No Place Like Home #1 reviewed!
And it’s goooood.

TITLE: NO PLACE LIKE HOME 1
WRITER: ANGELO TIROTTO
ARTIST: RICHARD JORDAN
COLORS: PAUL LITTLE
PUBLISHED BY IMAGE COMICS
REVIEWED BY JOHNNY DESTRUCTO

Boobs.

Honestly, that’s what grabbed my attention. I hate to be a stereotype, because I pride myself on being anything but, however…yeah. Boobs. That say “Surrender” Then…oh, it’s called “No Place Like Home”. Must be a retelling of Wizard of Oz, but with boobs. Sigh. I’ve already seen one episode of the television series Grimm, and several unfortunate episodes of the series Ever After. On top of that, I’ve been subjected to the absolutely awful Tin Man, wherein Zooey Deschanel’s huge eyes portray a modern version of Dorothy (named Dee Gee) and travels to a place just like Oz (or Outer Zone), but everything has an ironic or “cool” name twist. Ugh. Just awful.

But hey, the boob-I mean the cover looks pretty cool. Beautifully painted, and there’s something about it. The way her eyes are staring directly into yours, and she’s wearing something that could either be a smile or a snarl, but you can’t quite figure out which. But hey, it’s probably a different, less talented artist doing the interiors…Oh, lookit that! The same artist is actually responsible for the interiors!

With that, I decided I would give it a try.

Yep, sure enough, it’s a new take on the OZ story, but if the book’s title wasn’t so obvious, I’m not sure I would have picked it up. Yes some of the elements are there, a twister, a main character named Dee, a cute little puppy, (ugh, the town is called Emeraldsville) but everything else screams horror movie. The girl returns home due to a tragedy, she hangs out with girlfriends who are clearly less moral (and will therefore die), there’s a town secret that all the elders know about and hell, there’s even the town drunk, paper-bag-booze and all, screaming prophetic DOOM up and down the street. This is the beginning to a potentially great horror story.

I should also mention that while her chesticles are what initially grabbed my attention, like any quality female, there was actual substance. On one hand, I think to myself “Darlin’, you are a quality story with a solid head on your shoulders. You’re smart, you’re strong-willed and you know what you want…you shouldn’t have to stoop to showing me your cleavage on the cover. Have some self-respect. Then, on the other hand…it worked. So who am I to judge?

Speaking of the cover, the artist is not shy with a brush or the ink on it, and this book feels dark even in the light. Richard Jordan has a Steve Pugh style, but much prettier. His women are actually attractive, which is nice. I don’t know why I haven’t seen his work up until now, but I can’t wait to see more of it.

This book was just screaming for me to read it and it didn’t disappoint. It’s got mystery, gore, punk rock girls and an actual story. As this is Volume One, I’m hoping that this is going to be an ongoing series, because if it maintains the quality of the first issue, I have a great reading experience ahead of me. And so do you, go out and buy this already!

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam here, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on Party934.com alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.

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24 Comments to “No Place Like Home #1 reviewed!
And it’s goooood.”

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  1. Pink Apocalypse says:

    I absolutely adore all things Oz. Tin Man was indeed a bridge too far, but have you seen the absolutely stunning audio-visual slideshow experience on the official website? It’s a thousand times better than the actual movie, and tells a story that lets your imagination fill in the blanks. I love it.

    http://www.syfy.com/tinman/oz/

    Having said all that, Image can go fuck themselves. I can’t get past that crass, exploitative cover.

  2. jaydee says:

    haha, no I’ll go check that out…
    would it make you feel better if you bought the variant cover version? :

    http://noonemournsthewicked.com/portfolio/1-ian-churchill-variant-cover/

  3. jaydee says:

    I checked out the tinman site..pretty cool..beautiful illustrations, I wish the show was better :/

  4. Pink Apocalypse says:

    I checked out the alternate cover…it took it down a notch, but the original is so glaringly awful that I can’t get past it. Optimus once told me that Image had changed, and was putting out quality work. This doesn’t look any different from the Image I knew in the 90′s. In fact, as I mentioned before, it looks like they’ve doubled down.

