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The History of Friday the 13th Comics Part 1: Topps Comics

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Writer’s Note: Thanks to Katie Roe for her assistance in writing this article.

It seems appropriate that it took thirteen years for the first Friday the 13th comic book to be produced, but even before Topps Comics adapted Jason Goes to Hell into a three-issue miniseries in 1993, the influence of Jason Voorhees on the medium could already be seen in every unhinged, hockey mask-wearing character that had appeared in the meantime, from DC’s Wild Dog to Casey Jones from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Despite that, it wasn’t until major shake-ups occurred within both the comic book industry and the Friday the 13th franchise that Jason Voorhees finally made his way into the world of the funny books.

For Friday the 13th, that change came in the form of New Line Cinema acquiring the rights to Jason in the early 1990’s. As anyone who was a Friday fan during the ‘80’s can attest, Jason’s original studio, Paramount, never seemed terribly interested in exploiting the masked killer’s merchandising potential. Sure, there was a novelization here, an NES game there, but the amount of licensed Friday the 13th swag available was nothing compared to the onslaught of stuff that New Line had unleashed upon the world for their own homegrown, disfigured slasher of choice, Freddy Krueger.

Krueger, who as a convicted child murderer (and probable molester), was an even more twisted villain than Jason (who does, after all, begin his story as a victim) ever was, nevertheless adorned t-shirts, trading cards, “Freddy for President” stickers, toys, board games, books, video games and even hosted his own syndicated horror anthology on television. He had also already made his comic book debut, first appearing in a short-lived A Nightmare on Elm Street Marvel Magazine in 1989, and going on to headline three separate miniseries from Innovation Comics.

So while Paramount may have been hesitant to merchandise a character most famous for his brutal murder methodology, New Line had no such qualms, and it was at this point that the onslaught of Jason Voorhees memorabilia truly began, as toys, books, board games, t-shirts, licensed masks and Halloween costumes, statues, and much, much more were released by dozens of companies; birthing a merchandising juggernaut that continues unabated to this day (when multiple Jason Voorhees action figures are still released annually and there is a top-selling Friday the 13th game out on current generation video game consoles and the PC).

Meanwhile, as New Line was going about acquiring the rights to Jason Voorhees, the comic book world was in the midst of its own brief, but massive, post Tim Burton’s Batman industry boom. Today, top selling comics sell somewhere in the area of 30,000 – 40,000 books, but in the early ‘90s a top selling book could sell literally millions of copies. During this time, Marvel and DC put out an unheard of amount of books, with almost every major, established character given multiple titles (at one point both Spider-Man and Batman had something like five monthly books), and lesser characters being given new books almost monthly. Unsurprisingly, new comic companies also started springing up left and right: Chaos, Innovation, Image, Valiant… the list goes on and on.

One comic book company that both predated the comic book boom, and managed to live through the crash that followed it, was a little publisher that went by the appropriate name of Dark Horse Comics.

Founded in 1986 amidst a sea of superhero books, Dark Horse ended up taking a different approach in an attempt to stand out. Rather than try to compete with the decades long legacy of Marvel and DC superheroes, the company began acquiring movie and television licenses instead. The first licensed comic they produced, and one which they continue creating books for to this day, was based on the Aliens franchise, and hit the stands in 1988. Dark Horse then followed it up with comics based around the Predator films the same year. Their success with those licenses, both critically and commercially, led them to acquire more, such as Godzilla and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and ultimately culminated in their acquisition of huge licenses like Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

At a time when every month saw the release of, literally, dozens and dozens of superhero comics, Dark Horse had found themselves a successful niche and proven that, as long as the quality was there, fans were interested in comic books based on their favorite movie and television heroes. Despite 90% of the comic companies that were started up before or during the ‘90’s boom having folded during the big crash that followed, Dark Horse remains a part of the industry to this day, where they are the home of Hellboy and still publish a wide range of comics based on popular licenses, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mass Effect and many more.

In 1992, one company that certainly seemed to be paying attention to the success that Dark Horse was having with their non-superhero approach, was newcomer, Topps Comics.

