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Penny for Your Soul #1

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010
By: Karyn Pinter

Tom Hutchison
JB Neto, Oren Kramek (c,l)
Big Dog Ink
EDITOR's NOTE: Penny for Your Soul #1 will be in stores this May and is currently available for pre-order.

There is sinning and then there is Penny for your Soul. Really, the whole comic is like a hilariously bad joke. Two priests and a nun walk into a casino, which is owned by the granddaughter of the Devil himself. See? Also, the granddaughter has devised a plan to buy souls in exchange for poker chips and Mary Magdalene is her best friend (possibly more), but she's still hung up on Jesus. Yeah, that's the way the story goes. Welcome to Las Vegas, what happens there sends you to straight to Hell.

My lord, I think I should go back to church after this one. I feel debauched but I think I liked it. Really, this comic is dirty, like Christina Aguilera dirty, extra R and all, but it's fun and sinful, which makes it double fun, right? I can't believe I'm reading this during Lent. The story is much deeper than the little blurb I wrote above. I guess Danica, the devil girl, is amassing an army of souls for herself, and to do so, she's set up a hotel/casino in Las Vegas and is buying souls from gamblers for $10,000. The casino is called Eternity and it's where all those poor souls will be spending the rest of their days. Where else could any of this be possible if not in Sin City itself? The only problem for Danica is that she's screwing up the balance between Heaven and Hell.

When you get past the cheesecake, overt sexuality, and glitz, you will find that the story has absolutely no moral. Reading Penny for Your Soul leaves you with the same feeling you have after watching Showgirls, except Penny is better written and has devils. You have to admire Tom Hutchison for taking on a project that is bound to piss off someone. You can't make Mary Magdalene partake in a burlesque bull riding contest without stepping on some toes. But you know, it's funny. It's an honest to god, skanky good time--like Hooters. In all my life I never would have thought I'd admire a character that plots to steal souls, corrupts nuns, and pole dances until I read this comic. Come to think of it, I adore this character. Danica is the girl in school who is trouble. She convinces you to cut gym class and go smoke in the girl's restroom. She's fun, but trouble, and she'll take everyone down with her.

To make all of this vice visual requires a terrific art team. If it isn't sex JB Neto is throwing right into your face it's the crisp lines of all that Las Vegas has to offer. I think I detect Photoshop, but I'm overlooking it—for now. You really feel like you're standing inside this huge, overwhelming mega casino with all its disorienting mirrors and clanging slot machines and scantily clad cocktail waitresses. And the coloring, oh the coloring. The pages seem to glow with all the neon of the Strip as Oren Kramek paints on the pink florescent piping of Eternity. Adored the coloring, it really catches the eye. It's outstanding. I think that just might be the best thing about the comic.

So let's put this all into a math equation (it's simple, I promise): Las Vegas + devil girl + kinda slutty Mary Magdalene + plot to create an army of souls + uber-sexed dialog and illustrations = sinfully fun read. Tom Hutchison, I salute you. I've read a lot of oddball, profane, and down right disturbing comics, but I think you are the first to make me feel like I blasphemed by partaking in my hobby. As I hear it, Penny for Your Soul isn't getting a huge release so you must sell your soul to your local comic shop for a copy, or buy it online.



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