    It’s worth pointing out that when I see sex-oriented imagery marketed for male appeal, I usually internalize my irritation, and just ignore it.

    But when childhood characters are targeted (typically from stories usually read more by girls) and pornified, it provokes a particularly more powerful disgust.

    Ah well. : /

  5. The WIz says:

    It was a homage to a strong female character… Here’s the link.
    http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/comic-book-forum/52633-swipe-file-comic-dragon-tattoo.html

  6. Pink Apocalypse says:

    Call it what you like. I find nothing empowering about that comic cover at all.

    If anything I find it a mockery. What with the inflated boob size & addition of a bra to push them out and make them more prominent for male gaze.

    But whatever.

  7. JayDee says:

    OOO nice catch, @wiz!
    I didn’t notice that homage at all.

    You know, when I see a cover with a male superhero in a skintight costume that shows off his musculature, it never occurs to me that it exploits the male form.

    But when we think about it, MOST comic characters are wearing skin-tight, body hugging outfits that make them look more attractive.

    Pink: when you see Superman or some other male character flexing his attributes and wearing a costume that would possibly be inappropriate in public, do you not buy it?

  8. Angelo says:

    Pink.

    I respect your opinion, completely, and I’m not trying to change your mind at all but just wanted to say a few words.

    Our intentions with this cover were to pay homage to one of my favourite characters, that of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Tattoo. One of the most fierce and strongest female characters out there.

    All the female characters in No Place Like Home have strong female roles and as the story develops they get stronger and stronger. The whole book is about three tough, confident, no crap taking girls and that won’t change.

    Most of my close friends are strong women, my favourite musician, Karen Orzolek of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is another shining example of a strong woman and all these influences have been channelled into these characters.

    However, the cover does scream boobs. But in my bias view, or rather in my mind’s eye the intention was to show that she’s oozing with confidence, she’s no one’s sex object and she’s not afraid to show it. But again, boobs is commonly, and quite obviously, the first thing people see.

    At the end of the day, as with anything of this nature, there are going to be people who like it and people who hate it. Unfortunately a book is still judged by it’s cover, and I’m sad that, had the cover been different you might have read the book and had a different view, one that maybe said, “Hey, these girls, they kick ass!”.

    Again, my intention here isn’t to change your mind about your feelings toward the cover, I just wanted to at least let you know that the thought behind it and the content of the book itself champion a strong, non over sexualised, female cast.

    Perhaps in retrospect, with the current debate in comics about how women are depicted would could have chosen a different cover, but to be honest, we were just so stunned that someone was actually going to publish out little book that it didn’t even cross our minds.

    Still, I stand by this cover. To me, I see a character that I love taking charge and not being put into a corner, she kicks ass but I freely admit that it runs a high risk of being viewed differently, and that’s cool too.

    As a side note, the next four issue’s covers are awesome, I hope they go some way to convincing you that my intentions were pure.

    And please, don’t get me started on Tin Man.

    All the best,
    Angelo/

  9. Brian the Hutt says:

    Pink,
    I don’t think i have ever seen you “internalize” your irritation on comment boards. Just saying…

  10. Pink Apocalypse says:

    @ JD:

    That argument is such complete and utter failure on so many levels, that I don’t even know where to start. It’s the intellectual equivalent of ‘why can’t there be white history month’? You’re smarter than that. If you actually believe what you’re saying, you are in desperate need of some higher education.

    Unless you were just joking. I hope you were just joking.

    @ Angelo:

    It’s your creation, it’s your prerogative, and at the end of the day, homage arguments aside, you’re trying to make money. My view is that it’s unfortunate at best, and exploitative at worst, to go for the easy titillation to sell. If the characters and story aren’t over-sexualized, then what point would going that route with the cover serve? Because tits sell. Let’s not pretend to gloss that over for what it is at its core, with abstract ‘empowerment’ talk.

    In my opinion, it doesn’t project empowerment. It screams sex object. I’m sure it will sell well for that reason (it worked for JD). So the core intention will be a success. You will make money. But I’ll pass.

    @ Brian:

    I rarely if ever leave 2nd or 3rd gear, and I’m a 5-speed.

  11. Angelo says:

    Hi Pink.

