Comics on the Condor – The Tiger Woman #1 (2001)

GameStop, Inc.

tigerwomanThe Tiger Woman: The Last Place on Earth #1

Artist/Writer – Donald Marquez

I am Mike of Northridge! Mysteriously orphaned and raised by genetically modified squirrels in the wilds of southern California, I spent the formative years of my life as part of the “Andthejets” tribe. My surrogate parents; Benny Hammertail and Benny Twitchynose raised me as a squirrel. My name among the tribe was Benny Toogodamnbigtofitinatree (all squirrels have the first name Benny if you hadn’t figured that out yet). My secret name, my warrior name which I earned in blood, spoken only on nights with a full moon and among my chipmunk assault squad mates after a successful acorn raid was different. That feared name, which struck both chipmunks and other squirrel tribes (and a few flocks of finches Benny Razorpaws told me once) with terror and awe, was “Jeff”. But I shall not speak further of such things to outsiders.

Many seasons I spent learning and living the ways of the squirrel; jumping from branch to branch, running halfway across a road… stopping suddenly… then racing back the way I came, stuffing lots of acorns in my mouth. But I always felt out of place, not quite right. Perhaps it was the lack of a bushy tail, or the way I would snap smaller branches and fall to the ground when I leapt, or that fact that even as a child I was about twenty times bigger than my whole family put together, but I just didn’t always feel “squirrel-ish”.

Finally my father, with his dying breath, told me the truth. I was a human and I really had no business living among squirrels.

This made a lot of sense in retrospect.

First I avenged my father’s death by vanquishing Mo-Kar the ruthless eye-patched tyrant of the chipmunk clan that lived two trees over in a bloody clash that lasted for a full five seconds. My deed shall be recalled (in gory detail) within the Andthejets tribe for many generations to come. It’ll be seriously gory, you wouldn’t believe how squirrels embellish their storytelling, it’ll be like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan within a week. Second, leaving the only home I knew, I set off to find these “humans” from which I came.

It didn’t take long because I lived in a relatively small park a half a block from a Target. I found humans all over the place. Surprised I didn’t figure it out sooner truth be told.

Now I read comics on the potty and write stuff about them.

“I am the Tiger Woman. I search for Pythonopolis, the city of humans.” That’s a pretty direct mission statement right there. Not a damn thing else in this story is direct, or what we call in the writing business “narratively stable”, but that is actually part of its koo-koo charm. In fact the two things that strike me upon reading The Tiger Woman: The Last Place on Earth #1 is that it is utterly koo-koo, and that writer/artist Donald Marquez spent a lot of time reading Heavy Metal. So much so that he assimilated both the most enduring and exasperating qualities of the legendary magazine into Tiger Woman.

Tiger Woman, as she’ll readily tell anyone within earshot, was raised on the prairie of Gentech park by a pride of Sabertoothed Tigers. This explains why she refers to herself as “Tiger Woman” but falls appallingly short on explaining how she knows human language, or even how she knows what a woman or a prairie is. It also fails to explain how she knows that there are other humans in a city bafflingly named “Pythonolopis” (perhaps the builders were English comedy fans), why to cover her girl parts, how to make a bikini to cover her girl parts, hair care, why she wasn’t mauled while playing with her tiger siblings, the negative health effects of eating raw wildebeest, when exactly she noted her lack of giant paws with razor sharp claws or a roar, her decision to shorten her name from “Sabertoothed Tiger Woman” to the easier embroidered on luggage “Tiger Woman”, or simply why she wasn’t eaten by the tigers as a baby.

These are the questions that naturally pop into my, or any sane person for that matter, head. Perhaps there is an interesting story about how she figured all this out and it could be an oscar-bait role for, like, Kira Knightley because she could look disheveled on-screen for the first twenty minutes of the movie. The academy loves that disheveled shit.

Tiger Lady ain’t concerned about retelling the details of her intellectual awakening. She got to find dem humans. Ma and Pa sabertoothed tiger never taught her the concept of “stranger danger” though because she goes right up to the first “humans” she sees, a pair of thugs stealing a cryo-chamber… naturally… and prattles on about being raised on the prairie and her search for the human city. I can only imagine this scene taking place several times before as Tiger Woman introduced herself to trees, woolly mammoths, an ant colony, and several species of birds before hitting the jackpot with these two guys. These thugs are obviously doing something illegal and obviously idiots. They take her along out of fear of her telling someone about their shenanigans… in the wasteland where there are no other people for miles around. I mean, Tiger Woman wold’ve found them, first, right… instead of just pointing her in the opposite direction and saying, “Pythonopolis, sure go three miles to the west, turn left at the pit of giant radioactive termites, right at the palace of Krangar the rapey mutated frog warlord, then go over a small hill that’s sentient and feeds on blood. Pythonopolis, you can’t miss it!”

The nameless thugs, I’ll call them Steve and Mitch, deliver the cryo-chamber to a guy in a hazmat suit… naturally… who is more interested in reviving Walt Disney from cryo-freeze. Only then, after bringing an 85 year old heart attack victim back from the dead and giving him a new young body, does Hazmat Guy pull a gun on Tiger Woman. Only then does Hazmat Guy and Steve and Mitch fail horribly at killing Tiger Woman. Only then do the “rebels” bust in and take Tiger Woman and revived guy, not Uncle Walt but a nefariously named Victor Chrono, for a joy ride.

That’s when things get weird.

