Hammer Comics/Titan Comics 2017
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Tom Mandrake
Coloured by Sian Mandrake
Lettered by Simon Bowland
There in Serechurch they met with Ermine, the town’s Alderman, and learned that a new vampire menace by the name of Slake had taken over the poor quarter of the town and had begun gathering together an army of vampires, an army unlike anything ever seen before and one which
Porphyr had clearly intended to join.
I will be the first to admit that if anyone were going to take such on a story like this, a comic adaptation of a 1974 Hammer motion picture is Dan Abnett. I mean the man has such extraordinary skill when it comes to writing to take what at the time was supposed to be a very serious motion picture that we see today as something well kitschy or at the best “B” status so there’s a lot to pull from and I love that the tone of the book feels like the tone of the movie.
The whole concept here works a lot better as a comic book for me. Yes it could reasonably be a scenario out of Ravenloft or some other Dungeons & Dragons stylised adventure just as easily but for me this is where it’s meant to be. We get better characterisation here and the potential for stories to unfold without bad, stiff or forced acting. Dan has this knack for writing where the story development, dialogue and characterisation are all interchangeable with one another. This makes reading the stories he writes a lot more interesting and a lot more complicated but always in the best of ways.
So far we’ve see our trio of vampire hunters win, get side tracked and now are trying to figure out a way to help this town with their problematic infestation. Carla’s a woman in a time when they are really looked upon as nothing than things to be owned and used. So seeing her being strong, capable and intelligent which makes it’s truly a joy to behold. The way the characters bounce off each other shows an interesting dynamic at work and one that should grow, change and evolve the longer they stay together, yes that means alive.
It is so nice to see Tom working like this again he’s such a talented artist and his eye for storytelling is legendary for a reason. I love the linework here how the weight of it changes depending on what or who it is that’s in focus. Or out of focus as the case may be, like the writing in a book that we can tell how it’s written, by that I mean the type used. I am enjoying the style and how the darkness and the things that they are fighting there’s a creativity and imagination there that sets these apart from what folks will expect to see and that’s important and just fun to see.
I like how things both go as you’d expect them to while simultaneously diverting from any given certain path. It’s got a kind of outside the box thinking to it that keeps it fresh, original and bringing reader’s back to see what’s going to happen. Then of course there’s misdirection and misinformation at play here as well and I’m not sure if that’s something I reading too much into or if it’s a more subtle part of the writing. There are those among the villagers who give off that not to be trusted under any circumstances feel to them.
If you haven’t read this yet then you really need to and then watch the original motion picture because it’s just worth it for how campy it is, by today’s standards, and how it was taken so seriously then. Titan has the strongest adaptations I have seen in comics and they do consistently with a large variety of source material.