These movies are associated with popcorn fun. They're low brow entertainment to take a hot date too.
But for Cassie Hack, this ain't no popcorn movie.
Cassie, the daughter of the notorious Slasher, the Lunch Lady, travels the world with her monstrous partner, Vlad, hunting and destroying Slashers where ever they may be, whatever form they may take.
Hack/Slash: Trailers from Devil's Due Publishing. The issue is written by Johnny Lowe, with art by Alex Julian.
Here's how Devil's Due describes the issue:
"The star of the sold-out mini series Judo Girl is back! Adjusting to life in the far-flung year of 2005 is one thing. Fighting the female assassin Silencer is another. And a blast from her past: one of Diana's most dangerous adversaries from the 1960s resurfaces to complicate her life, Lincoln Stanley, aka Hepcat. Has he really reformed, as he claims -- or is he back to his old tricks? Join Judo Girl in this all-new 4-issue mini-series!"
Hack/Slash: Trailers will be 32 pages and will cost $3.25.
What's a trip to the movies without the trailers? Some people have been known to pay money for a movie just to see a certain trailer. Even more, when the feature film falls flat, the trailers may be the best part of the movie going experience. So, with that in mind, Tim Seeley decided to pay homage to and poke fun at these tiny nuggets of cinematic gold in the next installment of his horror/humor comic, "Hack/Slash: Trailers." CBR News spoke to Seeley about the book which hits stores in March of 2006 from Devil's Due.
"Trailers" was born when Seeley attended a horror film festival this past summer. "They played a bunch of old trailers before the films. The trailers, on their own, were actually better than some of the films," Seeley told CBR News. "There was just something so cool about seeing the original 'Evil Dead' or the first 'Elm Street' trailer. You could imagine what people thought when they first saw those trailers, y'know, without the 20 years of re-watching these movies that we've all had. After I had the idea, I just sat down and tried to watch as many trailers as I could. That inspired me even more."
Seeley's marathon viewing of coming attractions lead to "Hack/Slash: Trailers," a very unique and different anthology. "There are four, four-page Trailers and one two-page short story," Seeley explained. "They're written, really, just like a trailer, complete with bad one-liners, tag lines, and voice overs (you'll have to pretend it's the 'Voice-Over Guy.'). The 'stories' they 'preview' aren't actually coming to comic stores (or theatres) anytime soon (as in ever). It's just a bunch of over-the-top ideas...crazy things that probably wouldn't work as well in a longer format, but make hilarious and demented 'previews.'"
In these demented previews Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad will find themselves in a variety of weird and wacky scenarios. "We go where so many slasher franchises have gone before us...to outer space in 'ORBITuary,'" Seeley said. "We pay tribute to the 'lez-ploitation' films with 'Tub Club,' and homage 'anime horror' with 'Renegade Knife: Itai!' Then, there's 'Blood and Nuts' which pits Cassie against Chippy the Slasher Slayer (from 'Hack/Slash: Comic Book Carnage'), 'Dead Celebrities' which gives us a look at a 'celebrity' killer, and last, but not least, 'Once Bitten.' which is an homage to the 'shark slasher' films. Any movie which features a killer shark getting revenge on a family is a slasher movie in my book."
Chippy the Slasher Slayer won't be the only returning character Cassie and Vlad must contend with in the pages of "Trailers." "Chippy shows up, though this time our chipmunk is out for Cassie's blood," Seeley stated. "You'll see a surprise character or two show up. Man, I wish I could blow it, but you'll have to read it and find out."
Seeley enlisted a number of his artist friends to bring his four-color trailer park to life. "I've got a pretty amazing gaggle of creators lined up. Skottie Young, Mike Norton, Josh Medors, JAL, Stefano Caselli-- even that hack, Tim Seeleym draws a tale," Seeley said
"Trailers" marks the first time Seeley, who also illustrates Devil's Due Publishing's adaptations of R.A. Salvatore's "Drizzt Do'urden" series, will both write and illustrate a "Hack/Slash" story. "It was intimidating," Seeley explained. "Isn't that dumb? I mean, I designed the damn characters. I've written them for like two years...but, I've always seen Cass and Vlad through the vision of my penciler. So, it was weird to be adding my 'take.' I'm just used to drawing other people's characters and having other people draw mine, I guess."
