cannot wait to see what more he produces in life.

QUESTION: What character should Purgatori cosplay in the future?

East Coast Comic Con 2015 Commissions

Asbury Park Comic Con has been officially upgraded to East Coast Comic Con at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. I loved Asbury, smaller conventions always feel special in a way that bigger ones cannot. Yet, I have to say that the Meadowlands was a pleasant surprise. The venue was much larger and contained to one floor, there seemed to be more creators, artists, vendors and exhibitors this year. I found a lot of comics I had been looking for – and at fantastic prices! I did not expect to get many commissions, but I ended up adding two at the convention along my already two pre-show commissions, totaling four of the Blood Goddess. I am excited to present them here!

Maria Danalakis

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Maria is an artist whose work I have adored since I purchased her Huntress print at Baltimore Comic Con 2013. I have since commissioned Batwoman and now I have requested a Purgatori piece. She has this cute pin-up style to her work that I really admire and love to look at, commissioning her is really a no brainer. I immediately fell in love with this commission, she did an amazing job and I cannot get over how stunning this piece is!

Here is a link to the artists Facebook, Etsy, and Website.

Jeff Shultz 

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When picking people for commissions, particularly because I typically focus on one character, I like to get a range of different art styles. When I saw that Archie Comics artist, Jeff Shultz, was attending East Coast I immediately thought of him as a candidate to portray the Blood Goddess. I was blown away with the commission upon receiving it and was excited to see her even in a battle pose! This type of artist style is exactly why I seek different artists to commission Purgatori.

Here is a link to the artists Facebook.

Ayşegül Sınav

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Ayşegül is a comic book artist from Istanbul, Turkey, whom is about to graduate from The Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in NJ. I met her at the convention and was immediately entranced by looking upon her portfolio of gorgeous artwork and pages of panels. I really think she will be illustrating for a major comic company in the near future. I was excited to commission someone directly at the convention and so Ayşegül became the perfect person to do so – and I was very pleased with how this piece of art turned out!

Here is a link to the artists Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Website.

Varga Tamás

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Varga is an artist from Hungary who is also attending The Kubert School, and attended the con with Ayşegül, along with another fellow student. I initially went to their table when I saw his beautiful head sketches and knew I had to have one and I am very happy with the results. I really like the additional detail of the bone structure to Purgatori’s wings, I think that is an important quality for the Blood Goddess for illustrators to remember, they are really one of the most terrifying things about her.

Here is a link to the artists Facebook, TwitterTumblr, Instagram, and Website.

Hope you enjoyed these commissions! My next convention is First State Comic Con in June, this is a much smaller convention and I only have one commission lined up. After that I have Baltimore Comic Con in September, I am really excited for that!

Guide to Ashcans – Purgatori Edition

Ashcans are typically used for copyright purposes. Companies use them to secure titles, characters, and concepts so that no one else uses them. Comic ashcans typically showcase work in progress issues, which often come in the form of black and white pages on different quality paper. They are usually produced in fewer quantities and therefore they can become quite the collectible. CHAOS! used them very frequently in order to give fans a taste of what was coming. These were often produced in the forms of Standard and Premium editions, the latter being the rarer.

Being that I collect all things Purgatori, these collectibles are something I could not pass up. Beyond just collecting these, they serve a purpose that holds similar to when writers release scripts (a connection to the writing and character). Some ashcans just display WIP pictures but others also include things like preliminary sketches and actual pages from scripts. They are quite the collectible to anyone who is a fan of a character and very much worth investing in. Now this does not mean you should pay crazy money for these things, often you will find them for a decent price if you just look hard enough. If you ever need help searching for something Purgatori related, just let me know and I can help you in your journey. Finding rare issues, including ashcans, has become a skill of mine.

Below are the Purgatori ashcans that I have been able to find. For the most part, this should be all of them but surprises do happen. 🙂

Now I want to showcase some of the interiors I have picked out from various ashcans. I choose a variety of different images that give you a conclusive idea of what to expect if you decide to purchase an ashcan (just remember that not all ashcans are the same and some just include WIP panels).

I hope you enjoyed this mass post about ashcans! As a collector, they are well worth the purchase – also the limited quantities make them all the more desirable!

Here is an eBay link to some Purgatori ashcans available.

Cover/Interior Artists include Al Rio, Romano Molenaar, Fabiano Neves, & Adriano Batista.

Artist Spotlight – Jim Balent!

When the image of Purgatori comes into mind, Jim Balent’s depiction is what I usually imagine. There is something about his depiction of the Blood Goddess that is very sentimental and one I hold very dear to my heart. While I enjoy and love other artist’s working on Purgatori, Balent is my hands down favorite. I only wish he was able to do more with her, but I am more than content with The Vampire’s Myth.

Here is a link to his Facebook and Website.

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NOTE: This page will be updated when new works of art appear by the artist.