Book of the Month


What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 5.1
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.0%
Users who pulled this comic:
Writer: Brian Maruca
Artist: Jim Rugg

Size: pages
Price: 14.95

Not long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine, a comics professional, who asked if I’d heard of Jim Rugg’s Afrodisiac. I told him I hadn’t heard of it, and asked if that’s the same guy who drew that Minx book, The Plain Janes, a while back. He said yes, and proceeded to gush about this book in a way I’d never heard from him. I tend to balk at that sort of hyperbole, but he did pique my interest. With a stack of unread books on the shelf, I thought I’d get to it eventually, but didn’t make much of an effort. A week or so later, a package arrived, unrequested, with a copy of Afrodisiac for my perusal. Granted, this is also how most of my other unread books arrived, but it was short, and I threw it on top of the heap.

Good lord, am I glad I did.

With Afrodisiac, you’ve got something that only exists in comics, which are always my favorites. By blending the different historical eras of comics, and their specific graphic looks, with blaxploitation films, and superhero tropes, we’re left with something new, an explosion of comic fun and silliness. The whole book is a packaged experience that delighted and surprised me in new ways, and delivered a whole lot of not-sure-if-I-should-be-laughing-at-this laughs. The whole thing works together as one package, and at 96 pages, it’s damn near perfect.


Afrodisiac, tall, muscled, afro sporting, and smooth as hell, is part pimp/part superhero/part daytime janitor Alan Diesler. But at night, when the streets call, he’s the unbeatable Afrodisiac. Evil can’t defeat him, and women can’t resist him. The book is a selection of stories from the long run of non-existent Afrodisiac comics from the past. Each is a short glimpse into a simple Afrodisiac story, done in the style of specific comics from the past. The coloring, and production are all done to mimic comics from different eras, and if they were somehow able to pump in that old comic smell, you’d almost believe they were that old. Like comics from the past, the themes and genres tend to jump around a lot. There are monster stories, romance stories, science adventures, cosmic mystery, gritty street comics, kung fu fighting comics, giant monsters, and more. There’s even a convincing manga cover. I’m not normally a fan of a series of disconnected stories in a book like this, but every page I turned generated another smile. It was always sharp, always clever, and always fun. Plus he fights both Nixon and God.

Written by Brian Maruca, with whom Rugg had previously collaborated on Street Angel, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this. It’s part superhero parody, a style that is so often done badly, and Maruca nailed the perfect tone for this piece, never taking itself at all seriously, but never easing up on the jokes, wordplay and fun. It felt tight and well thought out, but also especially whimsical with a healthy dose of edginess. This book isn’t for kids, and the language might surprise you, because it fools you into thinking you’re reading comics from the ’70s, which were as sterile as baby bottles. Then you get hit with some straight up blaxploitation speak, and you remember that these aren’t actual old comics. This should almost come off as hokey and forced, but it just never does. Instead, it’s just plain entertaining.

As much fun as the words in the book are, and they are a whole lot of fun, the artwork is really where this book comes alive. Jim Rugg’s style bobs and weaves to suit each chapter. The pencils are subtly different from story to story, but the actual color and production changes wildly. The pages look like old comic book pages, as if you’d just dug these issues out from a soggy bag in your grandparent’s attic. The colors are bright and vibrant in some chapters, faded and washed out in others, and in some the dot pitch color slip charmingly outside their boundaries, which is very familiar to all of us who’ve been reading comics for a long time. They key here is the total package approach Rugg took, and man does it show. Afrodisiac kept delighting me the more I read it.

My favorite thing about the book was the collection of covers interspersed in the chapters. Spanning even more genres and production tricks than the stories themselves, the covers were, every one, magic. The titles never failed to elicit a laugh in their not-so-subtle sexual references, and over the top, bombastic cover styles, evoking many forgotten eras in comic book cover creation. They border right on the edge of juvenile, with headlines like, Will the Afrodisiac survive “The Bush”? and The True Story of a Woman Driven Crazy by Too Much Chocolate! The list goes on.

Afrodisiac is mad comic book fun from start to finish. Don’t expect a deep treatise on philosophy, or a politically correct story of right and wrong. Do expect some of the funniest and well done indie comics, push the boundaries of satire and genre on every page. Like every woman who comes into contact with Afrodisiac, you’ll be hard pressed not to fall for his dark manly charms.

Josh Flanagan
Afrodisiac beats up a giant bug with his car, while driving. It is spectacular.


  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    This looks terrific. Really dig Jim Rugg’s work on Street Angel and The Plain Janes, so this one’s a no-brainer. Sold!

  2. Since my spring break is coming up I thought I would order some comics to pass the time. Because of this I may just buy this too.

  3. Thanks, this looks really interesting.  Sold!

  4. I always see this book at the comic shop and i flip through it everytime, i need to pick this up. Like Paul, i loved Rugg’s art in Street Angel and The Plain Janes, really looks like he took it to the next level with this book.

  5. Thanks for the review Josh, I think it was dead on. I read this over the weekend and am so glad I did.  The only thing missing was that old comic book smell.  I really enjoyed trying to figure out what era a cover or something might be from, or what it might be similar to, all the while enjoying for being it’s own thing.  I hope that made sense.  A totally fun reading experience all around, and now with the added bonus that it’ll be discussed in a future POW podcast!

