Sunday, 22 March 2020

In Review - 'Female Force: Stormy Daniels'

Female Force: Stormy Daniels.

Written by Michael L. Frizell and Joe Paradise.
Forward by Stormy Daniels.
Art by Joe Paradise.
Edited by Stormy Daniels, Darren G. Davis and Michael L. Frizell.
Cover by Dave Ryan.

32 pages - £3.99 (ComiXology).
Expanded edition released 18/3/2020.
Published by Tidal Wave Productions.

This is what the publishers had to say about this book.

'Stormy Daniels, film star and director, rose from the strip clubs of Baton Rouge to the top of the lucrative adult film industry. She's also a savvy media mogul and entrepreneur, turning her brand into a worldwide phenomenon while empowering women to stand up for themselves and defy those that would marginalise them. Catapulted into the mainstream as the spicy centre of a hush-money scandal involving President Donald Trump. Stormy has weathered threats, lawsuits, and politically motivated arrests by steadfastly refusing to back down in her demand to hold the President responsible for his actions.'

The Review - What the above doesn't tell you is that there is a good comic trying to get free somewhere between the covers of this intentionally salacious and News of the World reader friendly summary.

Let's start at the beginning. Tidal Wave Productions are what we used to know as Bluewater Comics (and before that were Stormfront Publishing). They have always seemed to me to be the spiritual descendants of Rock and Roll Comics who came to legally injunctional prominence in the late eighties and early nineties. This is further emphasised to me as I discover that Tidal Wave had the publishing rights to some of Rock and Roll's output for a while before (allegedly) a legal disagreement. What people tend to forget is that this business venture started as a production studio at Image Comics in the early 2000s with such titles as The 10th Muse and The Legend of Isis. There was a long road after that involving some bankruptcy issues and they are now what you can easily find on ComiXology a line of unauthorised biographies.

Throw themselves into the biographical world with no hesitation can sum up their 'Hot at the Moment' publishing practises. They, like Rock and Roll Comics, have faced their fair share of legal humps in the road but they are still out there putting books out. There's a lot to choose from! Comics on such a disparate wavelength/s that you MUST be able to find something you'll like. Who wouldn't want a comic on Sarah Palin, Margaret Thatcher, Nick Jonas, Adele, Demi Lovato, Princess Di and so on. They've also published some titles that cry out to be read from my own point of view - 'Sinbad Goes to Mars', 'War of the Elementals', 'Logan's Run: Aftermath', 'Plan 9 from Outer Space Strikes Again', 'Leprechaun' and the utterly brilliantly names 'Dirk Benedict in the 25th Century'.

Listen, I'm not having a go at this company. Sure they could be said to have gone a little 'trashy' but there's space for that in comics isn't there? I personally kind of dig that side of the tracks. Some people can be so full of their own carefully plumped self-importance that a little bit of shameless sales sauce is all that is needed to bring them with a bump back to earth.

So onto Ms Stormy Daniels. This is a book that is thematically part of the 'Female Force' series of comics that have also featured such characters as Liza Minelli, J.K. Rowling, Carrie Fisher and Ayn Rand. It is also notable that Stormy (who used to go under the name Stephanie Gregory) is a participant in this production, unlike many of the other subjects presumably have been. The story is hers and tells all the events you would expect but also swerves in the road to avoid certain other perhaps more litigious moments. She is also the writer of the introduction and co-edits this short story.

There are a couple of covers and the overly photographic version you can see above is the one I bought but you can see an animation stylised cover 'B' I the extras section at the back of this issue.

As the slightly overblown ComiXology summary suggests we do find out about Stormy's life growing up and finding her way in to being a porn performer and latterly an award winning porn movie director. But it's the interactions with the current President of the United States that takes up most of the story unsurprisingly. These are told well and I find it an interestingly and well told tale. It's done with a combination of humour and satire that tells the reader much more than if it had been just a boring interview on NPR or a piece in The Times. 

The writing captures that now infamous repetition and intonation that President Trump spews similarly on my television now daily. The writing, in my cynical opinion, also catches a slightly too naïve to be believed reaction from Stormy when she is asked to perform a (mostly) unrevealed sexual act - C'mon! You must have guessed something slightly freaky was about to happen? He wears pyjamas to dinner!

I really enjoyed the art. It had that little touch of Don Martin and could have felt at home in an issue of Mad Magazine (Rest in Peace). It hits a great caricature vibe that adds to the satirical grotesquery of Trump and makes you feel a tiny bit sordid for reading/buying this issue. The black and white style works well but the comic section is far, far too short, especially for the whopping £3.99 that I paid for it. It feels a little rushed as in the latter pages you get some illustrated text pieces and a variety of pin-ups. This really does need to be half the price - but comics huh? What you gonna do?

I really did enjoy that small section of comics however and am now off to fully research Ms Stormy Daniels...…..

You can find out more about Tidal Wave Productions at their Twitter @TidalWaveProd

Or you can buy a copy (if you have significant savings) from this overly long link 

Many thanks for reading.

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