Amongst the photos is one of JoAnne Follett. What the picture depicts is JoAnne at Morning Mass, in saintly contemplation — the epitome of a good Catholic girl who probably believes that all her sins will one day be forgiven and she will receive her eternal reward.
Up to this point, Worley and Waller have given no indication in the tale that JoAnne is a practising Catholic and its quite a shock to realise, that even after all this time, when the readers think that they have got the characters in Omaha down pat, Worley and Waller still manage to pull back the curtains a little to show that there is always more then you think.
But the sex is between consenting adults and part of loving relationships, the fact that some of the sex is used as a manipulative tool and can be gratuitous only serves to reiterate that we are reading an adult story, about adults, with all the failings and successes that entails. Omaha started life, with artist Reed Waller, as an underground comix, and in its early issues, it shows.
No, the art and writing is quite capable, but compared to the clean, beautiful Carl Barks style of later years it depicts someone just starting out, so it can like the early issues of Cerebus be hard to take. Plus all that black inking!! Waller likes to tell the tale of when he first took Omaha to a printer; he was told that this may not be able to be done. For example- Omaha and Shelley may be nude dancers, but both girls like the life and the adoration they receive from their punters.
JoAnne is a part- time prostitute, but sees no problem with it. She pities more the girls who work on checkouts for minimum wage. Worley also created what could possibly be one of comicdoms first realistic portrayal of a homosexual character in the photographer Rob Shaw. Paradoxically, in a comic full of sex, Rob gets partners, but no sex scenes. Guess some readers were not ready for a certain type of sex. Come to think of it, sex gets put in quite a positive stance in Omaha.
Chuck is just about to ask whether he died from Aids when Rob says no: Secondly, Omaha is a soap opera; it wears its heart on its sleeve. All the soap opera basics are present and correct. Omaha can, and does, go further. But there is no Sex in the City patronising or moralising here.
It must be said though, that Chuck does come across as a bit of an asshole. Mmmm, perhaps Worley was saying something after all. All the characters in the comic are animals in a style termed anthromorphophism or personification — that is, giving non-human entities human likenesses and traits.
But there is no Maus style grittiness or parallel here, Worley and Waller wanted their characters to have certain traits and depicting them as animals enabled them to do this. Omaha and Chuck are cats, so they have a strong streak of independence. Friends Shelley and Rob are dogs, so are sociable; JoAnne is a bird, therefore flirty and quick-witted. Again, with this goes a certain feel.
All the characters are bipedal and wear human clothes except for shoes , live in houses and apartments, eat normal human food and have the same social and political structure as humans.
Genitalia are human and the only thing that differentiates the world of Omaha from ours is that they all have snouts, tails, horns etc.
But whereas Fritz was mostly a political and sexual satire, Omaha is about censorship. Omaha has been described as nothing but a nubile fantasy, but it had a more solid grounding in local politics than some reviewers realised. Omaha the Cat Dancer is hard to find in this country due to its sexual content another gripe, for another time , but some shops have a few copies of the graphics and they are available online.