In today’s “Full Disclosure” from porn star-turned-political fire-stormer-turned-author Stormy Daniels, the controversial autobiographer writes about the salacious details behind her time (and his crimes?) with pre-President Donald J. Trump.
That their brief affair (a one-night tryst) found her describing his penis, in “Full Disclosure” (hitting bookshelves today) as having “a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool… like the mushroom character in Mario Kart,” is just part of the fun and fear of Daniels’ tales of $130,000 hush agreements, potential cheating scams Trump’s “The Apprentice,” and much more.
“See, if I drew anything in relations to Mario Kart or its 20 characters like Luigi, or Toad, I’d get in copyright trouble with Nintendo,” said Joe Paradise, with a laugh. That’s South Jersey (and one-time Locust Street, Philadelphia) resident and comics artist-writer Paradise, talking about his new, 24-page book (available digitally and in print through TidalWave Productions), “Political Power: Stormy Daniels.”
As part of its “Political Power” series, TidalWave has – with contributions, in drawing or writing from Paradise – portrayed Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Rand Paul, Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Bernie Sanders, James Comey and more. “I’m considering Brett Kavanaugh as my next,” said Paradise, uncertain as yet if he could do the beer-loving, Fred Flintstone-looking character justice.
Before drawing anything political, Paradise – fresh from high school – worked for Rock N’ Roll Comics, where he executed band biographies on Dead Kennedys, The Ramones, and New Kids on the Block, the latter of whom gave him the greatest pleasure in tearing down. “As a punk fan, slagging the New Kids? Sign me up.” Paradise is also proud of having received letters of praise from The Ramones and letters of loathing from Kennedys’ Jello Biafra. “That was the most political thing I had done to that date,” said Paradise.
So far, however, Paradise hasn’t received any letters of complaint or restraint from the subjects of “Political Powers.” Not Daniels, who had not authorized the book before its publication. And not Trump, who Paradise missed capturing in comic form before the 2016 primaries, but features prominently in the “Stormy” comic.
“I was anxious to tackle Trump,” Paradise said. “My parents are from the Bronx, I grew up in the ’80s and remember Trump being sued by his black renters – even at a young age, he seemed messed up. I have been Facebook-disowned by my dad for a while and my brother breaks my chops online for dissing the president in comics form.”
Stormy Daniels: comic book heroine
“Political Powers: Stormy Daniels” is a fascinating way to continue the Trump trajectory as Paradise shows Stormy rising, phoenix-like, through superhero exploits like … spanking the president.
“The idea for “Stormy” came when I was watching Rudy Giuliani on CNN talk about Michael Cohen’s payoffs,” Paradise said. “Over the course of two days, Rudy’s story changed 97 times regarding how he did or didn’t pay Stormy, before saying how she was a woman of low character. It all got ridiculous to me – this is Trump, the guy with Playboy bunnies who appeared on Howard Stern, saying how not getting STDs from all of his infidelities was his own personal Vietnam – that doing a comic where she was a victorious superhero was almost an afterthought. Why did he even bother covering up anything with Stormy?”
That gave rise to Stormy’s “Political Power” denouement – a four-page interlude/dream sequence in which Trump plays a French maid to Daniels’ domineering house mistress, as well as a scene where Trump has erectile dysfunction and Stormy laughs. “All that, and if I could have predicted the whole Toad from Mario Kart reference, I would have quit my job tomorrow. Then again, my prediction about him being laughable in the sack comes close.”
How does one draw or portray Stormy Daniels, in considering her personality as well as he profession? There’s no nudity in the book. Paradise has decided to not accentuate Daniels’ high forehead and big eyes in caricature, and instead has softened her, and rounded her features. “She is now closer to Veronica or Betty in ‘The Archies,’ or one of Hanna Barbera’s creations. But she wasn’t easy to draw. You don’t want to exaggerate her too much lest you get distorted, and run the risk of making a cool female character unattractive.”
In writing Daniels’ “Political Power” volume, Paradise portrays her character arc forensically – he’s never met or spoken with her – as a successful porn star looking to crossover into the mainstream, “like a bar band playing Wells Fargo Center. She goes from being an opportunistic figure using what she’s got to get what she wants, to being threatened, to reversing the tides, and refusing to take it anymore. Rather than cave, she wins. She’s a scrappy blue-collar street fighter, unwilling to back down. And she became even larger and more victorious by allowing the likes of Karen McDougal and others such as her to also plead their case – and all that makes Stormy a truly heroic figure.”