• Sex In The Comics (Vinegar Syndrome)

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: August 31st, 2016.
    Director: Eric Von Letch
    Cast: Nina Fause, Orita DeChadwick, Cyndee Summers, Reggie Balls, Bella Bush, Lance Hardon
    Year: 1973
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    The Movie:

    The single directorial credit of the mysterious Eric Von Letch (Anthony Spinelli working under a goofy pseudonym), 1972’s Sex In The Comics is an odd one even by the admittedly already odd standards of seventies porno feature films. Ever heard of Tijuana Bibles? If not, a quick history lesson is in order, otherwise this film will make even less sense than it already does. Tijuana Bibles were basically little underground comic books about the size of a ‘Chick Track’ religious pamphlet that contained explicit and usually comedic storylines. Compared to other early comic books the artwork was often crude and the content always rude, but these little smut rags have their place in the history of pornography and have even been reprinted in archival editions by the likes of companies like Fantagraphics via their adult’s only Eros line.

    Sex In The Comics is, essentially, a live action version of a Tijuana Bible and it’s been designed from the ground up to look like one. That means that the backgrounds and sets are a strange mix of actual 3-D real life items and hand drawn pictures. It also means that the performers are sometimes sporting comic book style features (an example – one man has white paper eyes taped over his actual human eyes to give him a sort of ‘Aaaooogahhh’ look on his face!). Most of the performers are wearing bizarre make up and a couple of them are wearing some rather freakish looking rubber masks. This would seem to be all in some sort of very strange attempt to harness the style of those aforementioned comic books. Adding to the surreal atmosphere is the continuous tendency to edit with rapid jump cuts and random freeze frame shots. If that weren’t strange enough, the filmmakers have been kind enough to throw in a fair bit of World War II newsreel stock footage for kicks. This movie is pretty insane.

    The set up for the film is simple – a lovely looking lady sets out to interview a comic book artist about his work. When she arrives, he’s more interested in explaining the history of Tijuana Bibles to her. As such, we’re privy to a series of strange reenactment and it’s these reenactments, that are presented complete with horrendously written ‘period’ dialogue, that make up the bulk of the running time. We do, however, periodically snap back to the artist and the interviewer as they discuss things like politics and pop culture in a semi-highbrow fashion.

    Some of the sights we see during these reenactments? A guy whose dick is so big that when his girlfriend rides him it pops up out through her mouth, a lifeguard screws a girl on his beach while she serenades him with her ukulele skills, a gynecological exam turns into a three-way, and, well, more insanity and lots of three-ways. Apparently three-ways were pretty ‘in’ during the forties when Tijuana Bibles were at their most popular.

    The film gets pretty repetitive in terms of what we see and how it’s done but the whole thing is just so damn strange that it can’t help but hold a twisted fascination for those who appreciate the weirder side of adult cinema. On top of that, a couple of recognizable female performers pop up in this one – alongside mysterious ‘one shot’ performers like Bella Bush and Reggie Balls are luminary adult film stars like Nina Fause (of Marilyn And The Senator and Tender Flesh), Orita De Chadwick (of Memoirs Of A Madam) and the instantly recognizable Cyndee Summers (who periodically pops up in Cabellero catalogue titles and old Swedish Erotica loops). And hey, is that really Duke Mitchell doing the deed under cover of a hokey mask? So the story goes… and holy shit, George ‘Buck’ Flowers? SOLD!


    Sex In The Comics was previously released on DVD by Alpha Blue Archives in a fairly ratty looking fullframe transfer. Vinegar Syndrome’s release, scanned in 2k from ‘vault elements’ is presented in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen and it doesn’t look like anything has been cropped as the compositions all appear fine here. There’s a pretty obvious green scratch running through most of the movie on the right side of the frame, it’s hard to miss, and there’s a moderate amount of other print damage and scratches evident throughout but the overall image quality is much improved here. The picture is tighter, it shows a lot more detail and texture and it’s much more film-like. Colors look quite nice for most of the movie and, print damage or no print damage, it’s a pretty decent upgrade.

    Likewise, the audio is imperfect but better than that which we’ve had before. The English language Dolby Digital Mono track has a bit of hiss and a bit of distortion and there are times where things sound a bit muffled, but it is quite a bit cleaner and demonstrates better balance than the past DVD release. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.

