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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 191: Aphrodite IX #1

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Aphrodite IX #1, which was published by Top Cow (and Image, of course) and is cover dated September 2000. This scan is from “Time Out of Mind,” the trade that was published in 2004. Enjoy!

A few years ago, I got in trouble for referring to a story in a Top Cow comic as a “stereotypical Top Cow comic.” I was referring to stuff like Aphrodite IX, which is just a terrible comic book. I suppose if you like David Finch, it looks okay in some places (and I like David Finch, which is the sole reason I bought this trade paperback – and Finch only barely drew two issues of it anyway). I wish I hadn’t, though, because David Wohl’s story is just terrible – Aphrodite IX is an android assassin who wears very little clothing and enjoys posing with her ass toward the reader – but that’s the chance you take, right? So yeah – this is what I meant when I wrote a “stereotypical Top Cow comic,” and I don’t think anyone can argue with me.

Anyway, let’s check out this double-page splash page that begins issue #1. Wohl gives us someone addressing the “council,” explaining what Aphrodite IX is, so that’s nice. The scan is somewhat small, so I’ll give you what the narrator says: She’s not “merely the future of technology … but the future of humankind.” The council members laugh, and the narrator continues: “Incredulity is an understandable reaction. After all, how could machines supplant us? The real question you should ask yourselves is … how couldn’t they?” The narrator points out that due to prosthetics and other advances, the council members are “already more synthetic than real.” And yet, the narrator says, they “age” and “die.” Oooooh!!!! This is, of course, setting up the fact that Aphodite IX will never age and never die, but remain a hot young thang forever. Take that, council members!

Finch gives us a pin-up for a double-page splash, with only Aphrodite IX cluttering up the page. We see only her and some shattered glass, but we have no idea where the window through which she’s crashing is or where she’s going. She’s going downward, but whence did she come? Finch doesn’t care, of course, because all he cares about is showing Aphrodite IX in all her sexy glory. We follow her boot down to her midsection, where we see the tiny, shredded skirt and cuts from the glass, because of course there’s nothing sexier than blood on soft, supple skin! Finch makes sure that her body is turned so we can see both her breasts straight on, but it’s not quite as egregious as some poses. We do get the strategically ripped belly shirt, making sure we see some breast but no nipples. NIPPLES ROT THE MIND! Just because, Finch gives Aphrodite IX green hair and green lips. We don’t see the green spot on her other cheek in this pose, but she has that, too. I can’t remember if there’s a reason for this, and don’t think I’m going to re-read this to find out!!!!

While the page itself is kind of bland due to the fact that Aphrodite IX is in a vacuum, at least Finch gives us a pretty iconic drawing of the main character herself and orients her the “right” way on the page. Basically, everything you need to know about the artwork and the story you get on this one page. You’re going to see violence perpetrated by a hot chick wearing very little clothing. If that’s your thing, at least you know right from this page and can adjust your expectations accordingly!

Only a few days left to nominate a writer-artist team for August! A writer AND an artist – not the same person – who worked on at least 25 issues together. It’s almost time to close the nominations, so if you haven’t asked for one yet, get on it!

Next: Well, I thought this comic was one of the best in the year it came out. Feel free to disagree! There are, of course, many other great comics in the archives!


Somehow I don’t really think that a double-page splash-page counts as a “first-page.” I kind of get how you were trying to prove a point about a comment that you’d made and someone had taken exception to but, by using this “example,” you’ve set yourself up to reviewing a lot of these double-page splash-pages if only to highlight an example of “done right.” (I am curious, though, how this was handled in the single comic. Was there some sort of text page on the “real” Page 1–sort of a “Star Wars”-like introduction–to set the stage? Or was it a gatefold page?)

Joseph: I really wasn’t trying to make a point – I pulled this off the shelf completely at random, and it’s actually fairly difficult to figure out the first pages of subsequent issues based on the way the trade is set up. This is the best “first page” in the book, if I figured out the way the trade is set up. I only thought about the comment about Top Cow AFTER I had already pulled it off the shelf, and it was almost completely random that I picked it (these aren’t absolutely random, because I shelve my books alphabetically, so I knew I was in the “A”s).

