A new series begins with “She’s the Ransom”

Little Script and Bespoke Art: The Asianizer

It has been a while since I’ve had a comic which I’ve written myself across my little network of sites, but I now have something to offer. “She’s the Ransom” isn’t Erotic Mad Science. It’s something more like erotic horror. Or an attempt at a contemporary realization of the old-fashioned shudder pulps. Or it’s a dark vision of things that are soon to come. The blurb I wrote for the copy deposited at the Internet Archive reads as follows:

In a near-future dystopia, a gang of rebels abduct a rich, politically-influential man and his wife and use them as actors in a macabre piece of political theater. This work is a short comic book. It contains violence and explicit sexual content and is not suitable for minors.

Clearly this comic is born out of a deep rage that began to rise in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 and hasn’t subsided since. I do not apologize for this. Making art means you need to go into your dark places and drag forth what you find there. (If you can’t bring yourself to do that, perhaps you oughtn’t be writing.) I shall however give you due warning; if you’re triggered by sexual violence or political anger, you might want to give this little comic a miss. Since it’s not appropriate for Erotic Mad Science, I’ve found it a home at my dark-art site Infernal Wonders. The post-up is unusually rich, with navigation links, script material, and also available downloads of the comic in PDF, CBZ, and EPUB formats.

Another note: “She’s the Ransom” is the first is a series of new comics which I’m calling the Fabulae Atroces Fausti. I expect there will be others soon, perhaps a bit more cheerful than this one, if still, as the name suggests, rather shuddery.

6 thoughts on “A new series begins with “She’s the Ransom”

  1. I mean, I know you warned everyone and all, and I know this site usually has dark content and whatnot…but I have to say that was just kinda sad and mean. Regardless of whatever that woman may represent…that was just kinda horrible. I don’t know if I’d wish that on my worst enemy. I’m sorry I just need to say that, I don’t think I’ll be looking into that series in the future if the content is anything like that.

    • I don’t enjoy having to be this angry every day, day after day, but here we are. Better to pick up a pen than a gun.

      • But who am I supposed to sympathize with in this narrative? These terrorists who basically humiliated and then murdered a woman who’s only crime as far as I can see (within the context of this narrative) is that she’s rich and arrogant? We are told a bunch of stuff about her in the beginning but none of it is really confirmed with anything we actually *see*. Sure we are informed of *inaction* she may have taken, but we also have no context for it or explanation. This is a problem in this day and age; the jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst about others in today’s society. Someone was rude to you in a single interaction? Oh they must be an asshole/racist/sexist, it can’t possibly be because they were dealing with emotional baggage that day, or had something awful happen to them just prior, or god forbid you were doing something just as rude to them that you were unaware of.

        I’m sorry but if you’re attempt was to show me someone completely deserving of this level of violence, you failed. Why didn’t you have the majority of the story devoted to building up how awful she was so that when this finally happened it feels well deserved instead of a horrifying and brutal crime? There are a multitude of explanations for her actions and choices and many of them do not involve her deserving this. Am I *supposed* to find her murderers to be the evil ones? Because I also don’t know anything about them!

        This entire story lacks any kind of context to make it an effective political message of any kind. It just comes across as a mean spirited rape and murder fantasy. Which perhaps it is. And yes, picking up a pen is many orders of magnitude better than picking up a gun. The message here is muddled and unclear. And before you think this is just the reaction of someone who is upset at seeing such dark themes, let me tell you, its not. Your story here relies to heavily on the audience filling in the blanks for context. Perhaps there are obvious real life analogues, but that doesn’t mean I will plug them in the same way you did when writing it. You have relied to heavily on people assuming certain things you’ve implied, and this is an incomplete and just fucked up narrative because of it. Who is this president for example? I can assume a certain one that is all on our minds, but it could just as easily be a different one if this was a different era.

        Right now the only timeless message contained in this is that there are people that think it’s ok to hurt others based only on political ideology. I get that you are venting, and that’s fine, I don’t have to like the narrative that you create. But I really just want you to know that this *comes across* as just venting. If that was your intent than you succeeded. If you were attempting to do anything of more depth, you failed.

        • I think the best answer to the question of who anyone is to sympathize with in this story is “no one.” And while I realize that many readers think that a in a “good” story characters get what they deserve, I do not share this view. Not every story is about deciding which side to root for. However unpleasant a person Laura Bell might conceivably have been, my point was not that she somehow deserved to have happen to her what happened to her. To the extent that there’s a political message here, it might well be “well, that’s terrorism for you,” which, if you think about, is just a special instance of “that’s politics for you.”

          If you think it’s implausible to write a story like this, think of something like Thomas Ligotti’s short novel My Work Is Not Yet Done. Who in that novel are we supposed to sympathize with? Frank Dominio, who conceives and executes grotesque acts of revenge against seven of his vile co-workers? His (literally) monstrous boss Richard? The seven swinish co-workers themselves? There are almost no sympathetic characters in the whole story at all (aside perhaps from the minor exceptions of two police detectives and Frank’s landlady). And the book doesn’t really have a message, except perhaps “that’s reality for you, and boy howdy is it horrible.” Should be a terrible story, right? But it won the Bram Stoker Award.

  2. Well that was dark, but pretty much what I expected in the end. I am curious about one element that I find stories like this always seem to have that I’ve never entirely understood. Can you touch on why you think it is that men are fascinated with the idea of the woman eventually enjoying coerced sexual relations as the ultimate humiliation?

    • I don’t know why. I wish I did. It’s common just to say it’s misogyny and leave it at that, although that to me has the feel more of sticking a label on the phenomenon rather than explaining it. It might just as well be a sublimation of various male anxieties — most prominently, the fear of being dominated oneself by another somehow-superior man (something like this might lie at the base of so-called “cuck” porn). It might in some contexts (such a this) a compelling fantasy of revenge against some other hated man or men by taking “his” women, humiliating them not just by forcing the woman into submission but making them like it (“cuck” porn internally experienced from the perspective of the one doing the cuckolding, rather than the one being cuckolded — how superior must you be if you can take a woman who “belongs” to your enemy but make fall for you in spite of your vicious treatment of her?). It might even be a sublimation of the fear of death itself, somehow facing the ugly and frightening fact that you are going to die and making it tolerable by eroticizing it (consider — why are there so many entrants in the “Death and the Maiden” genre of visual art, or a related one which I sometimes label embracing death?)

      All this is conjecture, of course. It could be any of these things, or any combination of them, or none. If psychological science advances perhaps someday we will know.

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