Tiger Woman finally makes it to Pythonopolis (which, I think, is an interracial series starring Mandingo… or should be) with Mr Mondo, the rebel leader, where she meets a robot sporting cool sunglasses, discovers money isn’t around anymore, and aliens proved God and souls exist. Victor seems unfazed by the God part but, like the true Republican sociopath we know him to be, is seriously upset about the no money thing. Tiger Woman shares her rehearsed bit about the prairie and sabertoothed tiger family game night, and seems to take all the weirdness in stride (she doesn’t really have any metric to judge by ‘cause sabertoothed tigers don’t care ‘bout money, rebels, and shit). When the police working for one of the TV networks… naturally… captures Chrono and puts him on a talk show the story suddenly veers from pointless idea vomit to pointless and toothless satire. Mondo and a anthropomorphic bull that reminds me of Biggie (for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on) stick Tiger Woman on a counter propaganda talk show… naturally… touching off a network TV war with hovercrafts, steel tentacles, and high flying laser gunplay. When Tiger Woman and Chrono are abducted by aliens… naturally… and taken to a space station filled with the likes of George Washington, Marilyn Monroe, and Jimmi Hendrix the story veers again into something resembling a Damon Lindelof script but with less pretense and a bit more coherency.

The aliens act all passive aggressive to one another, Victor, and Tiger Woman. She refuses their offer of life on the party station preferring the much saner environment of open prairie, familial tigers, and possible death by exposure. Chrono goes too, starts bitching immediately, and is presumed to have been devoured by Tiger Woman’s parents at the next family get together.

The Heavy Metal influence is readily apparent in the art; beautifully detailed drawings of giant moss covered sewer entrances, choked streets of Blade Runner-esque punk rock masses, savage girls in fur bikinis, and ugly dudes. The whole thing has an “Alice in Wonderland as told in velvet black light posters” kinda feel to it. The influence is also apparent in the rapid firing off of so many ideas that the hope of the story making any kind of sense is left skidding across the pavement. A trait that you’d have noticed if the stories didn’t all have naked women in ‘em (it took me several years to realize).

If Marquez’s idea was satire the effort falls flat because Tiger Woman’s reactions are completely bland. At one point during her talk show scene she thinks coming to Pythonopolis (my spell check actually winces each time I write that word) was a bad idea. Oh well, there isn’t a chance to think about it because that takes time away from drones working for a star chamber like conspiracy (or possibly Rush’s priests of the temple of Syrinx, I’m not sure) trying to kill her.

If Marquez wanted to just draw crazy shit after a night of puffing PCP laced Mary Jane and listening to King Crimson… I can only hope he did it to his satisfaction and sought help for recovery afterwards.

If Marquez wanted to draw hot barbarian chicks in leopard print bikinis fighting flying saucers like in every issue of Heavy Metal he probably drooled over when he was 13, congratulations you succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.

Dreams, like stories about women raised by sabertoothed tigers, don’t have to make sense to anyone but you, baby.

Random thoughts that occurred to me:

Sabertoothed tigers never existed. It was sabertoothed cats. “Cat Woman” might’ve been taken though.

Every guy has a vaguely PG-13 kinda sexual harassment vibe to them.

When Tiger Girl went to school did the other tiger cubs pick on her?

Tiger Woman makes no mention of the orphaned boy raised by woolly mammoths the next prairie over. Perhaps she never saw him. But he saw her. He remembers gazing longingly at her across a wildebeest carcass so many years ago. It seemed as if she looked right through him, her face covered in blood as she tore raw wildebeest flesh from the dead animal’s bones. She was way too cool to approach, or possibly too dangerous. Mammoth boy knew in his heart, when he became Mammoth Man, that he could win her affections. But he waited too long to tell her how he felt and now she has set off for Pythonopolis to find more humans. He was right there if she would only notice! Will he ever see his Tiger Woman again? Find out when this summer’s hottest YA novel “The Tiger Girl” hits amazon.com

The Tiger Girl based on the hit YA novel and starring Kira Knightley as “Tiger Girl” and Jeff Bridges as “Pa Sabertoothed Tiger” coming to theaters this Christmas.

You might’ve guessed that I’m writing this in a metal basket sixty feet in the air and have a lot of time to myself. (That’s why I changed the headline. – Editor)

The metal basket on a hydraulic arm is called a condor and we’re talking SERIOUS heavy metal, bitch!

Don’t believe me? Here is a pic of my office as I write this!

That’s no hotwheel in the corner of the picture, bub.

That’s no hotwheel in the corner of the picture, bub.

OH CHRIST WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING UP HERE! HOLY FUCK!

Mr. Mondo resembles every portrayal of “punk rock rebel leader” ever written by sixty year old men for TV.

Going back to Chrono’s sociopathy he’s just itching to sell out to whatever powers that be. If he had continued on that arc he’d be doing Pythonopolis’ equivalent of FOX News, denying radioactive half-life and claiming mutant/robot marriage is an affront to God.

“Isn’t this a great apartment?”
“I wouldn’t know. I was raised by animals on the prairie.” This exchange sums up the koo-koo genius of Tiger Woman.

I blame this book for my sudden revival of the Donald Felder song “Takin a Ride (On Heavy Metal)”

Next: What’s in the box? (You just catch a whisp of blonde hair in the shot though.)

Later: I invite my squirrel mother, Benny Twitchynose, to review a comic for me (if she’s not distracted by a shiny object or run over by a car).

Anytime Costumes

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