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Hard Story

Written by Horacio Altuna and illustrated by Jorge González
Heavy Metal
48 pages, $12.95
ISBN: 1932413561

When I still worked in the Journal's Seattle office, there was a game I liked to play whenever a new Heavy Metal comics album arrived, which I called "Countdown to Titties." It seemed like an iron-clad rule: The longer it took for a given cartoonist to bare his first female breasts on the page, the more said cartoonist was likely to rely on things like chartacterization and plot development. In all the time I spent in Seattle, this rule was never, ever proven wrong.

 

Everything you need to know about Hard Story in four panels, save that there's copious cartoon violence, sex and nudity involved as well. ©2006 Horacio Altuna and Jorge González.

 

The latest oversized, hardcover album from Heavy Metal to come my way is Horacio Altuna and Jorge González' Hard Story, which centers around a pimp who cannot stand to see his principal moneymaker have sex with other men, and consequently (and without her knowledge) knifes her johns to death after they've had their way with her. The first titties appear on the book's very first page.

You have no idea how tempting it is to end this review with that last sentence.

It's forty-eight pages in length, so I've essentially just given you the full "plot" of the book. Oh, there's a resolution, of sorts, but it's no more satisfying than virtually anything else about this empty little button-pusher (I say virtually only because González' artwork isn't bad at all, and would be a fine fit to a better story, which is to say any story other than this one). One has to wonder at what sort of emotionally addled buffoon would spend money on a book such as this, but since the first answer to such a question invariably has to be "Kevin Eastman," and since my employers already have their legal hands full right now, perhaps it's a question that should remain unasked. Instead, I'll merely note that books like this one give European comics a bad name, and then put this copy of Hard Story away and end this review before I think about it enough to find myself remembering this awful book a year from now.

 

This essay appeared on the then-website of The Comics Journal sometime between 2006 and 2008.

 

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