    That’s OK, you’re entitled to your opinion but the fact remains, whether you or anyone else believes it or not, that Richard and I did not set out to create a ‘tits sell’ cover. As abstract as my ‘empowerment’ talk may be, it’s the truth about how I perceive the cover.

    I am completely accepting that you feel the cover is exploitative and over-sexualized. I’d like to think people would in return equally accept that what I have said in my previous post is a true statement of how I feel, not an attempt to gloss over any ‘easy titillation’.

    My core intention was to tell a good story, not to scream sex object and if No Place Like Home ‘makes money’ based solely on one cover with some boobs on it, rather than the pages between those covers, then I’d be disappointed because there is so, so much more to it.

    There is no right or wrong here, just opinions that create healthy debate, and as long as everyone respects each others opinions we can all learn from differing points of view.

    I don’t want this to turn into an argument, so I’ll bow out, all I really wanted to do was say that behind that cover isn’t a monster trying to intentionally exploit women, just a guy who thought his cover would look cool on the shelf.

    All the best,
    Angelo

  12. jaydee says:

    @Pink: well, yes..I am partly joking, despite the hint of truth to my words. And I have to say that the cover in question is in no way comparable to a comic cover like this, nor should it be lumped in with it:

    http://comic.naughtymobi.mobi/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/eric-basadula-grimm-fairytales-return-to-wonderland-1-cover-zenescope-2008.jpg

    Clearly the cover we are discussing is more a statement of the attitude of the character while the zenescope cover is there to sell tits and ass to an audience looking to buy tits and ass.

    @Angelo: That was a top-notch first issue, sir. You guys did a fantastic job and I can’t wait to read the next one!

  13. Pink Apocalypse says:

    @ Angelo:

    At no point did I claim you were a ‘monster’. I claimed that you were following a business model that can be perceived as harmful. Please do not over-dramatize my position or my words in an attempt to nullify my point.

    @ JD:

    Ugh. You don’t actually own any of that crap, do you?

  14. Angelo says:

    Sigh.

  15. Pink Apocalypse says:

    Alright Angelo, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. No irritation here. Nobody jumping in, just you and I. Just chatting for a second.

    Do you honestly not see the profound difference between the original cover and your version?

    Try, just for a moment, to see it from a different perspective. The tattoo and piercing thing is usually a flat rejection of industry (make-up & fashion) standards of beauty. The smaller chest size is a rejection of the same industry’s standard of beauty that drives so many surgery enhancements. Now sew that up with the attitude projected, and you have something that, either deliberately or accidentally, projects an inspiring, powerful emotion in a lot of women, even if some of us won’t quite understand why.

    Now using what I’ve tried to articulate, analyze the homage. Can you see at all where I’m coming from?

  16. Angelo says:

    Hey Pink.

    I appreciate this is a subject you are passionate about, and rightly so, and I respect your position and opinion of the cover. I’ll try and clarify my intention with the previous replies because I may have miss communicated what I was aiming to say. The first thing I want to reiterate is that I’ve said all along that I agree with you and can see how the cover may, and will, be interpreted that way. That was never in question and isn’t the point I’ve been debating because I completely agree that the cover can illicit both positive and negative feelings towards it.

    None of my replies were intended to imply in any way that you were wrong to perceive it the way you have or to say that people shouldn’t be interpreting it that way. I didn’t want to try and change your mind, or do anything other than say that it genuinely wasn’t our intention to project a negative image. I only wanted to offer a little insight behind what we were trying to do with the cover as some people (not you) will over analyse it to death and make it into something much much worse that it is.

    As for my ‘monster’ comment, I purely meant that I didn’t want anyone to think I was one because of the cover. I did not mean to imply in any way that you were accusing me of being a monster. If that, and any previous comments wasn’t clear, I apologise.

    After that cover was solicited, we got lots of feedback. SOme loved it and some hated it for various reasons so Richard and I made a conciouss decision to be very careful how we presented the female characters in future covers and the book itself. You’ll see that the type of image on issue #1′s cover is never remotely repeated again. So, if it’s any consolation it has in some way gone to helping prevent that kind of imagery been used again in any books Rich and I are working on, now and in the future.

