Bettie Page #1 Review - Failure to Launch, a Flaccid Start
After reading Bettie Page #1 my impression was that the story is throwaway and that the title is designed simply to push variant covers. Being that I actually read comics for story and art, a good cover only goes so far.
I picked up the book prior to the #Comicsgate - Cecil fallout and I'm not sure how much longer I will be supporting the publisher as I consider their actions shameful. I will give the series a fair shake as I did get baited into ordering the Bettie Page nude Variants, yes I'm that shallow.
I picked up the book because I've always been a fan of the pinup queen. Bettie Page is a fascinating woman and her disappearance from the public eye is the stuff of legend. Unfortunately the comic is so bland that I'm uncertain who the target audience is for this book besides collectors. The script actually feels like it was written for middle-aged women rather than guys that would be the obvious target demographic.
The story follows Bettie Page as she auditions for a "real movie" on location at a previously undisclosed island. An assortment of forgettable supporting characters is introduced followed by a lot of mean girls melodrama.
Aside from the stuff with Bettie, there is also a mystery setup regarding whether or not the island of Saint Gorda is cursed. It's laughed off until one of the producers dies on set.
There are several issues that prevented me from really getting into this story. One this is not Bettie Page or at least it's not the story anyone picking it up would be looking for. Bettie Page was a pioneer pin-up girl and BDSM model. This story is essentially Bettie Page's day off. Think Bettie Page when she's not doing the stuff she's known for or that you would like to see in a comic book.
This title could have easily been repurposed in the Badgirl mode of the '90s and still played it safe. The direction here is just weird. Especially considering how hard the covers try to sell the reader on Bettie's sex appeal.
Another problem is that the story is extremely generic. If this was Elizabeth Taylor #1, Marilyn Monroe #1, or Any Woman Ever #1 you could tell the exact same story with slight changes here and there. The generic nature of the book extends to the art style. Vincenzo Federici doesn't even make an attempt to capture Bettie's Likeness and at times it's hard to distinguish her in her own book.
The story and art is serviceable. Even with all of the bitching I've done I can't say this is a horrible book. Nothing is offensively bad it's just a bland mix of art and story. Bettie Page deserves better but at least the covers are nice...