Shut up, loyal readers, I’m not late this week.
Okay, so I was a young lad when I began reading Exploitation Now by Michael Poe. In fact, this was the first webcomic of which I bought the collected edition. And boy, was that a good decision. I remember having to wait a long time to get it though. Weak. Anyhow, this is a webcomic that gives you all the fun sexiness that comes along with failure, rejection, and settling for what you can get. It was some of my earliest exposure to manga, and it was just an American drawing on many Japanese themes. Everything that comes to me needs to go through some sort of American filter first. This is why I can appreciate all the alcohol and the boobies that have become a staple of this great country. But this comic was about much more than just being an American webcomic based on many manga tropes. It was funny. It was exciting. It was an exploration of what could be done with the art form and I still really enjoy it, especially given what it meant to me when I was at that age, whatever age I was at.
The comic was originally about Ralph Givememore and Bimbo Moneymaker. They were stereotypes who rebelled against being stereotypes. A small, adorable Moogle not Moogle at all, and a porn star that is barely the most normal person in her family, are best friends that met in high school. But what I always find interesting about a comic that started out as humor-based and Ralph/Bimbo centric is how wildly different it was by the time the story came to a close. By the end it isn’t about Ralph or Bimbo at all, it’s about Bimbo’s sister Bush and Jordan, genius landlord (landlady?) of the original protagonists. The drastic changes in tone and focus were very indicative of how Michael Poe changed his work as he went and made different decisions going along.
We got a lot of what we needed out of Ralph and Bimbo. Hentai jokes, heavy drinking, and desperate grabs for money. It was funny and I ate it up when I was younger. But the further we went into the story, the more intense things got. Not so much from Ralph or Bimbo, who were the comic relief despite being the original heroes. But it came more from the moment we met Jordan, who was a young super-scientist who owned the building they lived in. Not only was she a scientist, but she was a super-villain. She made threats. Blackmailed. Held countries for ransom, lest she blow the bajeezus out of it with missiles. She eventually hit the road with Bimbo’s sister, who she began a relationship with. Yes, sexploitation was one of many aspects of Exploitation Now.
Sure, there were complaints (addressed in the comic, even) that it was a ripoff of Sinfest, but I’m not about to do any substantial research to find out if it were at all ground in any sort of reality. Besides, I certainly plan to pimp out Sinfest on here eventually, I’m a totally unbiased element in that question. Personally, I loved Exploitation Now because it was experimental. It was interesting to read such vulgar jokes that still was forming its own morality and sensibility as it went along. Like he says on the site, Michael Poe made so many changes and adjustments because he was still figuring out his style, both of humor and of art. It actually made me take the time to care about Jordan and her problems, because a teenage lesbian scientist with a robot hand traveling across the country with her girlfriend is a fascinating premise to me and I was right there along with it up until the very end. Even if you claim it wasn’t an original story, I argue that it doesn’t really need to be to have been as good a story as it was.
Michael Poe went on to do a comic called Errant Story which, I’ll admit much to my shame, I have not read yet. Which is weird, you’d think I’d have read it by now. But I think my long wait for the EN trade kind of threw me off. Besides, I think my intense love, interest and fascination with next week’s (this weekend’s) WotW is what truly distracted me because in the next highlight I’ll focus on the most intense webcomic read I’ve ever truly had. But enough about that now: Exploitation Now is a beautiful thing for what it was, and it made me appreciate more for adult humor and the idea of making drastic changes in a story. I love this webcomic and I always will, so I’m just going to recommend the hell out of it so that maybe you can enjoy a really cool, funny, and exciting work.
You can visit the site here.
You can visit Michael Poe’s Caffeine Angel Studios. That’ll take you to all of his sites.
So yeah, next week. This weekend. Check out this weekend. I’ve got a good one for you. It built up all my expectation for college. It encouraged me to first start actively writing. It’s creator was a nice guy who really treated me with respect as he’s the first creator I ever really reached out to. So yeah. That’ll be the next Webcomic of the Week.