Springing forth from the famous Baseball Card company, Topps Comics only existed a short six years before closing up shop for good in 1998, but during that time they gobbled up as many TV and movie licenses as they could in an obvious attempt to copy Dark Horse’s business model. In their time as a publisher, Topps would produce books based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the first two Jurassic Park films, GoldenEye, Dragonheart, Xena, The X-Files and more.

Thus, with New Line Cinema looking to take full advantage of Jason Voorhees’ merchandising appeal, and Topps Comics out to acquire as many movie and television licenses as possible in an attempt to “out Dark Horse,” Dark Horse, circumstances had finally come together for the world’s first Friday the 13th comic book to come into being in the form of Topps’ three issue adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell.

Over the following four years, Topps would publish two miniseries and one guest appearance featuring Jason Voorhees, the most notable of which was undoubtedly the three part Jason vs. LeatherFace miniseries. The first real crossover – reused Evil Dead props in Jason Goes to Hell aside – between the world of Friday the 13th and that of another horror franchise, the only meeting between the two titular masked icons (well, until Mortal Kombat X, at least), and with a script by respected horror novelist Nancy Collins, Jason vs. LeatherFace was pretty much guaranteed a place in Friday the 13th history.

But with the closing of Topps Comics in 1998, so too would this era of Friday the 13th comics come to a close… but like Jason himself, it wouldn’t take long for the license to be resurrected, and for another comic book company to take their own swing of the bloody machete…

NEXT: Friday the 13th Comics: The Avatar Press Years

The Comics

(There are few things that are as subjective as a comic book. Some of the most respected and popular artists in comics have also been some of the most polarizing, and often the opinions of a long term comic reader will differ wildly from those of someone new to the medium. With that in mind I have invited fellow horror and Friday the 13th fan – and relative newcomer to the world of comic books – Katie Roe, to provide a second opinion.)


Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday #1 – 3

Andy Mangels – Script
Cynthia Martin and Bobby Rubio – Pencils
Allen Nunis – Inks
Evelyn Stein – Colors
Lois Buhalis and Jean Simek – Letters
Jim Salicrup – Editor

SYNOPSIS: After he is lured into an FBI trap and blown to pieces, the legend of Jason Voorhees seems to have finally come to a close, but hiding in the woods and watching from a distance, bounty hunter Creighton Duke expresses doubt that this is truly Jason’s end.

And, whaddayaknow, it turns out that Duke is right to be dubious. After Jason’s remains are taken to a morgue, his lumpy, overgrown heart starts beating once again; somehow compelling a nearby coroner to chow down on it and transferring Jason’s murderous soul into the man’s body.

But with the coroner’s body quickly growing weak and diseased, Jason needs to regain his own… something he can only do by transferring his soul into the body of a blood relative.

Determined to do so, Jason makes a beeline back to Crystal Lake, where Diana Kimble resides. It turns out that Diana is somehow related to Jason, which makes her daughter, Jessica, and Jessica’s baby daughter, Stephanie, all targets for Jason as well.

Standing in Jason’s way are both Creighton Duke – who, with the help of one of Jason’s blood relatives, knows how to end Jason once and for all – and Steven Freeman, Jessica’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her baby.

REVIEW: Unfortunately, after that thirteen year wait for a Friday the 13th comic book, the Jason Goes to Hell adaptation is really quite poor.

No discussion of this miniseries can really begin until we talk about the art. As a general rule I try not to get too passionate about things that I don’t like, preferring to focus that energy on things I enjoy instead, but let me tell you, I passionately hate the art here. It is, genuinely, the worst art that I have ever seen in a professional comic book. That might sound hyperbolic, but when I think back on my three-decades-and-some-change of reading comic books, I struggle to remember any issue with art I could consider to be worse.

The only positives that the art brings to the table are bits of good storytelling and some nice composition, here and there. There is also a good sense of movement to the action sequences, on occasion, but the images throughout are so lacking in detail and refinement that people and objects end up looking off-putting and indistinct, with the basic anatomy of the characters all over the place, and the backgrounds uninformative and empty.

