MONEY SHOT #1 & 2
Writer: Tim Seeley and Sarah Beatie
Artist: Rebekah Issacs
Colorist: Kurt Michael Russell
Publisher: Vault Comics
THIS REVIEW COVERS THE FIRST 2 ISSUES OF MONEY SHOT
Not many people know this about me, but I work in the sex industry. I am a clerk at my local adult novelty store! I sell people everything from lingerie to sex toys to porn from 10 am till closing. I interact with exotic dancers, pornstars, and cam girls frequently! My job is about sex, but it's not sex. Kind of like how Vault Comics' most ambitious title MONEY SHOT is about porn, but it isn't porn. MONEY SHOT is about a lot of different real-world ideas. While its premise boils down to scientists engaging in intergalactic adult films to fund their projects, it explores themes of political greed, humanity, and love. It's so multifaceted that it blindsided me.
Seely effortlessly characterizes these five different scientists to showcase the troubles their science community is facing. Through their voices, we discover that their political climate has corporate greed running things. Their economic state is in a recession. There is no money for scientists trying to find the final frontier, animal communications, vaccinations, and so on. It mirrors our present-day climate. However, Money shot never indulges in this dark underside of politics but instead approaches it with humor. It's a stand out for this book and what makes it so compelling.
Head scientist Christine Ocampo realizes that they need to find a different way to receive money. She goes home to masturbate her problems away, and sure enough, she realizes that the people of Earth are SO bored with everything they are becoming displeased with the state of porn and it's unoriginality. It's hilarious because I hear this complaint from customers at least once a day. Christine's solution to her funding issues is to gather her group of partners Bree (Physicist), Annie (Epidemiologist), Omar (Astrophysicist), and Doug (Biochemist) into making space pornography. The idea is that they could utilize the money from their ventures to finally get the money they need to fuel their goals. It's hilariously written.
On top of being funny, this book has a lot of heart to it as well. There are sprinkles of a past relationship filled with passion and heartache between Christine and Omar. It may be an underlying subplot, but it's one that makes MONEY SHOT feel human and grounded. Rebekah Issacs on art brings this futuristic universe to life. Everyone's faces are expressive, and you never feel like the art is missing a beat. Each character's design feels very representative of who they are as people. It's one of my favorite aspects of books. Isaac's also does a great job at making each of the aliens between issues one and two feel disconnected from the style of Earth. They feel like different creatures. There are a lot of sci-fi books that usually make all their aliens look similar, and it is a significant turn off for a reader, but Rebekah delivers on the extraterrestrial front. Kurt Michael Russel colors MONEY SHOT boldly. He uses these fiery oranges and yellows for the dangerous alien terrain in issue 2. It's so unique to my eyes since I never really see colorist utilize yellows so much. It's something that stuck out to me as I read. It's a stark change from the cold, icy blues and greys that cover the science facility where they work. It fits the atmosphere and tone of the book very well.
Finally, I want to commend this creative team for shedding light on the viability of the adult industry. While I don't work directly in the sex industry, I still regularly interact, talk, and know many professional and amateur actresses and actors. Many of them are incredibly intelligent business people or going to school. I know many people who are funding their pursuit of a medical, nursing, and engineering degree via the industry (and often, people don't even know that's their job). I feel as if so many people have stigmatized porn as a lowly job, when in fact, those with the biggest vocal criticisms are probably the ones consuming the most of the medium. Vault Comics isn't afraid to publish such progressive content through their comics, and it makes their publishing house so strong. Beatie and Seeley beautifully capture the pro-sex, pro-smarts agenda that is becoming the norm. This comic, in its first two issues, transcends its film industry lens. The bigger picture of it all is the underlying theme of intimacy, both physically and emotionally. Intelligent and sexy.
Be sure to pick up MONEY SHOT #1 available in stores on October 23rd!