Review by “The Ed-itor” at Famous Monsters of Filmland
Every once in a while I get something across my desk that’s a little different, a little unique. It’s not always a good thing. But in the case of DRIVER FOR THE DEAD, it’s a breath of fresh air in comic market that can get overburdened by formula and market share. D4tD is the brain child of John Heffernan, screenwriter of cult sensation SNAKES ON A PLANE. The story follows Alabaster Graves, a man with a mysterious past who specializes in getting bodies to their final place of rest. These aren’t just any dead bodies (some aren’t entirely dead, for that matter), but bodies of all manner of beasts and cursed beings.
Radical Publishing takes us on this nice detour from the standard comic book fare through classic Gothic Southern horror. When powerful spiritualist Moses Freeman (I’m pretty sure you can figure out who they’d be looking for to play him in the movie adaptation) dies, all manner of creatures are after the body for their own nefarious enterprises. Moses’ dying directive is that Graves get him laid to rest before anything sinister can befall his mystical corpse. Thus begins a wild ride through the bayous as Alabaster and his converted GTO hearse burn rubber in a race to outrun demons, werewolves, zombies, and time itself to honor a dying friend’s last wish.
The story moves at a lightning pace and always stays true to its horror roots. The art by Leonardo Manco really embraces the gothic atmosphere and feels like it was pulled straight out of TRUE BLOOD or an ANNE RICE novel. Graves reminds me of Frank Castle (THE PUNISHER) as written by Garth Ennis. There’s a nice use of short, punchy inner monologue that keeps the character from being overly chatty while engaging the audience at the same time. He’s a bad dude, no two ways about it. There’s even a clever backstory that really delves into Graves’ history and why he has such a knack for driving the dead. The story could have survived without it, but it adds a level of development that keeps Graves from being just another standard comic tough guy.
D4tD is a fun ride. With its roots in Gothic horror and its homages to classic monsters, this comic has a great way of making that which is old, new again. If you’re looking for something a little different than the capes and masks, and you enjoy your horror with a little action and Southern flavor, DRIVER FOR THE DEAD is a perfect choice.
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