Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Writers: Tim Seeley & Sarah Beattie
Artist: Rebekah Issacs
Publisher: Vault Comics
***Watch out, parents – some content in this review may be TOO HOT FOR MINORS***
WHAT IS IT?
A character-driven, sci-fi sexploitation adventure/dystopic vision of the near future with some lighthearted comedic elements.
Think Fantastic Four meets The Deuce and just the lightest hint of Breaking Bad.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the near future, Dr. Chris Ocampo and her band of scientists have invented a space travel machine that could do wonders for mankind. Problem is, no one wants to fund it. It's been five years since humans made contact with aliens and things didn't go well, so interest in exploring the cosmos is fairly low. Frustrated and dejected, Chris goes home and does what any normal person would do: watch porn.
As she takes notice of how depraved the pornographic industry has become in recent years, a solution comes to her. What if she could fund her space travel by charging people to watch her and her team have sex with aliens from distant and exotic worlds? Turns out, it's just sick enough of an idea to work.
Now, after some time of making alien porn, interest is beginning to dwindle once again. In order to keep their funding up, Chris has to search for something bigger and stranger to put on camera. Will she be able to get their ratings up high enough to fund their next mission, or will they get themselves killed trying?
In an industry that frequently abuses and exploits sexuality to keep readers interested, it's amazing to see a comic, that is about porn, that doesn't stoop to being exploitative or gratuitous.
Seeley and Beattie's writing is astounding. The dialogue is authentic, the jokes are well executed, and the pacing is impeccable.
For having such a ridiculous premise, the story is relevant and worthy of analysis, all without sacrificing a lightness of tone and an abundance of comedy.
Money Shot successfully navigates themes of consumer indulgence and escalation in internet culture as well as the growing divide between scientific, political, and capitalist interests.
The characters are well-defined, diverse, and have agency in their own worlds. Solutions mostly come from their own cunning and insight rather than circumstance.
Issacs's wonderfully clean, crisp art assists in the light, fun tone that sells the comic's boldest ideas. The attention to detail and exaggerated features (particularly in the aliens) is impressive and aesthetically rich.
In accordance with the subject matter, Issacs's anatomy is pitch perfect and manages to be more diverse and respectful to real-life body types than the vast majority of mainstream comics.
Russell's coloring is gorgeously layered. His distinct color palettes move the reader seamlessly through different planets, time periods, locations within them, and even emotional states.
Crank!'s lettering wonderfully contributes to the comedic timing of the writing and overall feel of the book.
There's a romantic subplot that's well written, not at all forced, and actually contributes to the narrative. This shouldn't be noteworthy, but in modern storytelling it stands out.
The book is genuinely fun. Between the jokes, smart writing, intriguing subject matter, and mastery of form, it's difficult not to enjoy this wonderfully eccentric comic.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
There's material that some may find objectionable. If you have hangups about sex and pornography, this isn't the book for you.
If it wasn't extremely obvious, this story is not intended for a younger audience. Strong language and occasional nudity are present, so don't let your kids read it unless you're a REALLY cool parent or guardian.
There's one panel that feels awkwardly copy/pasted in a non-artistic way in the first issue. This is the only aesthetic issue I found in the entire book.
Lots of puns. Not actually a problem, but if you don't like puns, even good ones, then it's going to bother you.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
I didn't expect much of Money Shot when I first picked it up; sexploitation is typically a stale and reductive genre (controversial opinion, Vamperella is terrible and cheesecake comics should probably go away forever). As it happens, I honestly haven't been this impressed with a comic in ages. Given the semi-taboo nature of the subject matter, the reliance on comedy in the writing, and the bizarre premise it sets up, it's easy to see where the cracks could have formed. But instead of an awkward, meandering mess of a story that relies too much on T&A to sell books, Money Shot is a well-written, fun, thoughtful work of art that absolutely deserves your attention.
It's smart without being pretentious, charming without losing its edge, fun without forcing itself to appeal to a lowest common denominator, and handles sexuality without becoming voyeuristic. It's easy to see yourself both in the characters and in the world that Money Shot presents. And yes, things do get sexy, which is always a bonus when handled properly.
The only reason I can find that someone wouldn't enjoy this comic is if they had serious hangups about pornography or sexuality in general. If so, that's unfortunate, but if you don't identify with the bad guys in Footloose, you'll probably have a great time with Money Shot.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Hack/Slash by Tim Seeley & Emily Stone
Panty Vigilante by Erica Batton
If you like the art:
Reaver by Justin Jordan & Rebekah Issacs
Sabrina the Teenage Witch by Kelly Thompson & Veronica Fish, et al
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Tim Seeley – Writer
Test of Time: Has been writing since 2003 for DC and Image with over 30 major titles to his name.
Multitalented: Frequently pencils his own work and collaborations as well as fully creating cover art, most notably for G.I. Joe.
Dream Team: Shares a studio and frequently collaborates with Mike Norton, who is most famous for Battlepug and Revival.
Sarah Beattie – Writer
New Face: This is her first time working on a comic, being hired for her comedic insights and sharp wit.
Name Recognition: She is best known as a Twitter comedian, frequently stoking controversy with her irreverent and political posts.
She's gone to great lengths to keep her personal information private (probably because of her outspoken public views), so little is known about her beyond her public information and, of course, twitter.
Rebekah Issacs – Artist
The bulk of her work is in drawing Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Dark Horse Comics, a job she held for years before working on DC projects and branching out into indie comics.
Animal Lover: Describes herself as a "Cat-Lady-in-Training" and loves drawing and sharing pictures of black cats on her social media.
Frequently appears as a guests as comic conventions all over the country. The next one she's scheduled for is New York Comic Con on October 3rd-6th.
Kurt Michael Russell – Colorist
Dream Team: Collaborated with Tim Seeley on all of Hack/Slash.
Hosts an Adobe Photoshop and coloring tutorial YouTube channel.
Crank! – Letterer
Prolific: He's worked on over 700 projects in his career. Wow.
Moniker: Crank! is sort of a pseudonym, as it turns out. His real name is Chris Crank, but in almost all public appearances, he's listed as Crank!
He runs a weekly podcast called "Crankcast," which discusses comics, life, and sometimes food.
Adrian F. Wassel – Editor
Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor-In-Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles
Also runs Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators in their endeavors, even for non-Vault comics work
Tim Daniel – Designer
Multitalented: Also does all the design work for Vault Comics
Inspired by others in the business: Sonia Harris, Sean Phillips, and Fonographics
Dream Team: Co-wrote Curse and Burning Fields with Michael Moreci
HOW DO I READ IT?
Click these links to pre-order:
(There is currently no way to pre-order from the publisher. We will update when this becomes possible.)
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