Seeley told CBR News that thus far, the various "Hack/Slash" series have been a study in artistic styles in one sense, in that each story had an artist that was suited for that type of story. "You'll see that here too, with each artist drawing just the way they want to, in the style they're known to do so well," said Seeley. "I wrote some of the stories just for the artists. Skottie's in particular. Stefano actually wrote the one he's drawing, so he could wow everyone with his amazing skill at likenesses."
The next few months will be a delight for "Hack/Slash" fans. "Hack/Slash: Land of Lost Toys" continues until January, 2006. "Hack/Slash: Trailers" hits stores in March, 2006, and in the Summer Cassie and Vlad will embark on one of their most difficult and bloody exploits yet. "Sometime in the summer of 2006, you'll get 'Slice Hard.' It's the big action movie slasher flick," Seeley said. "Lots and lots of slashers, and tons of creative death scenes. It's 'Die Hard' by way of 'Friday the 13th.' I'm psyched for this one."
Hack/Slash has quickly risen to become one of the best books in the non-mainstream canon. Tim Seeley has created something that is superficially derivative, but does it's business with a gory glee so profound that it becomes wickedly entertaining. There is no better place to see that than in "Trailers".
"Trailers" is a unique one-shot in that it contains no complete story. What it does is present six vignettes that act as, you guessed it, trailers for movies that will never happen. Seeing as how Hack/Slash has just been optioned by production house Rogue Pictures to become a feature film, the book seems particularly vital and incisive. The six stories are:
- "Blood and Nuts" (art by Skottie Young)
- "Renegade Knife: Itai!" (art by Sean Dove and Josh Blaylock)
- "Tub Club" (art by Tim Seeley and Katie Desousa)
- "Orbituary" (art by Mike Norton and Blond with Chad Wise)
- "Dead Celebrities" (art by Stefano Casseli and Daniele Rudoni)
- "Once Bitten" (art by Josh Medors and Blond)
Although the vignettes are fun, the fact that they contain no resolution or actual story beats makes the issue largely disposable. In some places, it just makes you upset- seeing as how some of the ideas seem perfect for an entire Hack/Slash story. Who doesn't want to see Cassie Hack go lesbian in "Tub Club"? Another problem is the erratic schedule of the book. We get nothing for months and then four issues in four months (this and the "Hack/Slash: Land Of Lost Toys" mini), and now nothing until July. With the rotating artists the title has utilized so far, there shouldn't be an excuse.
Instead of a paragraph about what the book does well, I'm going to present a list of things the comic industry should learn from "Trailers".
1.More lesbians. In hot tubs. At an all girls school. With creepy lesbian murders.
2.Make Scottie Young draw himself being viciously murdered by a cartoon chipmunk more often. He's really, creepily, good at it.
3.Brother Voodoo jokes are always funny.
4.Mike Norton is a comic art god. You give him job now.
5.Drawing Tom Cruise with horse teeth makes me smile.
6.Psychic Marty is the next big character. I smell a slot in "New Avengers"!
In less abstract terms, "Trailers" is a perfect jumping on point for new Hack/Slash readers. It may be weak for some longtime fans, but it gets you in and out in a hurry while giving you everything you need to know about the characters and the world. Cassie is anti-social, but hot. And she wears skimpy close and is prone to being strategically naked. Olaf is a deformed, violent freak... who loves cartoons and fast food.
Hack/Slash is never going to set the world on fire, but it is a perfect piece of popcorn comics, in a similar vein to books like "Batman/Superman". It revels in the medium, bringing the blood and gore and nudity like only comics can. Plus, it seems poised for a major retail push, seeing as how the back advertises "Hack/Slash: Slash Hard", a 25 cent issue coming in July. Essentially, you should start reading Hack/Slash now. Or Tim Seeley will blow up your head.
Writing Rating: (7/10)
Artistic Rating: (8/10)
Overall Rating: (7.5/10)