Review by Linsay Powell (@softlyspokenlas)
Whilst on holiday in the States this year (that’s America, by the way, I wasn’t just steam boats for two weeks) the G-MAN told me about a competition Radical were running to win copies of their new trade Driver for the Dead. Obviously because I’m such a jammy ‘B’ I won the competition and received a copy of the trade signed by the charming John Heffernan, signed print and rather bizarrely, a Skype conversation with him too.
After reading, and thoroughly enjoying, DFTD, I was actually looking forward to talking with him and you can now watch a video [of] our chat here…
Driver for the Dead is definitely a book you should look up, especially if, like me, you missed the single issue release. It is a fun, edgy story with a great blend of horror and action. It also has some of the best art I have ever seen in a comic book thanks to the phenomenal partnership between Leonardo Manco and digital painters Kinsun Loh and Jerry Cho.
The story revolves around Alabaster Graves, a hearse driver whose job description verges on the specialist supernatural side. He also has an extremely cool looking car and a whole lot of guns in the boot. Bet you’re wishing you didn’t work in an office now, eh? He is given the job of transporting the corpse of Mose Freeman, an elderly black voodoo priest, from the scene of his last exorcism to the funeral home.
The component that can turn a good comic book into a great one is a really memorable, well crafted villain. Heffernan almost succeeds here by giving us Fallow, a really old Southern, slave owning resurrectionist who needs the corpses and body parts of certain select supernatural people in order to enhance his own powers with theirs. Fallow and his gang of equally creepy creatures of the night are memorable more so for their actions than their dialogue or their own story as they go about obtaining said body parts in the most inventive of ways all over New Orleans, and ultimately trying to get Freeman’s corpse. Some of the supernatural elements of the story could have been ironed out a little better, particularly the scenes with ‘Pearl.’
I mentioned above about the ridiculously high quality of the art in this book. I wasn’t kidding. It is also completely [complementary] to the dark, Southern and supernatural elements of the story. I’ve linked below to the page at Radical Press where you can take a look for yourself. The slick art combined with Heffernan’s well paced delivery of dialogue and strong panel direction will result in you flying through the book and then starting again. This is probably down to Heffernan’s background as a screen writer and Radical’s emphasis on turning comic books into film. But make no mistake, Heffernan loves his comics, as the above video will prove.
DFTD is a recommended book, especially for fans of horror, True Blood, Hellblazer.
Driver for the Dead is published by Radical Books
Written by John Heffernan
Pencils and inks – Leonardo Manco
Paints – Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo
Click the image to go to this article at Comics Anonymous or click here to learn more about Driver for the Dead.