    That does not justify the original cover, I just thought that you should know we listened to people, got educated about the power these covers have and actively made sure we didn’t make the same mistake twice. The last thing we wanted to do was upset women, especially as we are so proud of the three great gals that star in our book. They really do kick ass.

    Regards,
    Angelo

  17. Angelo says:

    Jaydee.

    Forgot to say, I’m glad you liked the book and hope you stick with it. We’ve got some crazy stuff in store for Dee, Helen and my favourite, Lizzie.

    - A.

  18. Pink Apocalypse says:

    That’s very cool. Thank you.

    I’m sorry if it sounded angry, but I can’t help but think that it’s like a line that keeps getting pushed. If more people would stop a reflect on it like you have, maybe we wouldn’t have the kind of stuff that JD linked to in proving his point. Or maybe at least not as much of it.

    I’m curious about the story you have to tell, but have to stand behind my convictions. Having said that, I’m waiting with interest to see what direction you go with the presentation of any trade compilation of this series in the future. I’m more than open to buying it up if it’s something I can feel positive about.

  19. jaydee says:

    Pink: no I don’t own the comic that I linked to, but I knew just what company to look up to get a cover that proved my point accurately.

    Man, I wish I could get more lively debates like this on a more regular basis!
    It’s my fave part of comics…well that and you know…actually reading them :)

  20. thomas says:

    @Angelo: Concerning the homage to Salander, isn’t it ironic that Stieg Larsson created this fantastic, kick-ass female character and then had her get a boob job in the second book? Also, very good first issue. I’ll be back for #2.

    @jaydee: Those Wonderland covers are all about the t&a but the books are much deeper than you’d expect and have much less t&a than the covers suggest. It’s the cliche about books and covers.

    Also interesting, at least to me, is that three comics that my two comic-book-reading female friends have in common are The Walking Dead, Hack/Slash, and anything Wonderland. One also reads Grimm Fairy Tales and the other is a big Tarot Witch of the Black Rose fan, which is pretty close to porn. Three of those five always sport exploitative covers, one often does, and only one never has. Come to think of it, one my friends buys Wonderland in tpb. The next time I talk to her, I’m going to ask if that is because the trades have less t&a on the covers.

    https://www.zenescope.com/comics/6-return-to-wonderland/issues/141

  21. Pink Apocalypse says:

    I know you didn’t address me, but I have to point this out: exceptions do not discount the reality. ‘But my female friends read them’ does not invalidate sexist marketing.

    There’s a reason that only 7% (at most) of the comic buying market is female. And it’s no mystery.

  22. Lyzard says:

    If you guys want to see another opinion, then check out Ain’t It Cool’s comic reviews on Wednesday. Both JD and my review will be up and I think the combination of the two of ours really gets at the fact that this comic is great. Also, I do address the cleavage on the cover and how even as a woman, I am not offended by it.

  23. JD (Host) says:

    @pink: this is for you http://www.facebook.com/events/327677900603420/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151343506340370&set=o.269841853358&type=1&theater

    @lyz: can’t wait to read your review!

    Also, we all reviewed the comic on the newest episode of PopTards Podcast #92, you can listen to it here: http://www.poptardsgo.com/?p=3246

  24. There’s no winning this debate and I think it holds the same resonance as when we talk about race in comics.

    Comics are a business. Pink, I think you agreed with that. In business you cater your product for mass market appeal. In this case, the mass market is guys, mainly white guys and guys like boobs.

    Now, let’s take off the marketing hat and place on my artistic fedora. In my opinion there’s nothing sexy about this cover despite the showing of cleavage. Female sexuality has become weaponized in the modern age of gender equality. Gone are the days when we men stare gratuitously at the female form and people laugh it off as boys being boys. Women know this and play it to full advantage.

    Even without the words “surrender” written across this is clearly a woman who uses her hotness to every political and social advantage she can; this is also solidified by her actions in the book.
    Weakness and vulnerability are in the eye of the beholder. My sympathy to women that don’t realize you have won the battle of the sexes in spades. Male biology got you half the way there and the work of women from the start of female suffrage helped you cross the finish line.

    Also, show me a bra these days that doesn’t accentuate cleavage.

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