"Only the strong become dominant. The weak ones are killed off." - Big Bitch
On the planet Nemesis females dominant, some of which are even human. Males are in short supply, which causes Big Bitch to lead a hunting party of females to raid the neighbouring tribe known as Klakal. Formerly known as Little Bitch, Savage Bitch has proven her worth and is included on the three day trek across the primitive landscape. Not everyone is going to survive to reach the Klakal village, and when they do the danger level simply escalates. And if getting to their destination seemed hard it's got nothing in comparison to the journey home. At least the raiders will have some males to show for their troubles.
In the second story included in the graphic novel Big Bitch, Savage Bitch, and their supporters are usurped by Blood Bitch and her cronies, with Big Bitch et al being forced into exile. They head north to find a new place for their emerging tribe but naturally have to overcome the local fauna and flora as well as competing tribes. Adding a new winkle to the savage landscape is a party of space explorers who have crashed landed on what is a deadly world.
I first ran across the work of SCAR (Steve Carter & Antoinette Rydyr) on the pages of Decay magazine where they were regular contributors for a quite a number of issues. The SCAR comic strips had this marvellous retro Sci-Fi feeling to them, albeit from a distinctly surreal angle. Savage Bitch is the first graphic novel from the SCAR team, with the publication seeing the first ever re-print of the serialised comic strips from Picture Magazine circa 1996 - 1998 in a single volume. Needless to say anyone into retro Sci-Fi has already left the review to go order a copy of the novel.
Still with me? - cool lets dig into the novel and see what SCAR tissue might be hiding between the covers. We get two full story arcs in the book, In the Land of the Buku Buku and The Fury of Blood Bitch, which fill out the 108 pages of full colour panels. Each story is self contained and can be read without reference to other SCAR publications, though to be honest I would be keen on a second graphic novel to continue the story from the conclusion of the second story arc in the first novel.
While both story arcs are on the simple side of the sketch pad, they involve journeys, subsequent dangers, and half naked chicks charging around, there's a huge amount of imagination in the stories that raises the tone beyond the simple quest that dominates this sort of publication. While the panels are pretty much on the retro side of the spear, thinking Turok Son of Stone and another series I can't recall the name of, there's just this huge amount of originality to the concept being displayed that you get carried away by the surreal brilliance of it all.
When we are informed that the planet Nemesis is dominated by females it doesn't begin to describe just how that domination is going to be unravelled. Our fearless "Bitch" hunters are at least human, apart from one other tribe in the second story arc the other tribes are far from human in form. Think demonic entities and you are pretty much on the mark. The amount and nature of sacrifices conducted by the demonic entities would have an Inca priest up chucking his lunch. Which of course is pretty cool, what we dialled in for right? I was actually wondering if we hadn't run across the birthplace of Lovecraft's elder gods! And that folks is a complement of the highest order, and don't ask have no idea if SCAR were or are influenced by H.P's nightmare visions.
But the fun don't stop there, about every species of fauna are recognisably humanoid, if we exclude a couple of species that break that mode. Not sure if Doc Moreau hasn't been on a rampage, but there's some very original creations populating the pages of Savage Bitch. Naturally enough it's a blood bath when the differing creatures come into contact with each other; the novel is simply teaming with herds being culled and mass death and destruction. It all adds up to a pretty invigorating read that will keep you glued to the page with a death like grip on the book, this is not one you'll want to put down till you have read it and examined each panel cover to cover.
While the art is captivating, capturing a real retro feel that simply demands attention, it perfectly matches the script. As stated every panel is in colour and there's a distinct 1950s feel to the drawing that should find favour with most readers. Please note I mentioned half naked chicks already, but there's also a fair amount of sex going down that along with the violence deservedly demands a "Mature Adult" warning on the cover, which possibly means we have just lost our younger readers who have no doubt rushed off to order a copy.
I was as pleased as punch, whatever that means, to receive a review copy of Savage Bitch out of the blue. It was on our radar after first being mentioned over at darkoz.com.au, so a fair amount of anticipation was rippling through the team on just what the novel might contain. Got to say anticipation was left withering and dying in the dust as the book more than lived up to the promise if held, it freaking rocked the house down, built it back up, and then rocked it down again. Wholly original, imaginative, and beyond expectations Savage Bitch simply has to be read and savoured. Full recommendation kids, I'm now eagerly eyeing up the SCAR back catalogued, it's not often you get this amount of talent arriving unheralded on our desk top. Savage Bitch is one graphic novel you are going to be required to read.
Strangely I'm not finding an online ordering option for Savage Bitch so go check your local comic emporium. You can find more Carter and Rydyr mayhem at the official SCAR site. Okay that's about it for me, now rack off as I want to have yet another read of Savage Bitch.