Zombies are the middle children of the otherworldly family. Vampires are the oldest brother who gets to have a room in the attic, all tripped out with a disco ball and shag carpet. Werewolves are the youngest, the babies, always getting pinched and told they're cute. With all that attention stolen away from the middle child zombie, no wonder she shuffles off grumbling, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."

- Kevin James Breaux

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: DARK SHADOWS Vol. 1

Fans of  the original gothic soap opera Dark Shadows should rejoice as Dynamic Entertainment have brought the iconic classic back to the forefront with their ongoing comic book and the first four issues have been collected in their first volume.  Unlike the recent Tim Burton film which is a re-imagination of the original series, the comic book series is a continuation of where the soap opera ended (and has nothing to do with the ‘90s revival television series).
Audiences new to the world of Dark Shadows and have never seen the original series may find the ongoing comic slightly hard to get into not only because of the huge cast of characters and their relationships to one another but also as this new series jumps right into the middle of the stories of these characters.  I’m sure reading the individual issues can be a daunting task but presented here in the first volume is the first story arc featuring the villainess Angelique who has returned from vampire Barnabus Collins’ past to be with her eternal love.  From this first arc you get the sense that Barnabus’ craving for human blood is at an all time high and Dr. Hoffman (who harbors a secret love for him) is once again trying to cure him of his vampirism, which doesn’t seem to be working.  The Collins family is in complete disarray and the sudden reappearance of Angelique only makes matters worse.
As written by Stuart Manning the series perfectly gives you a timeless sense that you are back in the world of Collinsport, Maine and Collinwood mansion (where the Collins family resides).  The voice over opening for each issue of the series perfectly evokes the opening of the original series and each issue ends with a cliff hanger.  The book is illustrated by Aaron Campbell (issues 1-3) and Guiu Vilandova (issue 4) and perfectly matches Manning’s classically told tale.
I only saw a handful of the episodes from the original series and am more familiar with the ‘90s revival series (and the original feature films) so jumping straight into the story such as presented here was a bit off putting but Manning manages to do an excellent job with this first story arc and I’m curious to see where he goes next.

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