Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Driver For The Dead

DRIVER FOR THE DEAD(Radical, 2011; Softcover)
Collects Driver For The Dead Nos. 1-3 (cover dates July, 2010- January, 2011)
Writer: John Heffernan
Artist: Leonardo Manco
The gist: Allabaster Graves is a hearse driver who transports 'special' people's dead bodies to their final resting place. Sort of like a 21st Century river Styx ferryman. Evil forces want the magical properties of one Moses Freeman's body (a very thinly veiled Morgan Freeman facsimile). Fallow must battle these forces until the dead can make it to their final resting place. Lots of voodoo references, but plenty of other Horror elements are featured, such as zombies/the undead, werewolves and vampires. Fun for the whole Addams Family. 
Op/ed: This was originally released as a series of three 56-page prestige format comics, which are skinny, squarebound books. Kind of like graphic novelettes, if you will. They were compiled into this book. What annoys me is that, save for the cover gallery in the back of the book, they try to pass this off as a graphic novel. No mention anywhere of this being originally printed as three comic books first. The covers are saved for the back, rather than serving as chapter markers. The practice of putting covers in the back of the book instead of in their 'proper' place annoys the piss out of me. Like saying that these were originally comic books and not a 'graphic novel' is a bad thing. 
I did enjoy reading this. The writing was decent and Leonardo Manco's artwork and Jerry Choo and Kinsun Loh's computer painting are beautiful. Radical Publishing always offers high quality writing and artwork. My biggest gripe is the whole Hollywood pitch angle, covered in the interview in the back. 
The OCD zone: Like all Radical Publishing books, this boasts super thick, high quality high gloss stock paper. The drawback to this is that it can be difficult to read in certain lighting, and it was difficult to photograph for my blog. The colors shown here look wrong when compared to the actual book. The book has heft and feels like something of value, though.
I dislike the uncoated cover, where certain sections of the image have a light coating and the rest does not. All of it is easily scuffed, even when handled gingerly. I cannot understand why publishers go for this 'fancier' production value, when the book would look like Hell if it were on a store shelf and handled a few times. Your mileage may vary. Indeed, some people probably prefer this look to the all-coated covers of Marvel trade paperbacks. I'm just not one of them. 

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  1. Based on this review, I'd be willing to check this out - I really liked Manco's artwork on Punisher MAX a few years back.
    Have you read Radical's Hotwire by Steve Pugh (co-created by Warren Ellis)? The first TPB was excellent (haven't read the second mini yet).

  2. Yeah, Manco is a pro. I have not read Hotwire, but I will give you an **exclusive** sneak peak at what's to come in reviews: Time Bomb from Radical. Believe it!

  3. Exclusive? Come on, I'm not the only one that reads this blog! ;)

    Remind me to give you a shout-out on my site - been meaning to start updating it regularly again soon...

  4. No, you're not. lol You know what's weirder still? I have been getting more hits, and I haven't been actively pimping my site as of late.

    The exclusive gag comes on the heels of the Watchmen prequel thing. Now we are getting Batman/Spider-Man. I shudder to think what Marvel will do to up the ante. Reboot all titles? Reboot the entire universe?

  5. Ummm... Just to let you know, Fallow is not the driver. The driver is Alabaster Graves.

  6. Lol! My bad. I type these reviews from memory...apparently not a very good memory. Sorry.