Sunday, April 11, 2010


It would appear that Rose McGowan is out of Robert Rodriguez' upcoming Red Sonja feature film and Megan Fox is in. Although only a deranged Republican evangelist would have something against the idea of Megan Fox running around in a barbarian costume (preferably very close to the original) and fanboys have been fantasizing about her in all kinds of comic book roles, from Wonder Woman to Witchblade, the jury is still out on her abilities as an action star. A self-confessed wannabe comic book artist currently attached to a future big screen adaptation of Michael Turner's Fathom, the Fox has also disclosed numerous times her allergy to strenuous physical activity. Then, there is the issue of political correctness in Hollywood, which turns potentially edgy films into fodder for toddlers, as illustrated by the diluted adaptation of Wanted, a film that deleted all the bite of the original book. But the guiding hand of Robert Rodriguez, the only man ever to make a comic book film without deviation from the source material (Sin City) and with the balls to quit the Director's Guild to do so, may yet surprise us and give us an "R" picture or, better yet, an NC-17. That would be sheer fun.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


In November 2009, Italian publisher Panini Comics released a 64-page, black & white, hard bound X-MEN comic book, entitled Ragazze in Fuga (Women on the Run or Mujeres en Peligro, Spanish edition), written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Milo Manara. All the VFX in Hollywood, Hugh Jackman humping a donkey and Halle Berry doing an African mating dance together could not deliver a sexier X-MEN tale than Manara, Italy's master of erotic comics. For obvious puritan reasons, the project had to be conceived in Italy and Marvel has given no hint as to whether it will ever be released in America. Until then, fans will have to search for copies online and hope that Chris Claremont, the writer responsible for some of the most iconic X-MEN books in the past 25 years, but not known for his erotic plots, has delivered a hot script to showcase the sensual, clean, yet hardcore style of Manara. To be continued.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


In the late 40s, English cartoonist Ronald Searle came up with the wonderful idea of stories set in a fictional boarding school for girls named St-Trinian's. The irreverent, politically-incorrect and sometimes hilariously violent adventures of its student body of social misfits, anarchists and rejects, along with a cast of outrageous educators, have been told in books, comics and films. The latest entry in the series, of which we can expect a sequel soon, is St-Trinian's, one of the funniest and campiest sexy private school films in recent memory, featuring Rupert Everett in the dual role of Miss Camilla Fritton (the school's principal) and her brother, and the stunning Gemma Arterton. Most of us had the pleasure of discovering Gemma through her role of agent Strawberry Fields, in Bond's Quantum of Solace. In St-Trinian's, she displays a gift for comedy and scorching sex appeal as the dominatrix-looking head girl. The Bond connection continues with the brief, but stunning presence of Italian bombshell Caterina Murino (Casino Royale) as the also dominatrix-inspired Spanish teacher. The DVD, a thrill for fans of British comedy and really short skirts, can be found here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Writer Brian Michael Bendis, who is about to become Marvel's most influential scribe since Stan Lee (OK, OK, you don't agree, but he comes up with fun stuff), and artist Alex Maleev, the rising master of moody photorealistic comic art, are following their Eisner-Award winning Daredevil tour de force with a new Spider-Woman monthly book. One of my favorite techniques to elevate a generic costumed superhero comic to an addictive series is the old spy conspiracy thriller twist. Few can pull this off better than Bendis and Maleev. In issue one, Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman's alter-ego, is recruited by a secret agency (S.W.O.R.D.) to hunt down Skrull aliens and put a serious damper on their earth-invading aspirations. Her first mission takes her to the seedy Southeast Asian island of Madripoor, home to the worst of humanity, where she's immediately targeted for execution by the loving green space invaders. I found out Madripoor was fictional when I tried to buy a chalet in that den of depravity and the real estate agent laughed me out of the office. The damn place sounded so real. The series had a pleasantly intriguing beginning and, if the art below is any indication, it's bound to get sexier, unless Maleev is just messing with us. The origins of the current Spider-Woman were re-imagined in 2007 by Bendis, Brian Reed and the Luna brothers in the series appropriately entitled Origins. And any hard fiction fan (notice I didn't say just comic book fan) unfamiliar with the previous collaborations of Bendis and Maleev has to get a copy of their Daredevil Omnibus.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


To celebrate Jim Silke's book tribute to the art of master pulp cover painter Robert Maguire, Dames, Dolls and Gun Molls, you will find below an excerpt from an interview with Maguire, published at the American Art Archives. The full article is a must-read:

"Why did I leave the paperback business? I got out ’98, ’99. They wanted the paintings to look just like photographs -- couldn’t even tell from the brush strokes. They didn’t want me to paint like me anymore. Can you imagine? By that time I was supposed to be well known, but these people (publishers) had no clue. Basically, the sales force became the most powerful element. If a book sold well, the next 4 or 5 books had to be just like it. There’s no future in that. Not every artist has a great new idea all the time, but frequently they do! And they fired the good art directors (too much money) and hired second-string art directors who didn’t have any real clout with the publisher. The good art directors could take a young artist and help mold him."

It’s impossible to imagine that publishers didn’t want Robert Maguire to paint like Robert Maguire. From the late 40s, sporadically through the sixties, and back with a vengeance from the 70s on, Maguire’s paperback covers sold books far more than the books’ authors or titles. His ability to capture a sexy girl, often holding a gun, a knife, or even a voodoo doll, is instantly obvious.
His women were always intriguing, whether the world was crashing around them or whether they were in decisive control. Each is glamour-page gorgeous. But talent for curvy dames was bolstered by a knack for dramatic action, bold and exotic colors, and striking throws of hues and shadows; these enticed millions of readers to do what they were supposed to do: buy the books.

Maguire often set his women against some muted slab-gray background or low-key pattern of jagged screens, but just as often he stood them out against deathly greens, bloody reds, or morguish blues. Of course, basic black also served him well, as for what has become a signature piece, Black Opium (C.I. note: This painting is considered by many as the definitive crime noir paperback cover):

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


With the rumormill spinning around an upcoming Red Sonja film, starring Rose McGowan and produced by Robert Rodriguez, Clueless Insider celebrates everyone's favorite female barbarian with her first wallpaper gallery, with a mix of vintage and new, featuring some of the horniest artists in the business. For print lovers, outstanding Red Sonja illustrations can be found in the gorgeous hard cover volume, The Art of Red Sonja. All wallpapers 1024 x 768.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Angelina Jolie's breakthrough (and damn hottest) role arrived in the 1998 HBO TV film Gia. Jolie received a Golden Globe award for her interpretation of Gia Marie Carangi (above, right), a woman considered by many as the first supermodel of the 80s, infamous for her drug experiments, torrid lesbian love affairs and short tragic life. Jolie took a massive bite into the role and went full out, guns blazing, giving his estranged father, Jon Voight, numerous reasons to have cardiac arrests during the 90-or-so minutes of the film. Those who love Jolie and missed this little gem are in for a sweet treat. Those who don't, stay away. The rest of the world feels sorry for you. There are still DVD copies running around.