Monday, February 05, 2007

A Bad Case of Ms. PMS

I found this little piece of blog-bait in the quarter bin and, well, how could I resist? Ms. PMS was published in 1992, with all the quality art and writing that the time of publication implies:


AAAAHH!!!! Comics” was obviously going for that coveted “Front of the back of Previews” slot - if only “AAA Aardvark” hadn’t already been taken, they might have been a force to reckon with. Or not.

This ugly, ugly comic centers on the baffling and incomprehensible origin of Ms. PMS, but first, we open with some ANGST:

That business about the emotions of others? That’s because she’s a CHICK on the RAG…get it? The humor’s so subtle as to be nonexistent in this thing. Surprisingly, there’s not much made of the whole PMS angle – I guess the guy didn’t know much about PMS, and thought that the name alone would be high-larious enough that it would buffer the paper thin plot and execrable prose. There's no question who wrote and drew it though:

There are several more full pages of text like this in this thing, including the prior page, a cutesy "self-deprecating” credits page presented in a marquee style font like this one, another page in the book that simply promises “more action to come”, and a page that just says "Ms. PMS" in 72-point font. That's the indy comic equivalent of a fourth grader reporting: "The Odyssey was a very very very very very very very very very good book that took place a very very very very very very very very long time ago". Fluff and filler spotlighting a complete lack of content - it’s like the comic version of this blog!

The rest of Ms. PMS mostly consists of full page splashes of Ms. PMS squatting, leaping, snarling, and lunging with her improbably long fingernails outstretched. There's also an agonizing origin sequence that tries to be "hardcore" but succeeds only in being laughable. Ms. PMS starts out as a language expert brought in by secret government scientists to decipher a captured spaceship. As soon as she shows up, the ship goes crazy, and some weird robot called P.A.N.T.Y. SHIELD forms and starts killing all the scientists, transforming the woman into Ms. PMS in the process:


I honestly have no idea what's happening here, but dear God is it beautiful in it's insanity:

Eventually, she hops aboard that Star-Trek-insignia-looking thing and flies away, destroying the base behind her. Now she’s all geared up to battle…something…for…some reason! She’s going to need all her super PMS to fight off the lingering menace of P.A.N.T.Y. SHIELD, who seems to have it's hands full spontaneously exploding for no particular reason:



I guess we’ll never know what happened next, because Ms. PMS never saw a second issue.

Despite the awfulness of this comic, it has one unique quality that sets it apart from the pack. If nothing else, I can honestly say that Ms. PMS is the best menstruation-powered superheroine in comics…PERIOD*.









* forgive me.

14 comments:

Spencer Carnage said...

Oh, that's just wrong.

Gaeasoldier said...

In the words of The Kids In the Hall, "I'm a man with a comfortable attitued towards menstruation!"

However...ewww.

Jason said...

I had to try to find this guy, obviously. I think he's going under "Chris Swafford" now, dropped the "topher" the "T" and the "Esquire".

I was hoping to find some follow-on goodness but it looks like he might have peaked with Ms. PMS.

Brian Hughes said...

Yeah, I think I found his website too. If it's the same guy, he got better!

Tom Foss said...

f nothing else, I can honestly say that Ms. PMS is the best menstruation-powered superheroine in comics…PERIOD*.

What about DiNA, the heroine from George PĂ©rez's menstrual mishap "Crimson Plague"?

Brian Hughes said...

From my very first entry:
"I’ll strive to always bring the finest quality poorly researched entertainment to you, the comic-blog reading public!"

Anyway, who am I to let the facts get in the way of a perfectly awful pun?

Tom Foss said...

Very nice. I guess I was just making a veiled hint that you ought to track down a copy of Crimson Plague, and pit the two against each other. Cycle War: Whose Side are You On?

...yeah, I got nothin'.

Brian Hughes said...

Actually, I think I have most of the Crimson Plague series already, I just completely spaced it's existence when I wrote this. Aside from stunning Perez art, I remember it being...not so good.

chris swafford said...

Hello! Thanks for the review. I've heard everything from good to bad. I did the book for fun actually and it sold around 15,000 copies I believe. Family had health issues and everything got turned upside down so I went into advertising design and the like - http://www.chrisswafford.com - Solicited another book back in 2005 but it only came back with orders around 1,200. It was just a breakeven amount so I cancelled. Good luck everyone!
Chris Swafford

chris swafford said...

Forgot to add...
You can see more artwork here....

http://www.chrisswafford.com/mspms

Brian Hughes said...

Hey, Chris-
Thanks for the comment. Re-reading this, I kinda cringed...damn, I was mean! I'm sure there's nothing more fulfilling than having some meatball trash a book that you worked on over 15 years ago, right? Check out Chris' website, folks - he got better!

Jef said...

Hahahaha, I HAVE THIS COMIC!! Along with the Lobo issue where the Easter Bunny hires him to assassinate Santa Claus. Ah, those were the days of trife and Cherry Poptart.

The Outsider said...

LOVED these two books when they came out in the 90s, and was disappointed when the 2005 revival was canceled.

Dave Green said...

I worked with Chris at a local newspaper around the time he did this comic. Suggest you also check out something he did called Condom man. He told me he wrote Ms. PMS in an hour while while watching Letterman.