By Giaco Furino
There has, over the past few years, been a real resurgence of horror related comics. The genre adapts well to the page, and more and more horror comics are being adapted into movies. Sales are up, and many start up companies find horror comics the best way to break into the market and start turning a profit. The popularity of such titles as 30 Days of Night and The Walking Dead have opened the flood gates to a heavy stream of frightful comics. Some are exciting and capture the tension and thrill of the best horror films, but some are half handed attempts at cashing in on the always popular horror genre. With so many horror comics coming out, and looking so similar to one another, it becomes hard for the reader to sift through what works and what doesn?t. Reviewed below are a few of the most recent horror related comics in stores now. Check these reviews out before you hit the comic shop.
Plague of the Living Dead- Issue #3 - Avatar
The Plague of the Living Dead, produced by Avatar Press, is the story of three soldiers who return to Stone Mountain, Virginia from Vietnam, 1971. These three stoic soldiers return to report the strange mission they were on, which involved following and burning everything that a group of U.S. soldier zombies left behind. They learn that their knowledge of this mission means that they will be forever detained, or worse. Where issue three picks up, we see the three soldiers have just escaped and are on their way out of the army complex.
The art in this comic displays great shading and interesting character anatomy. The cover involves three zombie patients eating a doctor, and should really be framed. The artwork, however, is really the only draw to this comic. Story-wise, we?ve heard it before. There are so many zombie comics out there that this story just falls flat. The biggest detractor from this comic, though, is the length. Coming in at a whopping eleven pages, this is one slim pick. This is a great browse if you?re in the mood for some gore and nudity, but even the $2.50 price tag doesn?t make this purchase worth it.
Hack/Slash ? Issue 3 - DDP
Now here?s a comic that strikes a chord. Hack/Slash, a DDP comic, is apparently in the works to become a major motion picture from Rogue Pictures. So far in the story of Hack/Slash, a girl by the name of Cassie is the sole survivor of a mass murderer named the Lunch Lady, her mother. Now, she teams up with a zombie-like friend, Vlad, and confronts and battles Slasher Archetypes. This episode picks up with a KISS-like band and delves into what really happens with bands and their groupies.
The art in this is comic is sleek yet rough, smooth colors with jagged edges. It really is a visual treat, and though we?re coming into this story halfway through, it entertains, grabs, and enthralls. This comic accomplished in one issue what many on major labels spread out through two or three. I definitely recommend this comic, in fact, I recommend going back and finding some older issues to catch yourself up.
Raise the Dead ? issue 4 ? Dynamite
Okay, here?s another zombie story about a small band of survivors in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Basically, there are zombies, these guys don?t want to get eaten by them. This issue takes place at the arrival of a research facility.
Raise the Dead uses a coloring and texture that is at times interesting, at times totally bland. This comic is really a juxtaposition of all the good things about zombie movies and comics?and all of the bad things. I have to admit, if I read one more comic about a ?small band of survivors? I might lose it. There are, however, some pretty interesting twists in this issue. We see some pretty sick zombie animals, and the weird, green mad scientist that is following them around has a pretty cool attribute, but overall the story is basic. It?s the ?Here we are, here are zombies, here we go? fare, and though the overall arc of this story may result in some interesting twists, I see nothing here I haven?t seen before.
Friday The 13th: Pamela?s Tale ? Issue #1 ? Wildstorm
Friday the 13th: Pamela?s Tale is just what it sounds like, the back-story of Pamela Voorhees?s pregnancy with Jason. This comic seems to be set before the first film, but flashes back for most of the comic to the late forties, when Pamela was pregnant with Jason.
The art in this comic has an old school feel to it, with plain paper pages instead of glossy finishes. The artwork is simple, but at times quite startling. It is a very interesting story to read, and flows nicely both on its own and within the timeline of the series. Overall this comic did one thing that, so far, none of the other comics I?ve reviewed have done?it scared me. Not in the creeping terror way, but there were two spots in this comic where superb use of page turns lead to frightening, full page drawings. I definitely recommend this to fans of horror comics, but even more so to fans of the Friday the 13th series.