Suicide Girls is a major league 21st century success story. Founding the website and online community in 2001 Missy Suicide (Selina Mooney) tapped into a previously unknown market for pro-active feminine sexuality, primarily alternative, but also traditional where a greater depth was created by the models revealing their personalities along with their bodies. It’s grown into a global brand that’s mushroomed out into almost all media.

Within this blitz a graphic novel was inevitable, and while the book now commands high prices, at the time it was a relative failure judged on the lack of follow-ups. Digital download versions, however are readily available.

The plot reconfigures the Suicide Girls, establishing a tradition of warrior women heading back through the ages, with cells around the world, their website business being only the latest incarnation of long established organisation. Their primary present day concern is the Way*Of*Life corporation, corrupt and malign, yet with enough political friends to ensure their private prison contracts are ongoing.

Suicide Girls is rather the hodge-podge of neither fish nor fowl. Editorially, it presented a difficult task of integrating an adult world of frank sexuality with a very conservative industry uncomfortable with this, rarely stepping beyond decades of objectification when it came to women. An element of compromise appears to have been the cute cartooning of David Hahn as inked by Cameron Stewart. The art’s very good, but not very suitable. Despite the prevalence of boobies out, the cast resemble Archie versions of Tank Girl comics, which were surely an inspiration. Stewart’s pin-up illustrations have a greater sexuality and allure.

The credits have Brea Grant collaborating with Steve Niles and Missy Suicide on the plot, then producing the script with her brother Zane. Many writing hands rarely produce a masterpiece, and so it is here. The story opens with an anti-corporate crusader being rescued from jail, then joining with the Suicide Girls to bring down the evil corporation. The germ of a workable plot is present, but there’s never a single point at which it graduates to credible.

A decent Suicide Girls graphic novel is entirely achievable, but requires greater consistency with the imagery of the website and its ideals.