But where the art really falls apart are the times where the lack of detail and general sloppiness combine with bizarre layout choices to form a perfect storm of terribleness capable of obscuring even the most basic information about what is happening. Several times reading this miniseries I found myself wondering how confused I would be by what I was looking at if I had I never seen the film the comic was adapting.

It also goes without saying that the one place where you would hope that a Friday the 13th comic wouldn’t drop the ball would be in its depiction of Jason Voorhees, himself. Alas, even here the art falls flat, as Jason is drawn just as bizarrely plainly throughout the series as everything else is, and thus his appearances end up having no impact whatsoever. Even the mask is usually drawn without any detail, often resembling the solid facemask that Vega wears in the Street Fighter series more than a hockey mask.

It’s also a real shame that so few Friday the 13th films offer sequences where the viewers might think to themselves, “with an unlimited budget and an amazing cinematographer, that could have been EPIC!” but Jason Goes to Hell actually contains several such moments, none of which are exploited by the art. The sequence where the SWAT team hits Jason with a mortar, the first soul transference between Jason and the coroner, the end when Jason is finally reborn back into his own body, the fight scene between Jason and Steven, Jason actually getting dragged down to Hell… all of these sequences are rendered so matter-of-factly by the comic adaptation that it just reeks of missed opportunities. There are some real possibilities for amazing and unique visuals there, but instead we just get poor reproductions of movie stills, and it’s very disappointing.

“Subject’s body appears to have mainly consisted of roast beef and a beehive…”

The really crazy thing about the pencilling in this miniseries is that issue two is credited to a completely different artist, and I swear, while the art does look somewhat different in style, it is bad in the exact same way. It’s genuinely uncanny: the same lack of detail and clarity, along with the same occasionally decent composition and storytelling. I can’t even imagine how something like that happens.

I should mention that I did find the coloring, by Evelyn Stein, to be pretty well done throughout, and nicely utilized to create an appropriately creepy mood. Although, even here, the occasional error or bizarre choice occurs, like Jason’s hands being flesh colored while his lumpy, decomposing head is an angry purplish crimson.

In comparison to the art, and even when judged solely by its own merits, the writing in the comic isn’t bad. Tied as it is to the film script, I think it does a good job answering some of the questions the movie never got around to dealing with.

For example, there’s some good, reworked dialogue and additional character stuff in Joey B’s diner, where we first meet most of our main characters. Things like the state of Diana’s relationship with Ed, the town sheriff, are much clearer. As are Creighton’s intentions towards Diana, and why those intentions upset her so much, as their dialogue culminates in this exchange…

DIANA: Look, I don’t want your money.

DUKE: Then maybe I should offer it to your daughter…

…which gives Diana a more clear cut reason for her immediate dislike of Duke, and a better reason for the Sheriff to remove him from the diner.

There’s also some nice knew dialogue between Jessica and Steven right after they first encounter Robert/Jason. It lays out what their relationship was prior to the events of the film much more effectively than the movie ever manages.

An interesting aspect to the comic is that, while it doesn’t appear to be widely known (and the filmmakers themselves seem to have walked it back in more recent years) the creators of Jason Goes to Hell didn’t originally seem to intend their movie to be in continuity with the rest of the franchise. Instead they considered the first eight films to have been movies based on the deeds and history of the “real-life” Jason Voorhees, the Jason appearing in Jason Goes to Hell (almost Wes Craven’s New Nightmare style, but a year earlier). The comic book adaptation, however, doesn’t appear to be having any of that, giving Creighton Duke dialogue in his TV interview that has him specifically referencing Jason dying “eight times” and getting dunked in toxic waste, as he was at the end of the previous installment, Jason Takes Manhattan.

It’s a curious addition, and it makes me wonder when the decision to make Jason Goes to Hell in continuity with the rest of the series was made.

