Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baltimore: The Plague Ships TPB

Oh man, do I love the Mignola-verse of Dark Horse comics. I’m afraid I have absolutely no memory of Lord Baltimore, even though I think this is the second trade I’ve read starring the character. (Or am I confusing him with the Witchfinder character? I might be…)

Here’s the problem. I just don’t care about vampires. At all. They are so played out in mass media that even turning them into Nazis doesn’t greatly increase my interest. Now, turning them into big bat-monsters? Now that works. Any panel where the vamps are big furry monsters is OK by me. Fortunately, this trade has a slew of other threats too. Floating, Lovecraftian jelly-fish. Fungus-zombies (including deep-sea diving zombies)!!!

Vanessa is Baltimore’s new sidekick and a great POV for the reader. It certainly makes sense that she would be overwhelmed by the madness of Baltimore’s life, it’s just too bad it looks like even her brief association with him might prove troublesome.

I just saw an interview with Mike Mignola where he talks about his co-writers on the Dark Horse horror books. It seems he gives the germ of an idea, and leaves it to his co-writers to script and hammer out. That means that Christopher Golden handles the heavy lifting for Lord Baltimore. Golden sets some absolutely fantastic set pieces, many of which would look spectacular in a film. Can you imagine seeing Baltimore chasing a bunch of Nazi zombies onto a blimp in the middle of a lightning storm?

Ben Stenbeck has a habit of pulling his “camera” back and just drawing the outline of his characters. Sometimes the trick works, with hordes of monsters, zombies, or vampires. But I found it a bit distracting when he used it with his main characters. Seeing dialogue bubbles popping out of featureless faces is just a bit jarring. He does a wonderful job with the sunken zombies, though. The variety in costume, diving suit, and implement is a joy to examine. The sketches in the rear of the trade add a lot too, you can see the time that went into each design.



Newmie Newmz said...

This is the first Lord Baltimore graphic novel/story arc. That's why you have no memory of him.

Unless you have read the illustrated novel "Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire" by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (Lord Baltimore's origin tale). Which I am pretty sure you told me you had not.

Timbotron said...

Hah! Thanks, Nate!