Wednesday, November 28, 2007
WHAT I DONE BEEN READIN': FRIDAY THE 13TH Book One (2007)
A while back I was talking with Jimmy Palmiotti about various horror-related subjects, and he mentioned that he'd co-written a FRIDAY THE 13TH comic with his JONAH HEX partner in crime, Justin Gray (with art by Adam Archer and Peter Guzman). I like their work on JONAH HEX quite a lot, but when Jimmy told me he'd been involved with something that adds to the mountain of useless shit featuring unkillable and nonsensical boogeyman Jason Voorhees — he of the hockey mask and huge fucking machete — I wanted to moan aloud and slap the taste out of his mouth. Knowing my simultaneous hatred for and fascination with the whole FRIDAY THE 13TH thing, to say nothing of probably noting the look of utter irritation on my face, Jimmy was quick to explain himself and assure me he wasnt just in it for a quick check; he'd always felt, exactly as I do, that Jason's steadily growing body count makes no fucking sense, and that if there was anything that the series needed it was some sort of quasi-logical reason for what he is and what he does, and he was determined to provide just that. Well, having read it for myself I have to say I should have trusted Jimmy, since the book delivers exactly what it set out to do, and does so with a palpable sense of carnage-laden fun.
This collection of the six-issue mini-series offers up the formula FRIDAY THE 13TH setup of camp counselors arriving at Camp Crystal Lake, ignoring the place's gory history, engaging in sex, dope-smoking, and drunkenness, all as a preamble to Jason showing up and rendering them into mulch. Exactly what I would have expected, but the real surprise here is the execution of the material, basically a "tale of the Hook" done right that actually gives us a bit more of a look into the machete-fodder's heads than previously seen in just about any installment in the Jason saga. The victims are not all necessarily likeable, but at least we get some clue as to their personalities and issues before they get the chop, and the explanation for Jason's rampage and unkillable physical state works, though presented with a brevity that's all it really needs; this is a story about a bunch of teenagers getting decimated by a savage, supernatural killer, so it sure as hell ain't William Styron, and the creators wisely chose to give the people what they want — gory murders by the assload — with the added bonus of actual intelligent writing for once.
I won't go into the details in case you decide to pick it up on my recommendation, and this definitely is a recommendation, but keep in mind that the material found between this book's covers is exactly how a FRIDAY THE 13TH story should have been told from the get-go, and if the filmmakers who foisted those wretched flicks on on us had done what was done here the series would still be handing out annual doses of good old-fashioned horror, rather than allowing that most American of bogeymen, Jason Voorhees, to slowly fade into the mists of our nation's pop culture and nostalgia. TRUST YER BUNCHE!!!