The cut scene where Duke gets caught trying to steal Diana’s body, only to discover that it’s already missing, is intact here, and I have mixed feelings about it. Firstly, as presented here the sheriff needs to have a much more extreme reaction to Duke’s actions. Secondly, while I do think that it is a better reason for why Duke is later seen rotting in a cell (as opposed to the film’s “he annoyed the Sheriff in a diner” explanation), it does make Duke seem kind of lame and ineffectual (but then, so does the rest of the story, really – Duke’s got a lot of charisma thanks to the acting chops of Steven Williams, but how this guy, with all of his badass style but no real badass substance, found out all this crap about Jason is beyond me).

Another bit of additional dialogue is in the scene where Robert calls his producer:

ROBERT: Also, have Tim do us up some kind of family tree… Yeah, write this down: Ann Vorhees marries Will Taylor… leads to Diane Taylor. She marries George Kimble… leads to Jessica Kimble.

Huh. So who is “Ann Voorhees?” This certainly implies that Diana wasn’t originally set in stone as Jason’s sister, but maybe as a cousin instead? Regardless, it is directly contradicted by Duke’s dialogue in the film (missing from the comic, because it was added in reshoots) that states Diana is Jason’s sister, but it is interesting that originally this was left vague enough that other theories about her lineage could be introduced.

The main instances where the writing falters are, as with the art, in the sequences that could have been improved or made more interesting with an addition here and there. Jason’s autopsy is an example of something that could have easily been made much, much more interesting with just a few lines (especially as the comic was going with the “in continuity” approach). Instead, some of the more entertaining lines from the film are removed, and, remarkably, the coroner chomps into the heart even more abruptly than he did in the movie.

Another instance that could have used some fleshing out in the adaptation is Creighton Duke’s history with Jason. As in the film, Duke yells “Remember me?!” at Jason before handcuffing himself to him towards the end, but just like in both released versions of the film, the comic adaptation fails to deliver any details about what Creighton is referring to. It’s a weird choice, and I can’t help but think how much more interesting it would have been to just make Creighton into Tommy Jarvis from Friday the 13th parts IV-VI. With Tommy’s backstory you could otherwise leave the character pretty much the same, and everything from his wack job demeanor to his in-depth Jason knowledge would seem both more plausible and considerably less random.

I assume that there may have been rights issues preventing that from occurring, but as it stands, the total lack of elaboration regarding Creighton’s previous encounter or encounters with Jason remains a baffling choice.

I was about 15 years old when the Jason Goes to Hell comic was announced and released, and super pumped that Friday the 13th was finally getting a comic book of some sort. 24 years later, that comic remains a bitter disappointment. I’m one of those weirdos that finds the writing to be more important than the art in a comic book, because I can enjoy a wide variety of pencilling styles, but the artwork in this adaptation is just so genuinely awful that it makes appreciating any of the book’s good points, like the occasional nice bit of writing or an inspired bit of composition in an action scene, all but impossible.

