6 Dec

The Android’s Dungeon: Velvet, Letter 44 & Rat Queens

Posted by Bryan White | Friday December 6, 2013 | Comics,Reviews,The Android's Dungeon,Youtube

Watch this week’s episode of Cinema Suicide for the return of The Android’s Dungeon, the old Cinema Suicide comic book column now in glorious high definition. This week I let you in on three comics that have been working for me lately, The spy comic Velvet on Image Comics from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, the sci-fi book Letter 44 on Oni Press from writer Charles Soule and artist Alberto Jimenez Albuqurque and Rat Queens on Image Comics from writer Kurtis Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch.

Read the first issue of Letter 44 here: http://io9.com/read-the-first-issue-of-letter-44-the-comic-everyones-1472795323

Join the Suicidal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CinemaSuicide
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The Cinema Suicide theme song is ‘Boston Hardcore Caligula’ by Agoraphobic Nosebleed from their album, ‘Altered States of America': https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/altered-states-america-deluxe/id293674799

This week’s music bed is ‘We Live In The Shadows’ by Doomriders from their album, ‘Grand Blood': https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/grand-blood/id714648460

31 Jul

The Android’s Dungeon: Batman – a stealth horror character?

Posted by Bryan White | Tuesday July 31, 2012 | The Android's Dungeon

Batman as a horror characterWith The Dark Knight Rises dominating the box office and me neck-deep in Arkham City for Xbox 360, I’ve been thinking lately about an idea I’ve had rolling around in my head for some time in half-baked format:

Maybe it’s just because I don’t actually follow Batman beyond the odd one-shot or mini-series. Maybe it’s because my fondest memories of the Adam West Batman show involve Vincent Price. Maybe it’s because that when I do buy a Batman book, it’s because my natural status as a horror fan draws me toward the darker explorations of Batman in a horror context, but it seems to me that every time I look, I find something in the Batman canon that makes me think that even when he’s being written in the most straight-ahead fashion by whatever Schmoe DC has hired, it seems to me that Batman is injected with at least some degree of the horror genre. The medium doesn’t matter, either! Whether it’s Detective Comics, the movies and even that outstanding Batman: The Animated Series. Batman is always spooky.

The very foundation of Batman’s origin is rooted in horror. Superman’s origins not only involve the death of his parents but the death of his entire race but he flies through the space away from this tragedy into the arms of a loving pair of parental units so it renders his argument moot. Others, however,  The Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, any of the other members of The JLA, none of them feature a tragic back story involving the death of a child’s parents. Comic books have grown up since the golden age but the one thing you have to remember was that back in 1939 when Batman made a splash in the pages of Detective Comics #27, comics were largely a product directed at children. I’m sure there were handfuls of adults consuming comics on the sly but if the average comic book consumer of today were to be seen with boxes upon boxes of lovingly bagged and boarded comic books, they would have been marched off to the funny farm where they would have found an ice pick jammed through their ocular cavity, scrambling up the frontal lobe of their brain. It was fucking unheard of! Kids bought and read comics and their parents hated it! So how strange was it that as a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed the senseless murder of his parents? Disney did this a lot, too, in their feature cartoons using dead parents as a driving force behind a character. Take yourself back to 8 years old and put yourself there. It’s unpleasant to think about it now, even as a rational adult.

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12 Jun

X-Men: First Class, revisionist origins and why I’m okay with mangling Marvel continuity

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday June 12, 2011 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

It’s been too long since I’ve had a proper Android’s Dungeon column. Way too long. Truth be known, those article tend to fall in the middle of long comic book binges where I spend more time catching up on trades than I do watching movies and since I haven’t bought a comic in a very long time, it’s only appropriate that I leave the topic uncommented upon. I recently caught X-Men: First Class, though, and it nearly inspired me to go dancing through the streets like Gene Kelly on MDMA. So let me be clear and get a couple of things out of the way:

