Review: Bettie Page #1

Dynamite Entertainment move into cheesecake with this homage to Bettie Page, albeit with a fun almost pulp style of story.

As the book starts, we are introduced to Bettie, an attractive fringe cut curvy woman who is happy with what God gave her.  As such, she has no compunction with dressing for the camera as she models, in what you may well consider as conservative outfits when you consider the real life Bettie.  Yet before anyone can say “hey how about we add some ropes” the FBI crash the party and Bettie is on the lam and into the waiting and helpful arms of Rick Chaplain who whisks her away to his company where she can’t help but get herself into trouble.

David Avallone has written for Dynamite before on The Shadow and Vampirella.  So it would seem that he is a perfect fit to scribe a 50’s style book featuring a strong  female character.  Having read his Twilight Zone meets The Shadow book, I can attest to Avallone’s ability to tie in loose threads and weave them into a coherent story.  In this book, the dialogue works in a screwball corny way yet I am unsure where this story is actually going.  That said, I am pleased that the story is more involved than just having Bettie half-naked most of the time, although I am not sure that everyone reading the book will agree with me.  For the most part, Bettie comes across in the same sort of vein as Agent Carter in her show; a strong capable woman in world where she is constantly looked down upon.  Avallone, maybe aware of this, ensures that at least one character recognises there is more to Bettie than  her womanly charms.

For a book about a pin-up model  the art has to work; it has to deliver the glamour aspect.  In addition, when dealing with such an icon as Bettie herself, there has to be a likeness or else what is the point.  Colton  Worley is another Dynamite veteran whose work you may see on Miss Fury and Jennifer Blood.  Worley works really hard to make the title character look like Bettie.  With such a level of detail required, Worley has to also deliver the same level of details on the range of secondary characters.  Some of these “almost photos” work where others  are a bit weaker.  As always using photo references is all well and good up until the point the character is required to do something that there isn’t a photo for.  Still Worley stays the course well.  In addition to the pencils, Worley supplies the painted style of colors, which helps give the book an aged feel.   With this being a Dynamite book, there are a range of variant covers from people like Joseph Michael Linsner, Jim Balent.  But don’t look past the quality of the Terry Dodson cover, with its homage to the great Dave Stevens.

Reading through this book, I can’t help but be reminded of the Jane comic strip by Norman Pett.  For those not in the know, Jane was a morale boosting character, popular during the Second World War, who had a tendency to lose her clothes.  Both characters tend to get themselves inadvertently caught up in traps through misadventure, although the former manages to do it at the same time as losing her clothes.  This then leads to the confusion that I feel about this book.  With such a prominent character the focus of the book, coupled with everyone’s opinion of the “Queen of Bondage” there will quite a few fans of Bettie that may well be disappointed.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art 3.5 Stars
Colors -4 Stars

writer: David Avallone
artist: Colton Worley
covers: Terry Dodson (a), Joseph Michael Linsner (b), Scott Chantler (c), Photo Variant (color) (c), Photo Variant (B/W) (c)
subscription cover: Colton Worley
incentive covers: Terry Dodson (B/W art), Joseph Michael Linsner (“virgin art”), Terry Dodson (“virgin art”), Scott Chantler (B/W art), Terry Dodson (“red hot” line art)

 

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