blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Birdland (1990) #3


I think this issue of Birdland is the best? I mean, I haven't really worked out what constitutes "best" for a porn comic, but Gilbert Hernandez has got a lot of variety in the art here. Like, combinations-wise. Literal orbiting orgy with issue's entire cast.

Though not the series's cast. One of the characters from last issue has disappeared.

It's also the best written, but for some particular reasons. First, there aren't any of the bickering siblings scenes for Petra and Fritz. So Fritz doesn't come off like a villain. Also, it's about people with their crushes, so some of the drama has this hint of sincerity. Finally, there's a transactional nature to the sex to further the plot.

Obviously, it's unclear how much effort Beto's putting into the story over the art.

But there are some excellent dramatic moves in the issue. The ending is a deus ex machina out of Plan 9—everyone just follows everyone else onto a flying saucer, but Beto hasn't got the pages to show everyone filing on, so there's some surprise instead. And there's an epilogue suggesting a bit more playfulness with the narrative, along with an Errata Stigmata appearance. Not really a cameo because she's just there for texture and effect.

All told, Birdland does have enough character drama for a comic. Almost. The epilogue changes things a bit and skips a resolve for the existing cast as we know them… but there's enough drama.

Like, Petra and Simon not realizing they're perfect for each other is tragic. Their star-crossed crushes on their siblings-in-law are sad. It's fine. They're very sympathetic. Well, Simon's sympathetic.

However, sympathetic character drama is also not the point of Birdland. Birdland's about the porno, not the story, regardless of the epilogue's potential profundity, which seems to be Beto flexing philosophical at the very last minute when he doesn't have to do anything else with the material.

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