The Renaissance was a singular time in human history, a blossoming of genius, talent, and energy that transformed the Western world with new concepts of philosophy, sculpture, portraiture, architecture, and murder. Murder? Murder. Murder as only a fairly stupid comic from 1950 can show!
Come back with us in time to a wonderful flowering of imagination and creativity, represented here by an arch and a tower out the window. That's all the Renaissance you're getting here fellas, this comic is all about the first woman to Have It All - a duchy, the patronage of the arts, a fulfilling marriage, and a freewheeling attitude towards murder that was positively modern! You've come a long way, baby!
Even her first husband's amazing elephant chair and mighty beard were no match for the deadly poisons of Lucrezia Borgia. Most of the family was cool with the murdering, except for Giovanni here, who not only disapproves of murder, but is loud and proud about it. Maybe you wanna watch yourself around your murdering sibling, whom the specific governance customs of feudal Italy have rendered effectively above any kind of law or justice, I'm just saying button your lip Joe, snitches need stitches!
Whoops. Too late Joe. At least you were spared the typical Borgia death by poison!
Next up at bat, wearing the number 2 jersey, Duke Alfonso of Aragon! Will Alfonso restrain his natural snoopy impulses, or will his desire to play Clue Club lead him to a date with... murder? Well, he married a Borgia. Read the warning label next time.
No Cesare! What are you doing with that stranglin' cord? You wouldn't possibly be thinking of strangling me with that strangling cord? Not you, Cesare Borgia?!
Soon enough Lucrezia finds another love slave to dance in her sizzling passion fires, but fifteen or twenty minutes later, here comes Cesare and just stabs the guy outright. Look Cesare, I know you wanna do the killing, but dammit, the Borgias have a reputation to build here, a reputation of poison, and all this stabbing isn't on-brand!
Turns out if you murder enough people in cold blood, eventually even the notoriously reticent and calm Italians will start booing a little. But the Borgias are, you know, still climbing the ladder of power via dynastic marriages and the occasional need to snuff somebody, what are they to do?
Yes Borgia family, you must stop these bloody murders. Find a way to murder that isn't bloody. That's all I ask.
The word goes out and poison pushers from every part of the Piedmont arrive to pitch their potions to the princess. Okay, she's not a princess. But now she has an amazing deadly poison that she can keep in a poison ring and use to poison people any time, any place, for any reason, instantly. Say, why not have a glass of wine before you go, Signor Stupid?
Oh no, you poisoned me with my own poison! I regret spending so much time on chemistry and not enough time learning to understand painfully obvious human behavior patterns!
With this new amazing poison the Borgias went on a good old fashioned poisonin' spree. It's a big poison cake party tonight at the Borgia's and everybody's invited! Bring your appetite... FOR POISON!
Hmmm, turns out FINALLY the people of Italy are starting to notice the pile of corpses strewn about the Borgia's dinner table, and one smart cookie is here to make sure that HIS cake is only flavored with SUGARED LARD. Which later we will learn is ALSO not very healthy.
"I think that Signor De Corneto will NEVER EAT CAKE AGAIN!" "Yes, after he eats this cake, other treats will be DEAD TO HIM, OR VICE VERSA!" "Or maybe... maybe YOU are the ones who will DIE because YOU have eaten the DEADLY POISON CAKE that KILLS YOU, DEAD! Wait, that wasn't subtle enough. Do over."
Turns out you can save yourself from poison by killing a mule and bathing in its blood, which I assume will just make you vomit out the poison because a bathtub filled with mule's blood is pretty gross. Also pretty gross is Cesare's new poison-infected face, which is slightly more horrific than the way everybody else is drawn in this comic, which, be fair, is not winning any art awards here.
According to this story, Cesare then led a freewheeling buccaneer sword-fighting kind of lifestyle from then on, all clashing swords and escapes from windows and finally meeting his end at the hand of his own soldiers, and Lucrezia lived out her miserable broken bitter days alone. While this supposedly true-to-life comic has deviated slightly from historical fact throughout the narrative, this ending is so far from the mark that I advise everyone to do the bare minimum and check out Wikipedia on these characters, which will give you so much more amazing stuff that goes way beyond anything this comic book dared to do that it will blow your mind. For instance, didja know that Lucrezia's dad Roderigo was actually Pope Alexander VI? That Lucrezia had lots of children and died from complications after giving birth to child #8 (or maybe #9, they aren't sure)? And that Cesare wasn't disfigured from poison, but from syphilis? Turns out history IS more fascinating than Stupid Comics!
Now, how about some wine? Or maybe you'd like some cake?
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