1.5 out of 5 stars

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • There’s a bit right after the SWAT team blows Jason apart where reporters seem to instantly appear out of the ether to question the FBI about what just happened. Were these guys just, like, hiding out in the woods with SWAT the whole time?
  • Some good backstory bits are given to Creighton Duke in issue one, indicating that he had previously hunted down a serial killer called the Idaho Skin Stretcher for less than half of what he is asking for Jason. When asked about this, he replies: “Skin Stretcher was human.”
  • Duke’s line “Why don’t you blow me, chief” has been weirdly altered to the TV version-style one “Why don’t you kiss me, chief.” Which is so lame, that you can’t help but wonder why the adaptation didn’t just cut it altogether. What’s especially bizarre is that the sheriff utters the line “You little shit!” on the very next page.
  • Unfortunately Steven’s “He seems to think… Jason’s comin fer ya.” line from the film remains intact, and, absent John D. LeMay’s endearing performance, it’s pretty painful.
  • For those of you wondering, yes, the homoerotic shaving scene is cut. But Coroner Jason does still strip Josh down and tie him to a table with leather straps.
  • The hand torture/exposition scene between Steven and Duke, drawn terribly and minus the two compelling performances by Steven Williams and John D. LeMay, is really, really bad.
  • The cut kill – missing even from the unrated version – where Vicki’s boyfriend David is murdered in the bathroom is here, and looks as though, in the film, it could have been quite cool (the whole kill happens in front of a mirror, so the reflection would have given fans a little bit more of actual Jason in the movie), but the art in the comic renders it less than spectacular.
  • Vicki leaving a baby in a cardboard box barely bigger than it is, on top of a four foot high countertop, remains just as appalling in the comic as it was in the movie.
  • Another sequence where the artist could have really gone to town, the melting Josh scene, is instead laughable and uninspired. Goddamn it Jason Goes to Hell comic book.
  • The scuffle between Steven and Randy may well be the most awkward and stilted fight sequence I’ve ever seen in a published comic book. And not in the purposefully lame, “two friends fighting” way that it is portrayed in the movie.
  • I will say that Cynthia Martin’s (the credited penciller for issues one and three) artwork in issue three is a noticeable improvement over the art in the first issue. It’s still sloppy and terrible, but there’s a little more detail present and that does make at least some difference.
  • I like that the longer Jason hellbaby sequence is present in the comic, including the part – missing from every released version of the film, but glimpsed in the trailer – where the hellbaby grows to man-size and wrassles with Steven for a bit.
  • Jason getting dragged down to Hell probably looks slightly cooler in the comic book than it did in the movie, but that’s only because both released versions of the film drop the ball so very, very hard when it comes to this sequence.

Katie’s Take: I can’t say too much about the story itself because it’s an adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell (so whether you like it or not will largely come down to how you feel about the film), but one thing that bothered me about the writing is that it often seemed like there was either too much dialogue on a page or none at all. And when there’s a lot of it, the layout of the page would often make figuring out who was saying what unnecessarily confusing.

And wow… there is some downright laughable stuff here. For instance, there’s a scene towards the beginning of issue one that starts with the naked FBI agent putting on a towel, before Jason suddenly bursts through the door. As drawn, it sure looks an awful lot like he’s giving her a good whack with his machete, but she runs away unscathed. And then, panels later, she whips out a gun from what I can only assume is some sort of pocket dimension, and shoots him. The whole thing is just a mess.

Also, what’s with some of the sound effects? Running water goes “shhpoopip”?

Having said all that, though, I really do love the art. I haven’t read a lot of comics, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it has a sketchbook quality to it that I find appealing, and I felt that the colors worked really well for the story that they were helping to convey, especially considering the year the comic was produced.

3 out of 5 stars


Jason vs. LeatherFace #1 – 3

Nancy Collins – Script
Nancy Collins and David Imhoff – Plot
Jeff Butler – Pencils
Steve Montano – Inks
Renee Witterstaetter – Editor / Colors
Electric Crayon – Computer Separations

SYNOPSIS: When Jason finds himself wandering the Texas countryside it isn’t long before he stumbles upon the Chainsaw clan hunting down their latest victim. Identifying with fellow deformed, mask wearing psychopath, LeatherFace, Jason returns home with the clan, where he makes an attempt to fit in with their twisted family. Ultimately, however, the abuse of LeatherFace by his older brother pushes Jason to intervene, and LeatherFace is forced to choose between his new defender, and his cannibal family.

REVIEW: Talk about night and day from the Jason Goes to Hell adaptation. Both the writing and, especially, the artwork are so much better in Jason vs. LeatherFace that it’s hard to believe that they were published by the same company. There are some aspects of Jason’s characterization that I don’t particularly agree with here, and I’m not super fond of artist Jeff Butler’s design for Jason, but those subjective issues aside, the writing and the art really are top notch.

And, apart from the designs for Jason and Hitchhiker, I really enjoy the artwork in this series. It’s clean and very nicely detailed, with well chosen shots that have maximum storytelling impact. Where Jeff Butler really knocks it out of the park, however, is with his ability to draw brilliantly expressive faces and backgrounds that are informative enough to immediately ground the reader in a scene, but never unnecessarily cluttered. The only real complaint I could level at the artwork is that Butler’s style is, in my opinion, maybe a trifle too cartoony for the subject matter. Even the, fairly goofy, second Chainsaw movie (which has a “splatstick” tone that seems to be what everyone involved in Jason vs. LeatherFace was going for) had a bit more gritty realism in it than what we get here, and if the art didn’t emphasize the dark comedy in the script so much I think the comic would have had a bit more of an edge and been more disturbing than it ended up being.

