GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Comic Review: Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, #1 | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Comic Review: Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, #1

Writer: David Lapham, Guillero del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Mike Huddleston
Genre: Horror
Publication Date:December 14, 2011
Format:FC, 32 pages
Dark Horse Comics
Check out a preview at Dark Horse

When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness

“They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone, In one month, the world. In two months—the world.”

With these words splashed across the second artwork of what looks like a Nosferatu with something fleshy and creepy coming out of its mouth, we get a sense of doom. That the vampires in this first issue of the comic version of Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s first novel in their vampire trilogy won’t be sparkling in the daylight or making mad passionate love with beautiful women. No, you will feel the vampires have returned to their Dracula roots. I have read the first two books in the trilogy. I also understand how it is for readers of books when they see the characters from the printed pages on movie and television screens or as artwork in comic books for the first time. Everyone has their own imaging of how the characters look like. So sometimes, when directors and comic artists give us their vision, it does not always jive to what we see in our mind’s eye. But I admit that the characters in this first issue of the beginning of the book got pretty darn close to what I imagined in my head when I read the novel.

The comic begins with the younger version of Abraham Setrakian, as his grandmother tells the tragic and alternately horrifying tale of one Jusef Sardu, when the boy refuses to eat his meal. A nobleman who was a giant, Sardu also had problems walking and used a wolf-head cane. His father went hunting for a wolf, believing its meat would cure his son’s affliction. Something would, just not the kind of predator his father thought. All of the hunting party dies. Sardu enters a cave where he found the bodies. Much later, Sardu returns to his family’s castle—with strength now matching his size. After that, children begin to disappear.
Next, the comic goes to the twenty-first century, where we meet Dr. Ephrain Goodweather and his young son, Zack. Abraham is now an old man, living in New York. A plane has landed at JFK, and is suspected that all within are dead. The comic leaves us there, a foreshadowing of issues to come. 

The artwork was great. The colors were muted enough to give us the perfect atmosphere needed for horror comic. I love when they used red, either as splotches outside of the plane which put me in mind of blood cells, or one could say maybe they might be lights from the emergency vehicles, but still, they were a foreshadowing of  issue #2 of the comic. Even when they find the cabinet/coffin in the hold, the page and it are colored red.

I enjoyed it, but if you rather imagine your vampires and the horror, read the novel. It is also available on Kindle for only $1.99. But if you love reading comics, this is a good, scary beginning to a series.

Guest Review by: Author Pamela K. Kinney 

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