Uncanny X-Men #253My first comic book was actually a fantasy book called Killer. It had some Frazetta style cover that caught my eye. The first book that I bought and really liked was the final issue of that Punisher limited series in the 80’s that became the Punisher regular series but the first comic that I bought and became a fan of, the book that lured me into the world of comics in complete was Uncanny X-Men #253. Why this book? I can’t really remember. The cover, when compared the covers of other Uncannys of the time, is actually kind of a clusterfuck. When you figured two issues prior, the cover featured a Marc Silvestri illustration of Wolverine crucified to a giant X, this one doesn’t say shit. It was also a terrible book to start a series like X-Men with. I landed right in the middle of an exceptionally convoluted story that planted the only two active X-Men of the time, Forge and Banshee, in the middle of a search for the rest of the team after they had escaped The Reavers by stepping into the Siege Perilous, whereupon they lost their memories and were scattered all over the world. Psylocke was even turned into a Japanese girl ninja. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Jubilee (his then-latest relationship with a minor that was only a little less inappropriate than Batman and Robin) are floating around what looks like the set of Pirates of the Carribean only it’s in Japan or something. It was fucking nuts but I stuck with it and witnessed the long, slow demise of one of Marvels then-most innovative and hyper melodramatic books. How bummed was I?

I caught the comic book wave right around the same time that a lot of new blood was entering the mix. There was a new generation of artists working for Marvel and DC at the time and their young perspective on comics took old dogged books and breathed new life into them, even if that life was sometimes made rancid by the heavy hand of Rob Liefeld. The problem, however, was that as I aged, the books failed to grow with me and while my tastes were becoming more sophisticated and my expectations grew, super hero comics, X-Men in particular, failed to grow with me. The books multiplied as their popularity flourished but all this meant was that there were now more mediocre comics on the market than before, selling more books than any other series before them. Each one of these books had devolved into teenage soap operas involving more complicated romantic relationships between characters than interesting rivalries and conflict between heroes and villains. I became very bitter about supers books at this time but I never let go of that fondness I had for Uncanny X-Men during its glory days. By that I mean that period of the late 70’s into the mid-80’s where the book began to fall into insane sci-fi storytelling that had Professor X jumping in and out of his wheelchair almost on a monthly basis thanks to alien technology that could fix him and the awful shit that Magneto did to put him back in the chair. It also turned out that Jean Grey wasn’t dead, Madeline Pryor was a clone of Jean and Cyclops’ parents, long thought dead, had retreated into space where they were now cutlass wielding space pirates. Or something. No matter how wound up and twisted the canon became, I still loved it and still love it today. Which is one of my major gripes about Marvel Comics.

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16 Sep

The Android’s Dungeon: Lotsa comics coming to TV (Sandman, Powers, Fables)

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday September 16, 2010 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

PowersThe movies are a terrible place to adapt comics. I know, I know, it’s huge box office right now and a trend that shows no sign of stopping but think about it. Many popular comics being adapted to screen right now have been in circulation since the 60’s and some even beyond that. We’re talking whole decades of continuity and canon crammed into a 90 minute plus block of time. Unless you’re sequelizing the source material you have to fill in the origin story as well as  a robust super hero/super villain conflict and in the process, you have to cut corners in order to make it all fit. This incenses fans, of course. There is no one on Earth more critical of an adaptation than comic fans. The real place to put your comic adaptations is television.

The obvious problem is budgetary. If you go with a major network, then you have to produce a season of TV that runs 17 to 24 episodes in length. This results in a lot of fluff and filler. If your show is effects heavy, you’re going to spread your already meager budget pretty thin between your effects budget and cast salaries. So how do you remedy this problem? You go to cable. Cable network budgets are also quite fickle, though. You can run the shorter seasons but without a solid precedent to cite as a reasonable expectation of a return on investment, how do you convince FX that spending more than usual on a short season of a very specific genre of television is a good idea? Herein lies the problem. Until recently, the comic book medium, even as it raked in record box office, was seen as low-brow kids fare. You couldn’t produce such a movie unless it was accompanied by a merchandising line to cram the shelves at Walmart. Christopher Nolan’s extremely dark Batman movies mark a significant change in studio policy since the movies were not the sort of thing you wanted to take your kids to and you couldn’t find a Christian Bale action figure anywhere. Since that time, however, cable networks have been flirting with the idea of adapting comics to TV and pulling down some of that sweet super hero coin for themselves.

Sandmans Delirium

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13 Jul

The Android’s Dungeon honors Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010

Posted by Bryan White | Tuesday July 13, 2010 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

So I go off the radar for a couple of days, taking some much needed R&R, and what do I come back to the office to find? News that Mel Gibson is even crazier than I had first thought and news that Harvey Pekar had died. What the hell, world?

