Is there such a thing as too much pop culture? I ask that question while writing for a comic book/superhero website, so perhaps I need to rephrase: Is there too much pop culture in general? I mean, for every Buffy the Vampire Slayer there’s a dozen variations on The X-Factor, for every Avengers a Transformers 1, 2, and 3. Is there any way to turn bad pop culture into good pop culture? After all, vituperation is great fuel for satire. To quote Gretchen from Donnie Darko, “What if you could go back… and take all those hours of pain and darkness and transform them into something else?”
Tales from Scene City 4: Babezilla is a bit like that, only with giant battling female robots.
While I wasn’t the one to review the first installment of Babezilla, I feel I’ve got a pretty solid understanding of what the series entails. There’s a high-waisted media mogul called Slimey Cowbell, a shout-out to Woody Guthrie, and Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler as Mayor. Writer and illustrator Rob Cureton clearly has a passion for music of all sorts and he finds an unexpected protagonist in the form of Brittina (a clear Britney Spears analogue).
As the eponymous, art deco-styled Babezilla rampages through Scene City, the supporting cast, a try-hard band led by under-appreciated emo Horace, struggle to get people to listen to their music… a big ask even when downtown isn’t going up in flames. The punky, black-and-white art is simplistic but fitting for such broad parody. It’s nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. Overall, Tales from Scene City 4 feels like Entourage by way of Pacific Rim.
It’s a touch juvenile, a bit Sunday morning cartoon, and the production values aren’t exactly astonishing, but this is good, harmless fun. It requires no thought, no investment in the characters, but, unlike X-Factor/Transformers/etc., this isn’t a multimillion dollar production with unlimited clout. This is a labor of love being done by a freelance animator, the aforementioned Rob Cureton, who, according to his bio, has done work for the Ben Kinsella Trust. As you may have guessed, Tales From Scene City 4: Babezilla may not be my cup of tea, which is not to say it won’t be yours.
Scene City 4: Babezilla is available for purchase on www.orfulcomics.co.uk as well as at Mega City and Orbital Comics in London.