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cover
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brilliant writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 2
total score 10
Back Cover
Back Cover
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REVIEW SCORE 10
Tales from the Leather Nun
1st Printing / September 1973 / 44 pages / Last Gasp
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Tale from the Leather Nun competes with Felch Cumics as the most blasphemous underground comic book ever produced. Dave Sheridan, Jack Jackson (Jaxon), Spain Rodriguez, Pat Ryan, Roger Brand and Robert Crumb all contribute some of their finest work as they unveil the hypocrisy and absurdity of orthodox Christianity (and churches in general).

Dave Sheridan gets the book going with what may be his greatest comic story ever. "Tales of the Leather Nun" is a 14-page story that opens in Rome, Italy, where the Pope is furious about a rogue monastery that houses a sacred, untranslated scroll that's vitally important to the Catholic faith. He orders his archbishop to send a priest to the Order of St. Kemongus to seize the sacred scroll and bring it back to the Vatican.

When the bald, diminutive priest arrives at the monastery he's immediately taken into custody by the Leather Nun and her devious minions, who send the priest into a surreal mind-control training program. The priest experiences a variety of carnal activities that have a profound effect on him, both in the moment and upon his return to Rome.

Sheridan's illustrations for the story are extraordinary, with astounding renditions and action sequences, perhaps the best he's ever done (and that's saying something). The lone complaint I can make about this story is that four of what appear to be full-page drawings at the beginning of the story are reduced by 50% and printed sideways, two panels a page. It's awkward and a bit tragic, since three of the panels are beautifully accomplished and suffer from the reduced dimensions (not to mention how tiny the writing gets).

Sheridan's tale is followed by Robert Crumb's "The Adventures of R. Crumb Himself," which depicts him getting pummeled by the staff at a "School of Hard Knocks." Crumb doesn't take this lying down and exacts his revenge in no uncertain terms. It's classic Crumb, presented in four concise pages that summarize where his head was at in the early '70s.

Spain Rodriguez has an effective four-pager ("The Leather Nun Gets Hers") that exposes the inner workings of a monastery in New York, followed by a terrific seven-pager from Jack Jackson called "Tales of the Leather Nun's Grandmother." It has nothing to do with nuns or a grandmother, but a woman who's been kept youthful for hundreds of years by a shaman's black magic. The shaman's "longevity spell" suddenly backfires and the woman's pussy becomes a gateway to another dimension, which could prove disastrous if not counteracted. The method of remedy and subsequent consequences provide an "inside look" at hard core cartooning.

Pat Ryan and Roger Brand close the book with two solid stories about a church father who gets off on "The Confessions of a Teenage Confessor" and a young man caught up in the evil machinations of a neo-nazi cult.

There's not a weak link in any of the six stories that comprise Tales from the Leather Nun and it remained in print decades after it came out, teaching generations of former altar boys the ways of the world. But we shouldn't limit this tome of knowledge to just the Christians among us, as the wisdom imparted by Tales from the Leather Nun should be disseminated as doctrine for all faiths.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are at least eight printings of this comic book, all by Last Gasp. It is unknown how many copies were produced for of the printings, but they are easily distinguished because they all have different cover prices, as indicated below.
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1st printing, 1973 - $.50
2nd printing, 1975 - $.75
3rd printing, 1977 - $1
4th printing, 1979 - $1 (the price is blacked-out)
5th printing, 1981 - $1.25
6th printing, 1983 - $1.50
7th printing, 1985 - $2.50
8th printing, 1990 - $2.95
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COMIC CREATORS:

Dave Sheridan - 1-16
Robert Crumb - 17-20
Spain Rodriguez - 21-24, 44
Jack Jackson (aka Jaxon) - 25-31
Pat Ryan - 32-35
Roger Brand - 36-43