I also think that the coloring, while quite good overall, is partially to blame for the lack of grit in the art. It’s nice that Jason vs. LeatherFace was published after computers started being used for color separations, which gave books a sharper and cleaner look overall, but the bright color palette deployed here is a strange choice that stands in stark contrast to the tone of the story.

The script by Nancy Collins ends up being a little bit frustrating for a long term fan, because while it’s really quite good, the continuity (which, in general, I try not to get hung up on, since the filmmakers clearly didn’t) is just so wonky that it genuinely distracts from what is, otherwise, a very fun and cleverly written crossover between the two lead slashers.

But that continuity… woof.

Jason starts the story at the bottom of Crystal Lake, with the captions and dialogue implying that after the events of Jason Takes Manhattan the toxic waste from beneath New York has started being dumped into Crystal Lake, thus returning Jason home. Which, while perhaps a bit contrived (nothing new for the series), is fine… but then, why is Jason chained to a rock?

At least the fine Crystal Lake tradition of old, unhinged dudes doomsaying about Jason continues…

Then later, while wandering around Texas somewhere, Jason stumbles upon a sign (presumably put up by the Chainsaw family) that identifies the woods surrounding the clan’s house as “Sawyerville.” All good so far – Chainsaw 2 specifically identifies Sawyer as the family’s last name. But then, after this, the comic repeatedly refers to the clan as the “Slaughter” family.

When we do meet the Chainsaw clan, one character is just called “cook,” but is obviously Drayton from the first two Chainsaw films, and one character is called “Hitchhiker,” but looks nothing like the hitchhiker from the original Chainsaw (later named “Nubbins Sawyer” in the sequel) and talks exactly like Chop Top from Chainsaw 2

In other words, the continuity is a total mess. The only way to make it work is to place it after Jason is, apparently, chained to a rock again at some point following the events of Jason Takes Manhattan, but before the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, then mentally replace all uses of the name “Hitchhiker” with “Chop Top” and mentally replace the last name “Slaughter” with “Sawyer.

The issue is further compounded by the portrayal of Jason’s childhood memories, which feature an oddly plump Mrs. Voorhees answering to the name “Doris,” and murdering a man that is implied to be Jason’s abusive father. While these flashbacks are somewhat important to the narrative of Jason vs. LeatherFace, they don’t play nice with either the established film continuity (such as it is) or with the appearance of Jason’s father in the Friday the 13th part VI novelization, so some fans may want to just ignore them altogether.

Continuity concerns aside, however, Jason vs. LeatherFace is actually a pretty fun ride. Fans of the first Chainsaw sequel will especially find a lot to enjoy here, since, as previously mentioned, it is undoubtedly that film’s tone that the comic most closely adheres to. The main thrust of the story is taken up with an approach that I found to be rather clever as Jason spends most of his time in the comic essentially trying to befriend the Chainsaw clan in general, and LeatherFace in specific. It’s not too hard to imagine that if Jason saw this deformed, masked guy hunting down somebody in the woods, he might be inclined, in his own simple way, to find some kind of kinship there, and I think that idea is handled pretty well here by Nancy Collins. It’s pretty high concept stuff by Friday the 13th standards, and it is definitely the most fascinating aspect of the miniseries, and an approach that has allowed it to remain fresh and interesting even a decade after the Freddy vs. Jason movie has come and gone. I think it’s great that the series examines the commonality between Jason and LeatherFace on a deeper-than-surface level – comparing and contrasting Jason’s connection to his mother with LeatherFace’s connection to his family – and in a more “by-the-numbers” sort of crossover, I doubt we would have seen that done.