See, there’s indie comics and then there’s indie comix and for a really long time, Pekar fell into the latter category. He was one of those guys working so deep underground that he was associated with Robert Crumb and as Crumb started to come to the surface, Pekar hung out in the depths for a bit longer before his unique personal style was propelled into the mainstream with a sweet biopic starring Paul Giamatti. And it was about time. I discovered American Splendor on the high shelves of a local comic shop when I was at my snobbiest. Having been fed up with the double gate-fold excesses of super hero books in the early 90’s and a revelation that The Uncanny X-Men insisted on looping back around again and again to jump that fucking shark with a book dedicated entirely the marriage of Cyclops and Jean Grey, I started digging deeper for comics that had some kind of actual value to them in the creativity department and in the process found Harvey Pekar. Most of the my early experiences with off-beat indie books rolled off into oblivion, most of them pointless exercises in abstraction, but Pekar wrote with a voice that echoed in my head for days or weeks after reading.

If you’ve seen interviews with Harvey or the awesome biopic, which features him extensively, you know that he’s a pretty mousy guy and he comes off exceptionally pessimistic and bitter  but that was just his way. The real Harvey, seen in the pages of his comic, American Splendor, was deeply human and very funny. He documented his take on shit that happened all around him in his native Cleveland, Ohio, and did it in such a way that made the extremely ordinary seem downright exotic. This was a sentiment that I could understand seeing as how I’ve spent most of my life living in the slow lane of small-town New Hampshire (aren’t they all small towns?).  A lot of people have flexed their creative juice by talking up the banality of their particular setting but nobody did it like Harvey and it made the ennui of a thrill seeker living in a place where nothing ever happens seem a little less oppressive.

Harvey was the antithesis of pretense and his modesty is what made his art so potent. There’s an enormous back catalog of American Splendor to be read not to mention an excruciating document of Harvey’s struggle with cancer in the form of Our Cancer Year, illustrated by Frank Stack and co-written with his wife, Joyce Brabner. If you’re only marginally aware or completely unfamiliar, I urge you to look into the work of one of the greatest minds of independent comics. Pekar was a poet at heart, one of the last of the beats and chose to express his fustrations and general observations about the ways that we choose to live out our lives in comic book form. Often dismissed as kid stuff, Pekar was a cornerstone in the argument in favor of comics as art. He was billiant and funny and will be missed. To honor his way out, here’s Harvey deep sixing his regular appearances on Late Night With David Letterman.

7 May

The Android’s Dungeon: Victorian Undead/I, Zombie/Sparta USA

Posted by Bryan White | Friday May 7, 2010 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

The prospect of Sherlock Holmes vs. anything is a pretty attractive deal for me but Victorian Undead is pretty much a horror/mystery wet dream that throws in everything but the kitchen sink to achieve maximum cool. I was once reminded here on this blog that not everything old timey and British constitutes Victorian and this is certainly the case here. Around the turn of the century, the last century, that is, Holmes and Watson are called in by Scotland Yard to have a look at a dead man who defies logic and continues to live. Before any conclusions are drawn, though, MI5 shows up and shutters the case. This, of course, does not stop Holmes who eventually uncovers a sort of writhing mass grave below the streets of London and stumbles into the plot of his now undead arch-enemy James Mortiarty to turn all of England into a shambling horde of zombies.

Writer, Ian Edginton, a 2000AD regular, is exceptionally familiar with the rich lore of Holmes, he also knows how to have a good time with a ton a genre tropes, all playing nicely with one another in a single six issue series. You get the usual Holmes treatment with the obvious zombie horror, steampunk elements and nods to Dr. Who, James Bond and Professor Quatermass. Victorian Undead, for anglophiles, is a gigantic love letter to British pulp culture. Fall in love with this book.

I have been waiting with baited breath for I, Zombie ever since I spotted it in the House of Mystery one-shot last year. I hate reviewing Issue 1’s because of how vague the books can be. Every issue 1 is out to introduce characters and set up the issues to come, so it’s hard to get a handle on what’s going on. I, Zombie introduces Gwen Dylan, zombie girl detective. She lives in a cemetery, hangs out with a ghost from the 60’s and puts up with the relentlessly awkward advances of a were-terrier named Scott. In order to maintain her state of human appearance, Gwen has to eat brains once a month lest she turn into a shambling, rotting corpse. In the process, she gains the memories of the brain she’s eating. In this particular issue 1, Gwen eats the brains of a murder victim and is compelled to find out what happened.

