Comics are an amazing media form, folks. And while usually they create a story through a blending of words and art, this is not always the case. In fact, Petals is a prime example of masterful storytelling through art alone.
The emotion that is conveyed through sequential art is both deep and heartfelt. It reminds me of silent films and how they had to take such pains to ensure the audience was hooked in, though this is decidedly more difficult due to the lack of motion to accentuate the feelings of the characters.
To Hell You Ride #1 Written by Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
Art by Tom Mandrake
Colors by Cris Peter with Mat Lopes
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 12, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
To Hell You Ride (the title is a play on words inspired by the comic’s Telluride Colorado locale) combines the debut comic writing talent of actor Lance Henriksen (best known for his role as Bishop from Aliens and for acting in nearly every genre film in the last 40 years) and Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film), with art by Tom Mandrake (The Spectre, oodles of Batman). Those names are certainly enough to sell comics on their own merits. However, it is their deft synthesis of Native American folk tales with horror and western genres that allows Dark Horse’s new series to read less like standard comic fare, and more like a well-paced film that stays with you long after the credits stop rolling.
With a byline like “White Man’s Guilt” and a plot that involves white settlers in the 1880s interrupting a tribal sacrifice ritual that unleashes a supernatural curse that affects the denizens of the Colorado mountain town up to the present day, one might assume this is a book about race. However, that’s hardly a fraction of the point. Without any specific agenda, this comic is already asking more questions than providing answers and thus providing space for an epic journey to unfold. With statements like “The world falls further out of balance with each new generation. The only thing that changes are out intensity of our indifference.” This could be a rather heavy handed comic without the advanced cinematic timing and character development skill of its authors. Existential questions about the environment and ignoring the messages of the land and the importance of ritual are expressed within the frame of a grand adventure, with lots of supernatural elements thrown in.
“We’re protecting the country’s greatest secrets”¦ The problem with these secrets is many of them are wrapped in conspiracy, and nothing tickles curiosity like mystery…” – General Groves, The Manhattan Projects #1
The idea of a book about an underground government agency that knows all of the world’s darkest secrets really intrigued me. I’ve always been a big fan of all the different UFO and government conspiracy stories and frankly still keep my eyes peeled for Big Foot anytime I’m anywhere near woods, so The Manhattan Projects #1 was seemingly written for me. Add to all that the fact that the great Jonathan Hickman is writing and it sounds like a recipe for success…