Writers: Marc Deschamps, Sara Woolley, Vita Ayala / Artists: Mindy Lee, Rossi Gifford, Sara Woolley / Image Comics
Another round of Bitch Planet Triple Features, another web of stories to get lost in!
Our first story titled “Life of a Sportsman” written by Marc Deschamps, illustrated by Mindy Lee and colored by Leonardo Olea is a colorful affair that takes place surrounding an athlete and the heavy hitting sport of Megaton. In the Bitch Planet universe our group of inmates that we’ve come to know and love up take part in a version of Megaton but here at home, on Earth, it is a sport of the men and it is ever popular. From the first panels in we’re presented with the player to watch, Mitch Herman, as he’s followed throughout the years — the sports coverage spanning his professional and personal life. It’s a vivid tale on sports culture and toxic masculinity that may have some readers blink as they may think about certain individuals from recent news stories. The art produces big, hulking figures and lots of great panels in time skips with the commentators meshing it all together.
“Body Mods” by Sara Woolley presents a society that focuses on the female body and cosmetic surgery and of course it becomes body modification to the EXTREME. First panel in we’re shown our main character as she gets ready for a day out to meet with a ‘friend’ for a spa day. It quickly evolves into a trip to a building filled with more and more outlandishly fashioned mods of the body: wings, clinched waists, cat ears, breast lifts — you name it. We see how the cosmetic surgery industry is aligned with the beauty standards of the time and women keep pushing the envelope further and further. With each page we see more and more bizarre ideas, yet it’s normalized. Female friendships are shaped around body mods too: the main character and her former good friend’s relationship is revealed to be one where they cared about each other greatly and marked the passing of time with their surgeries. They bonded over them until they had a falling out. On the final pages we see an advertisement that serves as a possible warning but also pokes fun “Body Mods: Be Extraordinary” — how far do we push women to near impossible standards of beauty and how do we ostracize and inconvenience them for participating, or refusing to??
Womenfolk who rebel is not a new theme in the Bitch Planet series nor the Triple Feature stories. Here our main character in “To Be Free,” written by Vita Ayla and illustrated by Rossi Gifford, is a dancer, a ballerina, probably classically trained. She dazzles and is very talented. Her talents have caught the attention of a group and that is how the story transitions to her masked, clad in black, and vaulting with the grace of an assassin into a well guarded facility to steal something. As the story progresses and our heroine ventures deeper and deeper we start to get an idea of what’s held in this building: censored items and blacklisted objects of all kinds. We see everything from artwork showcasing the female body to some of my favorite panels of the short where our timely thief uncovers some of the greatest speeches and written pieces from American history. This is a superb comic on what censorship looks like and what happens when what’s needed the most is desperately sought out.
While I’ve enjoyed many of the Triple Feature stories and think it’s been a great way to showcase other creatives in the comics industry, I look forward to getting back to the main story back with Kam and the crew.
Fancy yourself Non-Compliant too? Find BNP’s other reviews of Bitch Planet here.