I began a love affair with Mike Allred back in the day when I was introduced to the pages of Madman, a quirky super hero book that you could read and still maintain credibility with your Eight Ball reading friends. Allred’s art here is Allred’s art. If you’re familiar with his minimalist, old school graphic design style, you won’t miss a beat. It’s all clean, organic lines, solid inks and soft coloring. Chris Roberson’s script is where the book excels, of course. This is about the most original mystery premise I’ve ever seen and the book’s tragic characters, bearing a likeness to the BBC series, Being Human, are a tragic lot in spite of the sometimes comical and weird circumstances. Lots of fun and nice to look at, I, Zombie is definitely worth following into issue 2.

I need you to understand something. I don’t buy monthly books anymore. The cover prices on these books are just too damn high and comics are full of shit, mostly. Something genuinely original comes along so seldom and even some of my favorite books don’t compel me to keep up with them monthly, but Sparta USA just might be the most fascinating title of 2010 that keeps me coming back every month for a new issue. Roght from the get go, something seems very wrong with the town of Sparta whose 10,000 citizens all play football at some level. As a matter of fact, the whole town seems cut off from the rest of the world, stuck in a small town mentality that is an extreme-right-winger’s dream come true. They all live under the thrall of The Maestro, wise leader with blue skin who shows up a few times a year to deliver babies supplied to the community by the President of the United States, who, in this book, is almost regarded as god or at least The Pope. Meanwhile, living in the hills is the greatest quarterback Sparta ever knew, now gone rogue and living off the land, he and his red skin return to Sparta to show everyone the mysterious and terrible truth about the world outside of Sparta.

I don’t even know where to begin with Sparta USA. The art isn’t much to write home about. It’s a thick line, low detail style from artist Johnny Timmons that is suitable and strictly utilitarian. However, it’s writer, David Lapham’s crazy-ass ideas of the Texas lifestyle run amok that cements the plot firmly in weirdsville. In its second issue, the series is out of its mind and unlike anything I’ve ever read. Whatever brought the idea to Young Liars writer, Lapham is beyond me and how he managed to pitch is successfully to Wildstorm is even harder to understand. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s fucking awesome, in fact. It’s just that it’s so original and strange that it’s hard to see any company printing this book. Sparta USA combines Americana with fairy tales and mythology and not that Fables way. It’s a hard sell but I urge you to check this one out.

20 Jan

The Android’s Dungeon: The Goon in Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. Wicker

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday January 20, 2010 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

Why are you not yet reading The Goon? Literate comic fans like to talk about Hellboy and BPRD until they’re blue in the face but if you like comics about meaty big people punching monsters in the face, you can find a true brother in The Goon. The Goon is a tough book to pin down and creator, Eric Powell, tends to keep things light with sophomoric humor aided by the percussive visuals of a lead pipe/wrench/broken bottle to the head. However, this new softcover reissue of the Hardcover originally released simply as Chinatown, adds a flavor previously unseen in other Goon comics. At first glance, Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. Wicker looks like any other Goon comic with a lot of violence and pulpy dialog lifted from any Dead End Kids feature you can think of. Yet, Powell injects the usual silly antics of The Goon with real heart. Chinatown takes some time to explain a few things about the relationship dynamics of The Goon and Franky, the origins of The Goon’s facial scars and the truly touching cases of heart break in his life that sculpted the personality of The Goon.

At this point you may be asking yourself, what the fuck are you talking about? So to aid in this review I offer you this: The Goon is a comic published by Dark Horse Comics with art and writing by Eric Powell. It tells the story of The Goon and his sidekick, Franky, a pair of criminals that run the city with an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. The Goon is primary enforcer for a criminal that may or may not exist named Labrazio (he does). In this particular edition of The Goon, The Goon tangles with an extremely powerful and mysterious criminal entity named Mr. Wicker, a mobster made of twisted branches and surrounded by a supernatural fire. We flashback between then and now, then being a time in The Goon’s life when he was in love with a woman who broke his heart and now when The Goon tries to redeem himself in the eyes of one of the few women to ever show him kindness. In the end, he winds up ruining everything, though not entirely of his own actions. That’s just how it goes for The Goon.