As for whether a double-page spread counts … I agree with you, but I’ve featured a few other double-page spreads, and I figure they’re as valid as any other “first page” even though they’re technically two pages. I have no idea how this was presented in single issues – I know Marvel’s policy of having a recap page these days makes double-page spreads as the first image easier, but I don’t know how Top Cow did it back in the day. But I don’t think I’ll end up with a lot of double-page spreads as the first “page,” because it’s really not that common. Someone else who bought the actual issue will have to let us know what was on the actual first page, though!

Leslie Fontenelle

July 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Speaking of double-page splash pages, now there’s something I’d like to see Greg analyze in this series: Grell’s Warlord series. Didn’t that series do that in every issue, or is my memory betraying me? I haven’t read those in ages.

So yeah – this is what I meant when I wrote a “stereotypical Top Cow comic,” and I don’t think anyone can argue with me.

Greg, stop making sense!

For what it’s worth, I never understood the appeal of David Finch. Too much cross-hatching, too much over-rendered detail, too many oversexed scantily-clad women who look almost totally alike it terms of facial features. His art just does nothing for me.

Leslie: I don’t have them in front of me, so I can’t remember, but he did them often. I own the Showcase volume, and I’m trying to use reproductions as close to the original as possible, so I doubt if I’ll ever grab that book (I shelve them separately from the rest of my trades, so I know where they are), but they are quite fun.

Ben: I do like Finch probably more than I should, but not on everything. I think the tone of Moon Knight was perfect for his kind of art, but it hasn’t been superb on everything, and he seems to be getting sloppier on his DC work.

Here are my nominations for the writer-artist teams for next month:

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
Warren Ellis and Darick Roberston
Alan Moore and J. H. Williams III
Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris
Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

I don’t see anything wrong with looking at a double page spread if it’s the first page of the book. That’s what you’re doing here, looking at first pages.

My guess would be that page 1 could have been a credits page (with an ad or something on the ifc).

As to Warlord, from the issues I’ve seen, page 2 and 3 is a double page spread, but due to that pesky page 1 ahead of it, Greg couldn’t really feature any here by his own rules. But he’s a damn rebel, so who knows what he’ll do!

Also, Kirby did a lot of page 2-3 double page spreads. I think his run on the Losers did that, and I’m guessing a lot of his other stuff too.

Just curious — at the top, you say this is from “Top Cow (and Image of course)”, but didn’t Top Cow break away from Image for a short time? Probably around the time Liefeld left Image too, which would have been before this book came out, but I’m being needlessly pedantic in order to say that it is not ipso facto that a Top Cow book is “of course” from Image as well.

God, I hope I used ipso facto properly, cuz I’ll never hear the end of it from you otherwise!

I bet they did a lingerie special of this book. I’d imagine they featured Aphrodite in a nightie, and maybe even tighty whitey Aphrodite as well. (Oy, I kill me!)

Travis: I’m really not sure if Top Cow did officially break away from Image. Don’t make me look it up on WIkipedia! Maybe that means the “of course” isn’t accurate, but at this time, Top Cow was an Image imprint.

And yes, you did use “ipso facto” correctly. As far as I know. But I’m not very bright.

I do have a rea long blnk , in term of years of image comics… this was in it (except for the first 2-3 years… and later on… all the image books were like this… ))

Greg.. so the list…. been 10 days, since i began to think about it… and where can we have
– Iron fist, Power man, Spider-man Team ups, justice league of A , and X-Men ranging from 1975 to 2004 …

Claremont and Byrne.

Stan Lee/Jack Kirby (Duh)
Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Chris Claremont/John Byrne
Denny O’Neill/Neal Adams

Travis Pelkie (drillrod)

July 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I looked up the Top Cow on the Wikipedia, and it sez that in ’96, they did briefly leave Image due to the power struggle with Liefeld. It doesn’t say how briefly, but iirc, it WAS pretty brief.

This is what happens when you friggin’ memorize old Wizard mags. Don’t let this happen to you, kids!

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