Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Is Hack/Slash: Death By Sequel For All I Care #148

The following stories were collected in the 2007 second Hack/Slash trade paperback volume Death By Sequel. However, I myself read all these tales in the Hack/Slash Omnibus.

Hack/Slash: Land of Lost Toys #1-3
Hack/Slash: Trailers
Hack/Slash: Slice Hard

Hack/Slash: Land of Lost Toys #1-3 (Devil's Due Publishing, 2005-2006, $3.25)
Dave Crosland seems like a swell artist, based on an opening sequence involving My Little Pony figures coming to unholy life and trampling a little girl. Then the book progresses to Cassie and Vlad in a graveyard dealing with a Memorial Day slasher that are kind of rough. The main story kicks in of a Freddie Krueger type who kills through twisted dreams involving licensed toy lines. By this point, Crosland is drawing like a poor man's Bob Fingerman, which is totally inappropriate for the real world sequences. The art further degenerates from there, playing out as some sort of college comedic minicomic, destroying scenes written to be tragic and gut-wrenching. Somehow, the art keeps getting worse-- more choppy, amateurish, and subversive of the story's intent. Vlad's origin is revealed, and as depicted seems laughable. Finally Crosland tries to supply some T&A with asses that look like potato sacks and tits that look like pears in a plastic bag. I think I may have made it through the first issue in one sitting, but I only made it a few pages into the second before setting the volume aside for a week or two. I finally powered through the last 37 pages, aided by a lack of dialogue and a lot of large panels/splash pages. The story isn't the greatest, but it isn't bad either, just so poorly served visually as to become unpalatable.

Hack/Slash: Trailers (DDP, 2006, $3.25)
In an amusing turn, this special was a collection of short teaser stories intended to play like movie trailers for upcoming stories (although only Machete has actually been released. Er-- I mean "Tub Club.") It's a fun way to allow new artists to try out on the property, and old ones to revisit it.
  • Blood and Nuts: An unnecessary potential sequel to Comic Book Carnage elevated through nice art by Skottie Young, mostly drawing himself.
  • Renegade Knife: Itai!: A solid premise, but the art of Sean Dove is inspired by the worst manga filler material.
  • Tub Club: Not a very legit "sounding" trailer, and the good girl art reminds me that I'm glad Tim Seeley decided against drawing the series himself, but the premise and "scenes" are solid enough to explain why this was ultimately "produced."
  • ORBITuary: Jason X was probably my favorite Friday the 13th sequel, but my dislike/disinterest in that franchise likely played into my enjoyment of the parody. Sending Hack/Slash into space has no similar appeal, because it is ridiculous in the context of featuring (vaguely) realistic characters I like. Beyond that, the slasher seems really lame. It's a shame, because Mike Norton's art is appealing.
  • Dead Celebrities: Stefano Casseli provides good art and a decent premise.
  • Once Bitten: Josh Medors' art is alright, but our heroes seem out of their depth, and the story's structure is less trailer than a comedic short offered in full.

I'm not sure where it was originally presented, but the Hack/Slash Omnibus offers the holiday short "Slashing Through the Snow" bundled with the trailers. This one is five pages of verse with spot painted illustrations by Mike O'Sullivan and Steve Seeley. It's an amusing enough distraction with one of the better iterations of Santa Claws.

Hack/Slash: Slice Hard (DDP, 2006, $4.95)
After a mini-series with lousy art and a special without a single complete story, Slice Hard was a rebuilding edition. Like Trailers, the art was wildly varied, and this time in service to one plot, but both disciplines were of sound quality. The story opens with a misdirection, then switches artists/gears for some foreshadowing. Another shift into exposition finally allows entry into the high concept premise. Though more than a bit of a stretch in the believability department, the schizophrenic art makes sense when our deadly duo are faced with a super-group of slashers in a confined space. The pieces are put together briskly, and the shit hits the fan early on, leaving plenty of killer action and inventive variations on fright flick analogues. There's lots going on to hold your interest, and you wish other slasher movie mash-ups worked as well as this. Artists include Tim Seeley, Mark Englert, Nate Bellegarde, Andy Kuhn, and Joe Largent hold together well enough stylistically, and the story does the rest of the work.

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