BLASTOSAURUS HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (SQUARE PLANET 09)
Written by RICHARD FAIRGRAY & TERRY JONES
Art and Covers by Fairgray
With creator Richard Fairgray signing on with Jeff Katz's American Original Press, Blastosaurus has fully left obscurity and is breaking into mainstream press at last. As a sort of parting gift to all the fans who read Blasto when he was self-published, Fairgray and Jones made the Halloween Special, available only at the Auckland Armageddon Expo. Here's the scoop:
SYNOPSIS: Freak Out City, the day after Halloween. A mum walks into a bookshop, looking for something to quiet her babbling son Patterson. The cashier, a weird man called Lloyd who speaks with random inflections, begins his tale...
There was once an insane man who lured kids into a forest and killed them in horrific ways. He was eventually caught but escaped from the asylum!
Meanwhile, Blasto's kid friends -- Alana, Sam, Emma and leader Richard -- come to the insane "wizard's" house. He convinces the kids to accompany him to the forest. Elsewhere. Blasto is relaxing in his flat when his colleague Naomi Fenton walks in dressed as a zombie. She tries to get him to come to the police Halloween party, but fails. Then they receive word that the wizard has escaped. So, while Fenton goes partying, Blasto goes to the asylum and is told that the wizard is obsessed with a book called the Grey Tales. The wizard wanted to kill monsters by taking their blood -- and thought the dressed-up kids were the monsters. Blasto is called by Richard's mum Paula, who can't find him. By sheer coincidence, he disappeared off a street where the wizard "used" to live.
Meanwhile in the forest, the kids have been hung in the trees, surrounded by the skeletons of past kid victims. They try to escape when the wizard cuts Richard's hand and takes his blood.
Blasto enters the wizard's house and discovers bloody corpses hanging from the ceiling and passages from the Grey Tales written in blood on the wall.
Back in the forest, the kids finally get down and run for it. The wizard follows them just as Blasto arrives on the scene and arrests the wizard, who hallucinates Blasto as a distorted evil ogre.
Lloyd finishes his story and is told that this happened last night. The story has no effect on Patterson, who continues babbling about the wizard. His mum remarks that maybe he should go live with his father.
At the police station, Blasto tells Fenton that the wizard's book was blank and had nothing written in it. Just then, they walk into the wizard's cell to find it empty with the same passage in his house on the glass wall, scrawled in blood.
THE ART: I really like what Fairgray has done with the art style for this one shot. He enhances his typical with distorted, abstract panels, heavy use of lines and patterns -- which makes it look like a nouveau noir comic, which is so cool -- and distorted views of the wizard that make him look like something out of a hallucination. Fairgray has also improved his art quality, with the characters looking more real and more diverse use of angles. This adds a lot to the issue as a whole and makes it look just exquisite. The issue is printed on special paper with a hand-stamped title to add to its exclusive status. But the art is not without fault: Fairgray obviously needs to darken up the black lineart in Photoshop because it's blatantly clear where he's used a different pen. There are slight differences in the blackness which annoy me slightly. And lastly, I really like the speech bubbles Richard uses with the wizard but the hand lettering looks amateurish. The right computer font could really complete this series. But I am really very satisfied with the beautiful job Fairgray has done.
THE STORY: In typical Blastosaurus fare, the Halloween Special mixes puns and humor with gore and horror. Fairgray is good at puns and makes it funny, and is disturbingly good at creating horrific scenes (dead kids covered in blood hanging from ceilings? *Shudder*) that would make any horror nut chuck his popcorn up. The story flows well and reads like a good quality TV episode. The dialogue has real class and makes you laugh -- especially Paula not even knowing what a mummy is -- and Fenton's pun remarks jerk Commissioner Harris dressed as a bee is just classic. But there are a few flaws. Firstly, I don't believe Richard and co. would be SO stupid as to follow a weird adult into a dark forest. I know they're pretty confident, but they're fraggin' 12! Surely they'd be smart enough to not do so? But I'm not looking too far into this as I love the story and was gripped. Also, I'm a bit confused as to how the wizard kills kids who he thinks are monsters when we're told he wants to kill the other characters in the Grey Tales. I'm sure there's an explanation but I'm still kinda confused. The story overall is well-written and has good flow and realism to it.
ERRORS: On page 5, Lloyd describes Fenton and Blasto telling the doctor about the wizard when it should be him telling them about him. That is all, but see above for some more slip-ups.
FAVE QUOTE: Sam: "I got heaps of sour death balls."
Richard: "Trade you for the apple your mum gave me?"
Sam: "Do I look crazy to you?" [Says the kid dressed as a mental patient with a cage on his head.]
VERDICT: a thouroughly well-done send-off for the self-published Blastosaurus. Some minor plot slip-ups, but I really loved this one. Hope it gets reprinted by AOP. Rated 8.5 out of 10.
Posted by Fanbot at 9:52 pm, MONDAY 7 December 2009