The action plays out like most Goon comics tend to do but the angle of The Goon’s past and his relationships gone wrong adds this completely alien touch to the entire book. It’s a substantial sadness that The Goon typically lacks, therefore putting you, the reader, way off balance and humanizing a character that usually expresses himself strictly with his fists. Though Powell expresses some trepidation in the foreward about telling this kind of Goon story, it’s this uncommon mixture of familiar Goon elements and unfamiliar dramatic ingredients that make Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker, in my opinion, the best Goon story ever told. This special storytelling treat humanizes The Goon and it’s something that I’d like to see more of if only once in a while in order to maintain the enormous impact that it has.

Being a writer, I tend to downplay the artistic merit of comics when I review them, but Powell’s illustrations for Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. Wicker deserve mention. His style is an original blend of cartoons and anatomy depending on who the character is. Every panel of The Goon is a treat for the eyes, but the flashback panels receive a water colors treatment and a delicious red and gold color palette that perfectly communicates the dream-like recollections set in the seedy Chinatown district of this particular setting. The book winds up with a series of sketches and pre-inked panels along with notes that amount to a director’s commentary to explain the though process that went into the creation of this stellar comic. The Goon in Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker is not, under any circumstances, to be missed.

11 Nov

The Android’s Dungeon: Cut the green wire! It’s a ZombieBomb!

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday November 11, 2009 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a personal stake in spreading the word about ZombieBomb!, the upcoming zombie anthology comic from Terminal Press. I contributed a short to the book, to be illustrated by one of the book’s art directors, Rich Woodall. I’ve seen sketches of characters and the first page and it’s looking sweet! But rather than just direct you to the Facebook fan page, like I did before, I now have some pages and art that you can look at.

The deadline is now past due for the first issue and layout is now under way. The first issue is expected to drop in January and will feature stories and art by Shawn McManus (Swamp Thing, Sandman, Fables), Neil Vokes (Marvel / DC), Todd Dezago (Spiderman, Tellos, Perhapanauts), Craig Rousseau (Captain America, Iron Man, Perhapanauts). Also on board are Anthony Schiavino, Rich Woodall (co-art director), Adam Miller (co art director), Robert Mansperger, Josh Belanger, Ron Fortier, Rob Fitz, Tony Donley, Chris Dahlen, Lance Erlick, Erik Evensen, Ron Davis, John Gajowski, Tom Whalen and there’s even word that current vocalist for the San Francisco thrash legends, Exodus, Rob Dukes will be contributing a story to a later issue in the series. Oh, and let us not forget that yours truly, Bryan White, has turned in a modern spin on the old EC/Warren formula called This Night I’ll Eat Your Flesh, concerning the fate of three scuzzy pillheads who follow a little old lady home to steal her meds only to find out that her rickety old house contains a very dark secret.

The shorts vary wildly in theme and tone, ranging from three to ten pages in length and spotlighting the absolute depths of zombie horror to the offbeat to straight up comedy. It pools a collective of staggeringly talented artists and writers both known and up and coming to assemble what is likely to be one of 2010’s most talked about indie comics. You can click through the gallery below to see more killer art from this outstanding series. Preorders through Terminal are not available yet and crappy terms that lay heavily in the favor of Diamond Comic Distributors means that Terminal will be keeping the individual books out of Previews, so you’re going to have to order it at their website or hound your local comic shop until they carry the book (which you should do anyway). However, a sweet collected version will be available through Previews just in time for the San Diego Comic Con next year, so stay tuned. It’s pretty much a given that every little piece of news about the comic will be posted here. And you know what? If you send me your copy, I will gladly autograph it for you. I’m just that kind of guy. When I’m the biggest writer in comics, it’ll be worth a fucking mint so CGC that bitch and keep it in mint condition because it’s going to be huge. At the very least, bag it and board it instead of doing what you do with all your other comics (roll joints on them).

25 Oct

Halloween Blog-A-Thon Day 25: The House Of Mystery Annual #1

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday October 25, 2009 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

house of mystery annual reviewOrdinarily, I’d relegate this review to the old Android’s Dungeon group of reviews but we’re here on the home stretch of Halloween posts and I need Halloween themed material. There was a period in my comic reading biography where I could no longer stand to read super hero books. DC had been in a slump for years with a string of huge event books and publicity stunts (like killing Superman) and Marvel had put all their juice into mutant books and those bore a lot in common with daytime soaps. This is the spot when I finally let my guard down and in a desperate frenzy for a paper and ink fix, I turned to the imprint that I should have been reading all along. I discovered Vertigo and I loved it. It was sophisticated and weird. The problem was, however, that I was picking it up as most of Vertigo’s big guns were moving on to do major league books like JLA or were giving up comics for novels. At least I had a rich history of canon to explore.

