Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Science Addiction: Tales To Offend (Dark Horse, 1997)

At first glance, this issue of Tales To Offend #1 looks like it might have existed during EC Comics' science-fiction heyday, right along with Weird Fantasy. But this is not the case. Released by Dark Horse in 1997, this one-shot issue is actually the brainchild of a man named Frank Miller. Yep...the same man responsible for those amazing runs on titles like Daredevil, Batman and Sin City.

This comic is special in the fact that most fans of Miller's work don't even know that it exists, due to being released under very little fanfare. Tales to Offend features two stories (and one Sin City story, "Daddy's Little Girl") introducing titular space hero Lance Blastoff, who while not fooling around with Slutbots or barbecuing aliens for lunch is busy saving damsels in distress on a world full of ravaging Dinosaurs.

The first story kicks off with a female tour guide of sorts, leading a group of "tourists" around a world called the Dinosaur Planet. The tour guide speaks of a world without pollution or greed while huge dinosaurs hover nearby. A T-Rex suddenly chomps on the tourists right after the guide proclaims the dinos live in peace...

Enter Lance Blastoff to save the woman while she begs him to spare the killing of the hungry T-Rex. Not only does Blastoff "get off" on killing the beastie, he quickly turns the woman into a dino-meat addict after she gets a whiff of fresh cooked T-Rex. The story ends as Blastoff proclaims, "Remember Kids! Eat Meat! And Lots of it! It's Nature's Perfect Food!"

The next story begins as the woman begs Blastoff to stay with her after a one-night stand. Having gotten what he wanted, Lance takes off and lets another Dinosaur "wine and dine" her...Miller really goes no holds barred with his hero's antics and nothing is held sacred. Personally I was never near offended enough (or at all) to understand the meaning behind this comic's title, but if someone looks closely enough it should be there.

Eventually Blastoff reaches his ship, the Starship Phallica...where his legion of "Slutbots" just happen to be waiting to vie for his attention. A distress call comes in from an alien ship, and Lance debates whether to ransack them for their alien weaponry or use the helpless aliens as food for his next Superbowl Party. The cuteness of the aliens wears on Blastoff though, and the story ends as Lance takes the aliens to the "Mall Planet" and sells them off as pets to happy families. Everyone is happy...except for the now lobotomized aliens.

This is a very lighthearted romp for Miller, and while the humor is tongue-in-cheek Miller is able to evoke through illustration a certain feel for the meaning of his stories. The style of the art and the dialogue resemble those early EC comics Miller is spoofing here, and feels like an ode to sci-fi writer/artist Wally Wood. This may be the only dose of science fiction Miller fans may get to see, so for that I would say Tales to Offend is well worth picking up.


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