(Bluewater Comics, 2013)
Review by Brad Gischia
Writer – Jon Judy
Penciler and Colorist – Luciano Kars
Letterer – Darren G. Davis
Cover – Robert Aragon
First impressions are so important, especially in the competitive market of today’s comic book world, when it is just as easy to pass a book up based on the cover alone. (Librarians of the world, apologies for the judging.) Vincent Price on the cover of a book is a definite draw, but with that comes the need to step up your game. I don’t know how licensing works per se, but I do know that you can’t just put a celebrity’s image on a book without any strings attached. Money needs to change hands, and most estates (if the celebrity is deceased) want a look at the finished product before it is sent to market. So it was a surprise (and no little disappointment) to me when I opened Museum of the Macabre and found mistakes on the first page.
Jon Judy has written a fine story. Perfect for the medium. With Vincent Price’s name comes the tag of horror, both campy and otherwise. It’s a fact that I think he knew and appreciated during his lifetime. (See The Muppet Show Season 1, Episode 19. 1977 if you doubt his humor.) If I were to read this story in an anthology of the same name, completely written with no images, I would think it fits just fine. It’s a morality tale about a cop and his partner and their shared visions of heaven and sanity. Good stuff all around.
The art is fine too. Luciano Kars has a unique style that works well in this piece. “Frank” bears more than a striking resemblance to Gary Oldman in the Dark Knight franchise, but I can get past that. He has captured Vincent Price’s look, and in the framework of the story it works fine.
It’s hard for me to praise this too much though. There are so many good comics being produced by small publishers that I find it hard to read something that is this filled with mistakes. I don’t know if it was just in the digital, I didn’t see a print copy if there is one. And to be completely fair, I found a total of only three mistakes. But when you think of it. Three mistakes in twenty-pages? How many books come out with none? And because they happened in the first pages, my interest lagged right away. Some of it was so simple, a doubling of a word balloon; the cutting of a word for spacing, all of it should have been caught if someone had read over the finished book.
So ends my tirade. I don’t often do this, most books are easy to love if you love the medium, but the first impression of Vincent Price’s Museum of the Macabre killed the book for me.
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