Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dark Shadows/Vampirella

    You know the old saw about not judging a book by its cover? I almost passed on Dynamite Entertainment's Dark Shadows/Vampirella crossover because the cover image of Barnabas Collins didn't look remotely like the late actor Jonathan Frid, who portrayed the reluctant vampire on the cult 60s TV show, Dark Shadows. I can be funny about stuff like that. As an artist myself, I figure I can draw a likeness, you should draw a likeness. However, since I had just watched three years worth of Dark Shadows episodes, and because I am a sucker for a crossover, I flipped through the first issue at the comic book store, and seeing that Patrick Berkenkotter, the artist for the actual interior comic pages, could indeed draw a Barnabas who looked like Barnabas, I decided to give the comic a shot.
   Really glad I did. Issue #2 came out this week and so far I'm enjoying the series a lot. Writer Marc Andre'yko has done a nice job of writing Barnabas and Quentin Collins as well. The characters have the right 'feel'. In the first issue of the mini series Barnabas travels to New York looking into the disappearance of a family friend. His investigation crosses paths with alien vampire Vampirella, who is on the trail of a serial killer known as the "Big Apple Butcher". Both characters soon come to the same conclusion, that the killer is probably a vampire, so when they finally run into each other, in classic comic book form, each thinks that the other is a bad guy and a fight breaks out.
   Things get sorted out pretty quickly at the beginning of issue #2 and the mismatched duo agree to join forces. Vampirella becomes Barnabas's guide into the seedier side of New York. Seeing the uninhibited Vampi and the old world gentleman Barnabas try and get along is a lot of fun. Kudos to Andre'yko for seeing the potential culture clash between the two. Soon Vampi's pal Pantha and Barnabas's bud Quentin appear. A woman who can turn into a panther and a man who can turn into a wolf. Expect sparks to fly. Oh, and the identity of the true villain shows that the writer knows his vampire lore. All and all I'm having a lot of fun with Dark Shadows/Vampirella. Issue #3 should be out just in time for Halloween.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Sounds fun, but I might wait until it's collected in a tpb.

You can never really judge Dynamite by their covers. The covers are usually heavy t & a appeal. The stories inside could be great or awful - no telling 'til you try.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Yeah, they do seem to focus on the female form a lot on their covers, Paul. Thet do some good stuff though, now and again.