*Black Kiss #2 is for mature readers only.
The late eighties in Los Angeles, California. A time of excitement and mystery. In 1988 Sonny Bono is elected mayor of Palm Springs, Coming to America is making audiences across the country laugh, and Ronald Reagan is bumbling around trying to find Iran on the map. An exciting time, indeed. Amidst all of this excitement takes place the story of Black Kiss by Howard Chaykin, one of the most controversial comics of its time. Any story involving pre-op trannies, vampires, sex, stars of the silent film era, the Vatican, prostitution, sex, murder, cults, and hard-edged noir crime makes for a compelling story. There’s also quite a bit of sex.
Initially published by Vortex, the comic found a few avenues of initial resistance. The publisher’s usual printer flat out refused to debase their ink into such filth. It was considered pornography in some circles. Vortex decided to distribute the book in plastic bags, so that younger readers and older readers alike may not fall victim to such depravity by just perusing the walls of their favorite comic shop. If you’ve ever been alive, you know that something you aren’t supposed to look at makes you want to all the more.
Such was Black Kiss. Over twenty years later sees the release of Black Kiss #2. As it is known to go, #2 is commonly indicative of a sequel. Black Kiss #2 throws you for a loop from the title alone, as it is a prequel to later events.
1906 New York, a time and place where the entrance to the new world changed from what was a thin broth to a true melting pot. Hard lives, cramped living spaces, and lower class standing in general tends to bring mixed backgrounds together in a common difficulty. While the rich have many distractions from their otherwise carefree lives, the working class had but one respite to escape to: the picture show. The silent film era is gaining steam and any Joe off the street can take his honey out for a treat to take them away from the daily grind. It becomes not just an hour’s worth of entertainment, but escape. More devout members of the silent screen congregate daily than believers attend mass on any given Sunday. Tantalizing them with thoughts of better lives and companions and rife with sexual innuendo, the moving picture show becomes the new Mecca. Is a new place to worship enough to bring about a new deity? Future issues may tell.
Chapter two gives a bit of insight to the past of a major character from the first Black Kiss series. Aboard the Titanic, a young Charles Kenton wishes to lose his virginity and innocence, to come to Hollywood and become a star. Some things never change, no matter what era you live in. Moments away from achieving half of his goal, she starts to go down on him . . . and they said that the Titanic was unsinkable. Desperate to flee and survive, he is pulled into a state room by a familiar-looking succubus who plans to make his dreams, no matter how dark they turn, come true.
Give it a read. You can thank me later.