I do feel that LeatherFace’s eventual betrayal of Jason, inevitable though it was, could have been handled a little better. Jason has just spent practically the entire miniseries defending LeatherFace from his brother’s abuse, so I would have liked LeatherFace to have been a bit more conflicted about attacking him. Just a couple of panels of the family really pushing him to go after Jason would have gone a long way.

The actual fight between Jason and the chainsaw clan takes up most of the third issue, and it’s about as satisfying as possible, given the limitations of the miniseries (i.e. Jason isn’t just going to butcher everyone, like he probably should). It could have been a bit longer, but what’s there still delivers an iconic moment or two.

In the end, despite a huge amount of continuity problems, Jason vs. LeatherFace is the definite highlight of this era of Friday the 13th comic books, and a forgotten gem that takes a thoughtful and interesting approach to the horror franchise crossover.

4 out of 5 stars

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Jason chops a dog in half at one point, which I know is going to bother some fans (and Kane Hodder), but – meh – I don’t really have a problem with it.
  • One thing I do enjoy about Jeff Butler’s Jason design is how it does seem like a sort of “halfway point” between the Jason designs in Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason Goes to Hell.
  • That Drayton is always just called “the cook” or even “cook” seems like an odd choice. It’s almost like Nancy Collins was constantly pivoting between disavowing Chainsaw 2 and embracing it.
  • I really don’t get this thing the Topps comics had about giving Jason the bloated, bumpy Jason Goes to Hell head design, but normal, unrotted human hands. It’s just weird.
  • It must be the ’90’s – Hitchhiker makes a “NOT!” joke before killing someone.
  • It’s genuinely endearing – in that demented, The Devil’s Rejects sort of way – how the family is all so eager to spend time with Jason. I love the scenes of cook talking to Jason about his secret restaurant fantasies and Hitchhiker showing Jason his treasures.
  • It’s interesting that the flashback bit with Jason’s mother killing his father does tie in fairly well with the “Pamela Tapes” that Friday the 13th Part VI writer/director Tom McLoughlin wrote for the recent Friday the 13th video game.
  • At one point Jason wonders if being away from Crystal Lake is what is causing his change in behavior and willingness to try and hang out with the cannibal clan instead of just murdering them all. I actually find this notion to be pretty fascinating – the idea that the “evil” in Jason is more overpowering and has greater control over his actions when he is closer to Crystal Lake. It doesn’t fit in real well with Jason X though.

Katie’s Take: What the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks? So I’m guessing the reason this book exists is that after Jason fought a Carrie-like individual in Part VII and then went to Hell, Topps comics felt all bets were off and now anything could happen. But wow, they really took that opportunity and ran off the end of a cliff with it.

I have so many questions…

Why is Jason Goes to Hell meatball Jason trapped in the lake like Part VII Jason? Chains and all?

When did Crystal Lake become a chemical waste pile?

In what universe would Jason start to have feelings and walk home, arm and arm, with Leatherface for dinner?

I feel like this writer just took two popular horror movie favorites and used them to tell the story they wanted to tell, regardless of past backstories or characterizations. My Jason vs. Leatherface synopsis: Family adopts misunderstood orphan boy. He and the family’s youngest son grow close and bond over their imperfections. Meanwhile the family patriarch grows to like new orphan boy more than his own youngest son, bringing him into the family business while leaving his youngest son out in the cold, thus fostering resentment between his youngest son and the orphan. Older son then repeatedly abuses the younger son, triggering the orphan boy’s flashbacks of his own childhood abuse, after which he defends and stands up for the youngest son, but the youngest son stands by his family anyway, because… it’s his family. Or something. The end.

It’s so bad. So very, very bad.

The artwork isn’t the best, either. Everything is kind of exaggerated and grotesque and everyone looks like a dirty New York burglar.Except Leatherface, who looks like an orangutan Frankenstein monster.

Yeah, so, sadly, I just don’t feel like this miniseries does justice to either of these iconic characters, and instead just haphazardly throws them together into an ugly, unstructured and unsatisfying mess of a story.

