Why You Should Be Reading… Image Comics’ B*T*H Planet

Hello readers, we are back for another week of Why You Should Be Reading…

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As always I am Grainbelt Jones, and I have an amazing series to discuss this week. First I would like to say, if you end up investing into this series, you are not just investing into a comic but more like a movement. This is not just an ordinary series, this is a true revolution displayed in a well put together, well executed piece of art that should be read and enjoyed. Now I would like to talk to the men here, I really hope you open your mind because the subject maybe something you are not used to reading. Allow this to spark intrigue, instead of deterring you away from this title. As for our women readers I’m not as concerned with your interest, because the subject matter is less of a difficult sell to that audience. I really would like to empower our male readers to take a step out of the box and explore all this series has to offer, and take on the challenge of trying to understand what the writer is conveying. Now as far as the subject matter is concerned it’s a close tie in to feminism. I know that ‘s a scary word but I want to say… THIS IS NOT A MAN HATING COMIC, I repeat this is NOT a man hating comic. I wouldn’t even say its a straight Feminist comic, but it definitely has that influence, as well as essays in the back of each issue on the subject. (more on the essays later). My personal thoughts of feminism are very simple, as long as it has more content then just bashing the male gender I understand and support it completely, this comic although using women empowerment as its theme has none of the negative characteristics that some aspects of feminism can get criticized for. It it is literally just a guide for how the comic is presented and written.

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Now with all that out of the way, lets delve into the series shall we. The situation is simple, the setting is in the not so distant future, men are the law and the be all end all of authority. At any point any women who is deemed offensive or troublesome can be banished to the penitentiary planet entitled “B***H Planet.” As sad as that seems, what sadder is It doesn’t take much for these actions to be unleashed on the women in society. If they do not conform into the idealized stereotypes of their gender, or fail to “respect” and answer to all men they can be deemed a problem and taken from the structure of humanity. We find ourselves following the main characters as they navigate through the tyranny of this prison system, along with explaining some of their intensified back stories. We also get a look into what very well could happened in our real lives in the future, Maybe not for women but whoever the powers that be deem is the lowest on the totem pole at that time. Answers to the puzzle and how all this happened is told piece by piece , and we are not yet given a clear picture as to what makes every one of our main characters so special, and how the powers that be are able to do this to women. The artwork is very vintage, strait forward, and in your face, the only way it should be in my opinion considering the subject matter. The writing style continues this theme as well, and if any of you are fans of Kelly Sue’s work with Captain Marvel you know she is well capable of delivering a solid written story. I will say I feel this is her strongest work because of the clear cut message of embracing diversity, along with preserving the rights and values of all women. This is not just a book for women even if it may be the demographic its presented for, this is a book about diversity and the value you must have for oneself. Through out the series we see instances of how society is training our very minds, how its forcing us to conform who we are into the ideals of stereotypes. The message of women empowerment is a metaphor for all empowerment in my humble opinion, there are true oppressors in this world hindering the advancement of certain genders and cultural rights. If this information needs to be touched on in disguise as a “feminist comic” so be it, because the issues that are referenced are very real, very real indeed.

“What happens when the people who are supposed to be your allies on one axis are your oppressors on another?” – Mikki Kendall

The next thing I would like to talk about are the essays at the end of each comic. These are the best part about the series in my opinion, each issue closes with us the readers diving into the mind of a very expressive writer usually tackling topics involved with feminism, women unity, and other cultural issues effecting women in society today. I find this very very enlightening. As an African American male I find myself dealing with many cultural and societal issues that are very hard to escape. With that being said I have an empathy and understanding I wish more people would under take these days. As we read these articles we are let in on the harsh realities of how difficult it can be to navigate life as a female in our communities. To uphold certain stereotypes mainstream influence presses on them, and worst of all dealing with the divisive nature with in their own gender. All these topics and many more are presented for reader consumption to raise questions, along with supplying knowledge on whats really going on in our societies today. Like I said above this is a revolution, this is an answer to all those out there feeling they are being suppressed or written off, judged or hindered, misrepresented and misunderstood. I find myself owning that when i read these books, owning the prejudice I face and willing to stand against it for my psychological and personal freedoms. I find myself wanting to enhance the tolerance for diversity in our culture, along with imploring everyone to have empathy for others dealing with society and systematical oppression. This all starts with us, and our own understanding of the battles other people are fighting and dealing with on a daily basis.

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Soo…… yes we did get a bit deep here, so hopefully I haven’t lost you or steered you away from this truly special project. If you are not into the deep end of the spectrum do not fear, I would like to stress this is just as much of a fun read as it is a deep one. The story is intriguing to follow as we see some really bad ass characters at work here, and quite early in the books life span at that. With the added little nuances that pay homage to classic comics of the golden age, along with sampling hints of references from blacksploitation, it does well in providing a throwback vibe and presentation. They even take the time to produce parodies of coupon clippings for a vintage look on the back covers’ of each issue, it is also alleged that you can actually order these items for real solidifying the time and effort they put into this series. With all that said you will definitely want to become apart of this cult classic of a movement, the response of the comic has been astounding even though the 4th issue saw its release this past Wednesday. For such an early title fans have shown tremendous support, and seeing people from all over the world celebrate this art by getting tattoos of the crest, along with raising questions and talking about the issues effecting their surroundings is truly something special. If you need that dose of realism in your life or have that desire to delve into the topics of this world’s nature, you need to make sure you read this comic. Also take the time to read all the letters of support and see how positive this is effecting those who read it, and I guarantee with that alone you will want to support this project! As I stated above this title is only on issue 4, they are still early in the project providing you with time to get involved and help spread the word. I hope all of you take the time and seek out this comic, its well worth it.

PS I met the writer Kelly Sue, she is an amazing soul and had put so much effort (from the heart) into this project. Please take the time to show support.

Again I hope you all had a good week, I’ll have another tittle to discuss next Friday, I already have a fun title picked so stayed tuned, I promise it will be less deep….. Thank You!

– Grainbelt Jones

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