    Aside from static menus, the disc also includes two bonus films. The first of these is Sextoons, an eighty-two minute feature that was made in 1975 by Saliva Films! A so called ‘Erotic Kartoon Karnival’ this is a collection of random and fairly unrelated vintage sex cartoons. After the quirky opening credits play, we get a music video of sorts for ‘BOOBS A LOT’ in which a song asks us, over and over again, if we like boobs a lot before instructing us to wear our jock a lot – it’s pretty wacky stuff. After that? Armchair Inventions, by Gary Moore, wherein a guy decked out in cowboy gear goes to a carnival style submarine shoot game to take aim at a woman who turned into a tomato and then back into a woman. This is fairly surreal and genuinely bizarre. Little Genitalia, by Barry Brilliant and Patrick Kennedy, is a messed up claymation short where various body parts strut about a primitive cityscape with sunglasses and cigarettes. From there, the little genitalia goes at it – claymation porn! Thomas Spence directs A Child's Alphabet With Casual Reference to DNA Replication in the Garden of Eden, which is a trippy little cartoon where images form letters against a red background – occasionally delving into some dirty imagery. It’s long and kind of dull, actually. More fun is The Further Adventures of Super Screw, an old cartoon where a guy with a massive dog gets accosted by a dog at a bus stop and winds up at the hospital where nurse takes advantage of him. It goes on from there, and includes an unfortunate incident with a gorilla. Things switch to live action for Jack In The Fox – sort of. There’s live action footage here but it’s cut in alongside some creepy claymation footage and some stop motion bits involving a doll. This is nightmare fuel, it’s fucking terrifying. Who thought this was a good idea???? Karl Krogstad, apparently, as he directed this abomination according to the end credits. Hearts And Arrows is a weird animated short where a heart turns upside down to look kind of like an ass, only to get poked by an arrow that looks kind of long a schlong. It’s short. Schneewittchen, which is a sex parody of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, is up next. You can probably figure out how this one plays out – the horny little dwarfs get off on watching Snow White in the bath tub and once she sees them playing with their creepy boners out in the yard, they all have an orgy while the witch uses a candlestick on herself! Buried Treasure is another moldy oldy wherein a guy finds a naked lady in a park and has sex with her on top of a rock only to have his member take off and get attacked by crabs! Then another guy screws a donkey. It’s done as a silent film with intertitles. Other weird random sex scenes play out after that, including a horrifying bit where a woman’s face turns into a snatch and gets plowed by the dong that comes out of the guy’s face. Crocus starts off with a man emerging from the bottom of the frame, spinning, heading towards the top of the frame. From there a woman plays with her breasts in front of a mirror. A guy comes in and they screw. Their child interrupts them and she deals with the kid, and then she goes back to it. As they screw, strange things fly in and out of the room. Little Ms. Muffet is, as you’d guess, an explicit animated version of the story in which our titular heroine has a dirty encounter involving a spider and such. Seed Reel #1, by Mary Beams, is some really rudimentary animation, white lines on a black background, most of which are kind of vaginal. L'ombre de la ponme is a bunch of weird close ups of bellybuttons and asses that then turns into a short involving abstract images and strange music and caveman style paintings. Showbiz. by Algis Nakas, is a neat piece in which a woman undresses as the colors go nuts and the background changes along with her skin tone. A man comes in and they screw, it’s all very psychedelic, especially once the backgrounds turn from plain colors to weird textiles. Kama Sutra Rides Again, by Bob Godfrey (and featuring someone named Moo in the credits!) features a couple who wind up in various positions as instructed by the infamous book that clearly inspired the short. It’s done with comedic intent and it’s fairly amusing. It all ends with another rendition of the opening track, Boobs A Lot, this time with a lot of actual boobs portrayed on the screen, many of which you’ll probably like. A lot.

    The second bonus feature is The Funky World Of Adult Cartoons, a forty-five minute film in which a few dudes off camera watch a series of dirty old cartoons and offer up commentary as they play out. In the first cartoon a husband and wife go at it and a shoehorn is used inappropriately. From there, a woman masturbates with a wine bottle until a girlfriend shows up to launch cucumbers into her hoo-haw. Then a chimney sweep shows up to take care of business, then the mailman and the TV repairman. It gets weirder as the other cartoons play out. We see a couple doing the wheelbarrow through the woods as various forest dwelling animals look on and trees have sex with other trees. They head to a cabin where a witch locks up the guy and gets the girl all hot and bothered with various inventions. Once the guy frees himself he uses his massive boner to save the day. Next, a sheik and his harem fool around, or they try, he’s got trouble getting it up – will he find a way to get hard? Yep, he will. Then we’re treated to what is basically another Snow White variation as a gang of really tiny guys with hoods on climb into bed with a woman much, much larger than they to explore her body. After that a French man and his wife see how much of he they can fit into she. From there, nuns get buggered and turn into pigs, white folk head into the jungle to have sex with completely racist cartoon images of native jungle folk while monkeys look on (that’s not ok!), a cowboy bones a hooker in a saloon while a cat tries to rape a lady out in the great outdoors. Then a rabbit tries to chill when a woman running away from a wolf takes shelter in his house. He bones her. Later, a woman masturbates in the tub while a frog watches. Then he grows and gets in on it. Everyone else in the castle seems to be screwing, an evil witch shows up and then there’s a baby. A woman is chastised for peeping through a keyhole and is forced to wear a chastity belt that is surprisingly easy for the witch to get off of her – and then it’s magic dildo time! In the kitchen a rolling pin is used in a very unhygienic way and then prince charming lays the princess. FIN!

    The Final Word:

    Sex In The Comics isn’t so much erotic as it is genuinely unsettling and bizarre. That said, it’s pretty entertaining stuff and it definitely holds a lot of cult appeal. Vinegar Syndrome’s release isn’t perfect but it does provide quite a nice upgrade over the previous release from ABA and it throws in two equally bizarre bonus films! Weird! It’s all really, really weird.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      I thought these were some great time capsules, they were interesting, they were weird, the DVD contained 2 bonus features that were better than the main feature lol, overall I think it's a great purchase, of course nothing about any of the films is sexy, but it's funny to watch them, and they are meant to be comical, I don't really think even in the time they were released that any viewers found these sexy lol