  6. This sounds far too much like something I’d like to read for me not to buy it.

  7. Thanks for the review, Josh! I just wanted to post this link to some preview pages: 

    Video trailer:

    Thanks, again!

  8. i remember hearing about this on 11 O’Clock Comics a while back. I think this just made me more interested in it.

  9. Oh my god, it’s as if someone crawled into my brain, found out everything I find amusing, and printed it on this comic. Screw waiting for a con to pick this up, I’m buying it as soon as possible!

    From the review, it reminds me of Black Dynamite, the hysterical recent movie which is a loving send up to blaxploitation. It’s a movie that everyone needs to get on DVD now, as it was the funniest movie of last year.

  10. This is a great book.  If you would like to check out an interview with Jim Rugg stumptown trade review has one.


  11. I got the deluxe edition in the mail last week, really great book!

  12. I’d like to see a link to past "Books Of the Month" labeled by their dates picked.  I searched it, but they appeared out of order.

  13. Ah I see.  Cool, thanks!

  14. That cover is genious. I’m picking this up based solely on that.

  15. And that’s the whole cover.  No titles or anything.

  16. cant wait to go pick this up. it looks amazing on so many levels

  17. Sold American. Ordered it today.

  18. This was pretty much the greatest thing ever.  It’s so motherraping funny and clever.  Not to mention the great art and subtle change of styles. Very happy I listen to the podcast or this gem would have never been on my radar.

  19. I’m so glad to hear that.  I hope more people check it out.  It’s really something special.

  20. Just put this down. Great stuff. So much fun. Thanks for the tip-off, Josh! So glad to have this on my shelves.

  21. This is the first of the pick of the month books that I have picked up, and it is Fantastic.  This is one Jive book!

  22. Picked this up at Emerald City Comicon, and it is really good. I’m loving the different art styles and fast pasted story telling. Also got it singed by Jim Rugg how great is that!?

  23. That panel was enough to sell me on the book.

  24. 14.95??!!!! I AM SO OBLIGATED TO GET THIS BOOK. My Collection of Afro-american comics wouldn’t be complete without it.

  25. I ordered this and Asterios Polyp the other day. The day when they arrive is going to be a good day of comics.

  26. Hey, everybody —

    Couple things. First, ifanboy, thank you! I just returned from a fantastic weekend at Emerald City, and guess what, ifanboy listeners were representing!

    Second, to those who made time to stop by and check out the book and converse, thank you all. I had one of my best shows ever, and heard "ifanboy" all weekend long! Thanks everyone! 

    For those who didn’t make it to the show, I’ll be doing shows in Columbus, Toronto, Fort Wayne, and Charlotte, and maybe more. Keep an eye on my website for more upcoming appearances.

  27. Ordered this today along with Parker and Asterios Polyp based on that panel mostly… but also from the review and the podcast.

  28. i GOTTA check this out.  Looks SOOO good.


  29. I ordered this today at my store. I do have to say that the movie BLACK DYNAMITE clinched it for me. On 11 O’clock Comics Jason Wood mentioned that it was like a movie adaptation of this book and I was SOLD!!! Can’t wait to read it. Master Flanagan your recommendation just tipped it over the edge of maybe to HELL YEAH.

  30. Getting this in the mail today from instocktrades. I can’t wait until its delivered. I also am getting New Avengers Vol.2 hardcover, and New X-men Ultimate Collection Vol. 3 but Bendis and Morrison can wait until I read this bad boy. Its awesome that its currently number #1 on instocktrades. It really shows the power of ifanboy.

  31. Just finished this on the train ride to work (Note: reading this while traveling through Oakland is not exactly the smartest thing to do. I got some stares) and enjoyed the hell out of it. I checked it out of the library, but then quickly added it to the list for my  next Amazon order. Great great book, thanks for the review, Josh! Never would have picked it up if it wasn’t for you and this site.

  32. @drakedangerz

    Which library? I’m about 5 minutes away from the Oakland library right now. If it’s there it would be a sweet lunch time pickup.

  33. That’s a damn fine review Josh. I decided to give this book a try and put in my order a couple of days ago. Hope it arrives soon!

  34. Wow. It really is comic gold.

  35. I just read a preview of this on my iPod while at work. It was so entertaining I actually forgot where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. I’m definitely going to get this book.

  36. Of course this article got a ton of positive feedback, this book is made of pure awesomeness.  Pure.  Like, you could mainline the awesomeness in this comic.  I pity whoever has to choose April’s book.  Unless…can THEY pick Afrodisiac, too?

  37. We’ve had more positive feedback from this book than any other Book of the Month selection, and that includes PARKER and ASTERIOS POLYP

  38. Looks like I have to buy this…SOLD.

  39. Bought it last week, loved it. I ordered 2 more copies for my friends.

  40. Pitch perfect review Josh!


    I picked it up last week and have been telling everyone I know about it.  It’s the perfect package right down to the opening of the book.  It’s a great tapestry of a non-existent history.

    Maybe something they should have played around with for The Sentry. 

  41. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    By the way, your review caused me to request that our library get this book. And guess what. We’re getting it. So hey, thanks for spreading the word on fun titles like this one. I’m looking forward to reading it myself and then passing it along.

  42. Looks great, can’t wait until it ships.

  43. I dig

  44. I just ordered Afrodisiac, so I should get that by the end of the month.

    Is Ron going to pick the next Book of the Month?