Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Embracing the Inner Bimbo

Well, it looks like this shall be my last of a glorious and well-designed fifteen-issue run as the uncredited ghost editor of the Weekly Planet. (That's okay, the satisfaction of a job well-done is enough credit for me! ...haha.) As a result, I wanted to commemorate this by finally contributing another article.

Now I've been a longtime fan of Sam Kieth since comic book store employees stared in puzzlement at a 10-year-old me using her allowance to purchase floppies of The Maxx during its first run. (Having parents that didn't understand English very well definitely worked to my advantage as a kid!) So imagine my excitement as I found out that #2 of My Inner Bimbo was *finally* releasing after over a year's delay!

Were I more pretentious I would spout a pedantic list of philosophers and psychologists from which Kieth derives his themes, but pretension takes effort and I'd like to focus my energies on other "p"s that come far easier for me -- "proselytization" and "psychoanalyzation". Yes, that's right. My Inner Bimbo is a diamond in the rough -- Kieth's psychedelically surreal art shining through in black and white as well as potent elixir of his personal vocabulary.

Reflecting upon The Maxx, you will find the dynamic between Lo, the protagonist, and Bunny, his inner bimbo, pointedly reminiscent of Mr. Gone's sexist fantasy-play with a kidnapped and pink-enrobed Julie Winters. Indeed, there is a strong visual comparison between the two pairs (a balding, older, long-faced man and a baby-faced, buxom blonde) and suggests that My Inner Bimbo may be Kieth's further extrapolation of the vitriol and emotional dependency between these two examples of his personal pantheon of archetypes.

Both are stories of naive femininity coming into its own after periods of traumatic suppression. While Julie Winters' rape as a college student caused the mental creation of her stronger Jungle Queen counterpart, Lo's premature marriage to a much-older woman froze his emotional development and caused it to manifest in the form of his inner bimbo who is now finally embarking on her own journey of growth.

Parallels are abound in this book, as similarly-drawn juxtaposed panels depict Lo treating Bunny in the same way that he, as a 17-year-old wide-eyed blonde, was treated by his obviously more dominant future wife. Transference, much? Ironically enough, we also found that Mr. Gone's twisted serial-raping ways manifested from his own molestation by an older woman as a child. Names change, but the patterns and character mythologies are reincarnated until they can finally be resolved. Yet, instead of the older male figure acting as the somewhat-otherworldly guiding force for the younger female to face their dark past, it's the opposite in the case of My Inner Bimbo.

The crux of the plot is the evolution of the bimbo. Initially an unquestioning and eager sex slave; she then takes her first steps as a critical Greek chorus, adding sarcastic comments to Lo's woe-is-me monologue from a Kids Say the Darndest Things perspective. In issue #2, Bunny is further tinged with worldliness, her hair occasionally turning black a la the Jungle Queen, and takes an interest in philosophy and personal development. She demands to be addressed as "Liza", taken from Lo's reading of My Fair Lady in the role of Eliza Doolittle, and sets forth to find emotional independence for herself -- and by proxy, for Lo.

My Inner Bimbo is an alternate subtext reinforcement of developing one's inner Anima, first pioneered by The Maxx. It is the painful adolescence of Kieth's portrayal of our feminine side, and an expository and all-too-realistic reinvention of his first beloved characters. Let's just hope we won't have to wait another year for #3 to hit the shelves!

*Alice Meichi Li



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