1 out of 5 stars


Satan’s Six #4

Tony Isabella – Script
John Cleary – Pencils
Armando Gil – Inks
Lois Buhalis – Letterer
Phil Zimelman – Colorist
Jim Salicrup – Editor

SYNOPSIS: A group of souls too good for Hell and too bad for Heaven make a deal to collect souls for demonic entity Odious Kamodious (ugh) in order to escape from limbo. When they turn out not to be very good at it, Odious Kamodious (ugh) summons Jason from Hell to tussle with them for a bit.

REVIEW: Jesus God the artwork in this comic is like Rob Liefeld and Mountain Dew had demon sex and shit the resulting offspring onto paper.

I suspect that sometimes Jason just wears that mask to hide his embarrassment. 

Jason’s appearance here is amusing, in that it’s your only chance to see Jason fight a doofy monster that actually manages to look even worse than that holodeck goblin he slashes through in Jason X, but it is the very definition of shoehorned in. Summoned by a baddie to fight the protagonists of the book, Jason does so for a few pages, but then he gets teleported away by page 6, never to return.

The rest of the issue is pretty much incomprehensible without reading the first three issues of the series… and one suspects maybe even after doing so.

For Friday the 13th completists only.

1 out of 5 stars

Katie’s Take: What the fuck is this? What is the point of having Jason Voorhees in this comic for all of three seconds? This is definitely one of the worst (not to mention quickest) cameos I have ever seen. Beyond that I couldn’t really follow the story since I haven’t read the first three issues, but the artwork is nicely detailed, the dialogue isn’t bad and the colors are certainly bright and vivid.

2 out of 5 stars

Look for Part 2 of The History of Friday the 13th Comics soon!

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SOMA Sailing to Xbox One on December 1

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SOMA (review) will be heading to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of a new safe mode, and we have all the details you need right here!

SOMA Coming to Xbox One with New “Safe Mode”
There’s no need to be concerned. You are always safe…

Isolated, submerged in the ocean’s darkness, chaos has overtaken the halls of PATHOS-II, and the boundaries of humanity strained beyond repair. From Frictional Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Amnesia series, SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of Safe Mode.

Safe Mode introduces an optional new way to play SOMA in the Xbox One and PC releases. Protected from the hostile creatures below, let yourself sink into the mystery and atmosphere of PATHOS-II as you uncover the truth and determine the fate of the station.

SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st and is available to pre-order now. Safe Mode will launch simultaneously as a free update for PC and will be available for PS4 at a later date.

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Thelma Is Fantastic and Now You Can Watch the Opening Scene

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One of this year’s most beautiful and subdued horror films is Joachim Trier’s Thelma (review), which opens in Los Angeles tonight. To give you a bit of what the film is like, The Orchard have released the opening scene, which shows a man and his daughter hunting in the bleak Norwegian winter. When they come across a young deer, the true intentions of this trip become apparent…

Having seen Thelma, I can tell you that it’s truly something special. It’s a slow burn, to be certain, but it plays out gorgeously, resulting in a film that has yet to leave my mind.

Related Story: Exclusive Interview with Thelma’s Joachim Trier

Locations and tickets for Thelma can be found here.

Synopsis:
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.

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Award-Winning The Child Remains Playing Tomorrow at the Blood in the Snow Festival

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The award-winning supernatural thriller The Child Remains, which has been on the festival circuit, is returning to Canada to play tomorrow night at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto. Tickets for the screening, which is at 9:30pm, can be found at the festival’s website.

The film has won awards in festivals across Canada as well as Best Foreign Feature at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival in London, UK.

Described as The Shining meets Rosemary’s Baby meets The Orphanage, the film stars Suzanne Clément, Allan Hawco, Shelley Thompson, and Geza Kovacs. Directed and written by Michael Melski, who co-produced the film alongside Craig Cameron and David Miller, The Child Remains is aiming for a Canadian theatrical release in Spring 2018 and a US theatrical release in October 2018.

Synopsis:
An expectant couple’s intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and young mothers were murdered. Inspired by the true story of the infamous ‘Butterbox Babies’ and their macabre chapter in Canadian history, The Child Remains is a twisting supernatural thriller that emphasizes story and suspense over shock and gore.

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