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This week saw the release of the $1 first issue of The Strain from Dark Horse Comics, an adaptation of the trilogy of novels by director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and novelist Chuck Hogan (The Town, Prince of Thieves). Stray Bullets creator David Lapham joins artist Mike Huddleston (Butcher Baker Righteous Maker, The Homeland Directive) in adapting the vampires-meets-Contagion story into comics form.
Here’s a sampling of what folks are saying about the first issue:
Rocco Sansone, Review Fix: “The Strain: Volume 1 does follow the original novel closely with the introducing all the main characters, the plane with everyone dead and the prologue with the old lady telling the tale of Jusef Sardu. Sometimes adapting a novel into comic form can be tricky and Dark Horse has managed to pull off the prologue and the first chapter in a good way.”
Big Tim, Giant Fire Breathing Robot: “The Strain #1 primarily focuses on a Boeing 777 at JFK International Airport that sits silently on the runway. Before long, fearing a terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control calls in our hero, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, and his team of expert biologists. What does this potential terrorist attack have to do with an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Taking the reigns of The Strain and translating it to comics, is Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham, and judging by the first issue, he has captured the twisted mystery of del Toro’s imagination, firmly planted in the urban fantasy setting.”
Elizabeth Schweitzer, Playback:stl: “Adapted from The Strain Trilogy book series, Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Young Liars) does a great job in this first issue of merging two wildly disparate storylines: Old World fairy tales and the modern fallout from a new Columbian Exchange. And, although I am irritated that Lapham does a jerk thing like end the issue right as the story is ramping up (mostly because I’m impatient and don’t want to wait for issue #2), I am far too intrigued with the novel idea that vampirism could be a viral monstrosity to be too upset. (It also makes me wonder: If vampirism is viral, will the emergent hero of this series actually be the makers of Purell™ or Clorox™? Garlic wards off the persistent Nosferatu, but is it because the stuff is fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals rather than some inherent mystical property?)”
Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “Huddleston’s art is a little more restrained than you might expect if you have been reading Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker. However, that doesn’t mean it is not as good. Huddleston brings every single character to life in a way that aids the text to make you care. Dan Jackson’s colors superbly bring each locale a specific feel. The tone and weather and vibe is present on every page so you feel this is supremely focused on being a comic and not just a novel adaptation of a storyboard for the eventual film adaptation.”
Zack Davisson, Comics Bulletin: “The art [in] The Strain is not as strong as the writing. I am not familiar with Mike Huddleston. His art, while good, is not very striking. I enjoyed his scenes of old Romania more than the modern world, as he infused those with more detail. His characters are all lanky and somewhat tube-like, almost leaning to the cartoony side in terms of body proportions. He does have some nice layouts, especially one scene aboard the airplane …”
Kris Bather, Broken Frontier: “Now, horror isn’t always an easy genre to promote in comics. It makes much more sense to create chills and thrills on the silver screen, where multiple tools can be used to bring a sense of dread and fear. With The Strain though, much like 30 Days of Night, there is once more proof that genuine supernatural terror can work well on the printed page, even though with this first issue the threat of the supernatural has yet to fully rear its ugly head.”