Monday, May 19, 2014

My (almost) date with Hari Kari

Back in the 90s, when I was trying to get into comic book writing, I had an opportunity to write a book for a then-popular "bad girl" character (the bad girl comics were all over the stands in the 90s) named Hari Kari.  A good friend of mine, who was working with the company, was setting that up to happen for me.  I didn't do it, as much as I wanted to be involved writing an actual popular comic.  I felt terrible, because my friend was going out of the way to make this happen for me.  But I didn't do it, and didn't do it for a reason.

Also in the 90s, CD-Roms were all the rage.  Comics were just starting to end up on them, mostly as scanned archive repositories for older books.  This company, in a marketing move, had decided to put out out a brand new book, based on their popular Hari Kari character.  Here was the actual title:  "Violation: The Rape of Hari Kari".  While their press releases talked of "treating rape seriously and with respect" (which they of course would do with a scantily-clad woman drawn with a reality-defying anatomy), it was very obviously made for titillation and made to draw in horny nerds guaranteed to be treated to at least one sex scene.  My favorite part was that its ad copy listed it as a "fully interactive CD-Rom!".  Wow, fully interactive?  Does that mean WE get to rape her?  Swell!

This company made me sick, and this was before the offer ever came my way.  Once it did, there was never a moment I considered working for them.  The only hesitation was me trying to figure out how to tell my friend this without insulting him.  "Sorry, man, I'm not into rape exploitation, but you go right ahead and godspeed!".  Thankfully, he understood (once I finally worked up the guts to contact him).

So went my chance to become a well-known comic book writer.  I did eventually become one...just not a well-known one.  Do I regret it?  Not in the least.  I work in the entertainment business now, and all of us in it consider, when those moments come, whether it's worth it to do "whatever it takes" to make it big.  It's not.  When all is said and done, you still have to wake up with yourself every morning.  That comes much easier when you know you did the right thing and stood up for your principles.

So I guess what I'm saying is...stand-up comedians, enough with your lame rape jokes.  Rape is not entertainment.

Just my opinion.