The House Of Mystery Annual almost seems like a reminder that for all the books like DMZ and Y: The Last Man, the larger bulk of titles in the Vertigo line-up are actually part of the DC Universe. It sets a wraparound story set in the titular House Of Mystery to give you short four or five page stories from currently running Vertigo titles and one upcoming title. A mask, ejected accidentally from The Dreaming winds up bound to a girl’s face and shows her what it has done to people in the past. There’s a Hellblazer short, a Madame Xanadu short, one from The Dreaming and one from Mike Allred’s upcoming horror book, I, Zombie, and it’s great!

It warms my heart that anthology horror books are on the rebound. This one features some of DC’s best weird and horror fiction comics teams and it’s a consistently strong book from cover to cover even though it’s fairly clear that no one team knew what the others were doing. They were probably given an image of the mask and the idea that their story would be a smaller part of a larger tapestry, the comic book equivalent to an exquisite corpse. It’s fun and it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a bunch of books you either haven’t read in a long time (Hellblazer and The Dreaming are both still quite good) or maybe you haven’t read at all (I gave Madame Xanadu a shot and didn’t care for it) and one that you should be excited for (Mike Allred is the shit and I, Zombie looks like it’s going to be outstanding!). It’s a big book with a lot to see. Definitely put it in your pull list if you like horror comics.

30 Sep

The Android’s Dungeon: Trick ‘R Treat

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday September 30, 2009 | Comics,The Android's Dungeon

trick r treat wildstormIt seems as though anthology comics are coming back. In the introduction to this new Wildstorm published adaptation of the much-hyped Mike Dougherty flick, Trick ‘R Treat, which hits DVD on October 6th, review to follow, Doughtery, himself, suggests that the anthology comic is in decline, a claim that I’m not entirely sure is true. While anthologies used to be extremely common back in the day they seemed to have gone through their decline and are on the rise again thanks to the nostalgia of aging comic buyers like myself. Along with this book, which is an adaptation of an anthology horror movie, Dark Horse just relaunched Creepy and I, myself, have contributed a story to an upcoming anthology for Terminal Press.

Maybe you’ve been keeping tabs on this anthology wunderkind. Doughterty’s movie has been making the festival rounds and impressing the shit out of everyone who watches it. Now, if you’re one of those people or you’d like to see what all the fuss is about you can have a look at this comic, the format that the entire movie is based on. In the same introduction mentioned above, Dougherty makes it clear that Trick ‘R Treat is a salute to horror comics like Eerie and Tales From The Crypt. I don’t much like comic adaptations of movies because I don’t quiet understand why you would read a comic based on a movie you can just go out and see. Marc Andreyko’s script, based entirely on the movie takes place in a single neighborhood on Halloween and focuses on four stories. A father who kills trick or treaters and the trials of being an effective murderer when having to deal with your own child, an urban legend revisited, a grouchy old man neets the worst trick or treater of his life (Sam, the hooded poster child for the movie) and a costume party where the tables are turned on a killer. Everything is tied together so character’s paths are constantly crossing, it’s quite clever, but it’s also not really Andreyko’s device.

The book’s art, however, is quite sharp and each facet of the story has its own artist. The book is illustrated, in parts by Mike Huddleston (MAN-BAT, GEN 13), Grant Bond, Christopher Gugliotti (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) and Fiona Staples (NORTH 40, also a great book) and each piece of the show looks outstanding. Honestly, there isn’t a weak panel in the book. The problem comes in the form of condensed format, though, and much of the action gets lost between the panels and suffers what I call Templesmith syndrome. At times, what’s going on is smothered by it’s dark presentation and is squeezed into 96 pages. It’s a swift read, though, and doesn’t even begin to feel like 96 pages.

At $20, the Trick ‘R Treat book is going to retail for more than you’re likely to pay for the DVD, which comes out the same day, so my obvious recommendation is to just buy the movie but if you’re a fan of the movie already or you become one, forking over that kind of coin for this adaptation isn’t going to kill you. There are worse things you can spend your money on and the Trick ‘R Treat book is quite good for a comic adaptation.

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