The Good Kind Of Bad Trip : Corinne Halbert’s “Acid Nun”

From the depths of space to the depths of hell to the depths of the mind to the depths of depravity, Annie, the titular Acid Nun of illustrator extraordinaire Corinne Halbert’s new self-published mini, covers a lot of territory — but then, you’d expect nothing less, I would suppose, given that a comic with a dizzyingly lurid name had damn well better serve up the dizzyingly lurid goods to match.

Of course, with an artist of Halbert’s skills, most of that luridness is going to be expressed visually, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front : this is a veritable tableau of sexually explicit violent psychedelia rendered with the care of a true enthusiast, a celebratory paean to the libertine spirit and ethos delivered with a passion that can’t be faked. There’s good and there’s evil, then there’s beyond good and evil, and then somewhere well beyond even that there’s this stuff — value judgments are well out the window here, but if you want to judge a book on the quality of its execution? Halbert’s work is beyond reproach on that front.

Which means, of course, that this is in no way, shape, or form a comic for all tastes, or for those with a weak constitution. A person’s gotta be made of some pretty stern stuff to create work of this nature, to be sure, but one needs to be made of equally stern stuff to enjoy it — fuck “not for the squeamish” disclaimers, this collection of interconnected shorts (one of which I recognize from an issue of Harry Nordlinger’s Vacuum Decay anthology series, the others being new to my eyes) isn’t going to do much for even the nominally “well-adjusted,” apart from providing a generous amount of fuel for their nightmares. What that means to you, dear reader, only you can determine, but for this critic’s part? In case you hadn’t already guessed, I loved it.

Granted, that probably says something about me that any shrink worth his or her salt would have a veritable field day with, but in point of fact I could care less. There’s way too much comforting, “safe” material out there that offers nothing by way of aesthetic or conceptual challenges — Halbert not only pushes all those buttons, she throws down a gauntlet that challenges her readers’ morality, as well, and that takes a hell of a lot of guts. Good thing there are plenty of those to be found in these pages — literally, as you can see.

Still, the casual nonchalance with which Halbert dismisses anything remotely resembling pleasantries as a matter of course is as firm an indication as any I can think of that she’s having a lot of fun here, as well (as is Mike Centeno, who contributes a killer piece of pin-up art) — and why not? With every square sent scrambling for the hills and/or padded cells more or less from page one, she’s playing to a choir of fellow reprobates here, and has no reason to do anything other than, in true acid-head parlance, “let it all hang out.” There’s certainly a gleeful and playful vibe to all this that the subject matter wouldn’t at first seem to line up with all that naturally, but if you think about it — why not? I mean, if we’re all fucked up anyway (and, for the record, we are), there’s no reason not to keep it a secret, nor to try to banish that part of ourselves to some dark corner of the id, where all it will do is fester and grow until it becomes truly dangerous. Art is all about release, after all — or, in this case, perhaps the term exorcism would be more appropriate.

Look, who are we fooling here? You know you want this comic — you wanted it from the minute you laid eyes on the cover. I’m just here to tell you to give in, and that you won’t regret it for a second.

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Acid Nun is available for $10.00 directly from Corinne Halbert’s website at https://corinnehalbert.bigcartel.com/product/acid-nun-no-1

Also, this review — and all others around these parts — is “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to give it a look by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse

2 thoughts on “The Good Kind Of Bad Trip : Corinne Halbert’s “Acid Nun”

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