Re-Animator in Full Color TPB (Adventure Comics, 1991, collected by Arrow for Re-Animator Blu-ray) – Steven Philip Jones

1 out of 5

A missed-the-point comic adaptation is made worse by a poorly put-together mini-trade, packaged with the Arrow re-release of the film.

To cover the latter first, the reprinting itself is professional – the paperstock, binding, and colors are all up to Arrow snuff – but in order to adapt to the box-size, the pages are made wider, which requires a huge buffer between the crease and edge of the art.  This isn’t necessarily unusual in a trade, but Arrow decided to fill that gutter with some distracting, Re-Animator-green artwork, and it just make the pages look oddly proportioned.  The sizing also leads to unfortunate splitting of splash pages and, even more woefully, because of the page count, Arrow had to have some splash pages on separate sides of the page.  Yes: you start reading dialogue on page A, flip to B, then have to flip back to A to continue.  Now, I accept that there are challenges when repackaging something like this for a DVD / blu-ray box: you have to make a decision to change the format, and consider how shrinking the pages will affect things, and etc.  I don’t envy the task.  And alas, this is example of a bad outcome.

The comic itself is a very off adaptation of Re-Animator: if I recall correctly, it reinserts some of the rated-version extensions, but it also shaves off bits here and there and adds bits here and there for reasons I can’t quite figure, except to justify that it’s different from the movie…?  Reading about / listening to commentaries regarding the film, there’s some vagueness about how the film might’ve been intended to be more horror until Jeffrey Combs and Charles Band added flavors of comedy; Re-Animator the comic takes that note and plows forward, moving and removing punchlines so that the thing has almost no humor.  Now, it’s possible that coming into this without knowing the flick that wouldn’t matter, but… well, I love the movie, and not seeing those classic moments (or seeing them rearranged) just doesn’t work for me.  The same could also be said about the drama: everything in the comic either goes on too long or cuts out too early to be effective.

The art (Christopher Jones) is a good balance between likenesses and comic book expressiveness.  There’s perhaps an overuse of shadows to set the mood, but an addition of a colorist in the third issue cleans that up.

No, I would not have read this if it hadn’t come with the blu-ray.  Even as a Re-Animator fan, and even as a curiosity, I would not seek it out.