Commence impressive movie trailer voice: In a world littered with film sequels, Smalerie finds herself on an unexpected journey. Join her as she bravely reads three distinct titles designed to work as a continuations of films, in hopes of discovering…if they are any good!
Edward Scissorhands- Story by Kate Leth, Art by Drew Rausch
Decades after the events in the film, Edward finds himself still secluded in the old mansion on the hill. He is mostly forgotten by the town below with the exception of Megan, the granddaughter of the woman he once loved. As Megan searches for signs that her grandmother’s stories were true, Edward, driven by his own loneliness and curiosity, awakens one of his father’s less successful and more dangerous experiments.
Does it fit the film: You can tell that both Leth and Rausch have an affection and understanding of their source material. Edward remains a man of few words and a lot of his personality and loneliness is shown to us rather than told. Rausch’s artwork, though at times a little too derivative of Burton’s style and difficult to follow during action sequences, still manages to create a tone that works with the story. Faces are extremely expressive and almost a bit creepy even when they are happy. It’s clear that Edward isn’t the only one in that town who might be a little, well, strange.
Should you read it: Despite the fact that I found the story a bit obvious and predictable, it was actually a nice read. There was nothing so out of wack or changed from the film to be jarring or upsetting to moderate fans of the film. If anything, it was nice to get some closure to see that there might be more to Edward’s life than spending the rest of his days as a unaging shut-in who spends his time dreaming of a woman who (though she did care for him) moved on with her life. If anything, it might be interesting to see what happens to him when he ventures out into the world this time.
Fan Level: There is a slight danger that the more hardcore fans won’t like this story, but more casual fans might find it harmless fun. 4 out of 5 Expertly Groomed Topiaries
Return to Labyrinth – Story by Jake T. Forbes, Art by Chris Lie
After being saved from the clutches of Jareth, the Goblin King, by his older sister Sarah, Toby has grown up with a pretty easy life. But little did he know that Jareth never truly gave into defeat and has been watching Toby grow up, waiting for the time when Toby would be taken back to the Labyrinth to become the heir to Jareth’s throne.
Does it fit the film: Short answer – no. Longer answer? Ok, I will keep my emotions in check because this is going to be a hard one for me. TokyoPop published this series as an original English-language manga. This means that while it was written in English and is not from Japan, it is written and drawn in the style of a Japanese manga. What does this mean for the poor pathetic idiot who spent her hard earned money on this piece of (wait, I promised that I wouldn’t get emotional this early on)… What it means is that the comic is a confusing mix of half-baked manga style and an attempt to make the characters look like they do in the film. The only nice things I can say is that while it doesn’t fit in with the amazing Brian Froud aesthetic of film, it does match the equally confused writing in the story.
Should I Read it: Ok, I can’t keep it in any longer. I HATED these books. And yes, this might be because I am a huge fan of the film (see the birthday card that Sara made me), but reading them felt like I was left in the oubliette to rot. Many new characters are introduced, the universe is expanded, even our old favorites are brought back. Now this sounds like it would be ok and the point of a sequel, but not a single character is developed enough to be either likable or satisfying. I mean, the ONE character who might be of any interest has a reveal that feels like such nonsense and a let down. I hate saying that things read like poor fanfiction, but this one really does. It was almost as if the author had a suggestion box set up at Hot Topic and promised to use every single idea that was submitted in his story.
Fan level: I’m sorry. I cannot be objective on this one. Serious fans might want to throw the book across the room. Casual fans might not care enough to read it. 1 out of 5 Dance Magics
Ghostbusters: Ongoing series – Story by Erik Burnham, Art by Dan Schoening
After the events of both films, our heroes are back in action. Due to a spike in psychokinetic energy, routine busts are more challenging than ever. Add the fact that Ray starts having terrible dreams which could be predicting the end of the world and the return of Gozer in a new form, and well, things are going to get sticky.
Does it fit the film: Out of the 3 books I read for this article, this series amazed me with just how dedicated it was to the feel of the films. The artwork is great. Each character has these wonderfully epic chins and quirky expressions. While not looking all that much like the actors themselves, the characters still feel so familiar. The writing plays no small part in this equation either. The jokes are often spot on, quick, and natural and include many great one-liners. Another aspect that struck me was the level of dedication to the continuity of the films and even the 2009 video game. Favorite characters are back or referenced casually without being forced. My only small complaint is that there are a few times when the set-ups and conclusions feel a little too convenient, but considering this book was so fun to read, it’s easy to overlook.
Fan Level: I think this comic is great for all levels. Casual and new fans will find it easy enough to follow without too much cumbersome exposition. Dedicated fans will have a field day digging through the pages for hidden references and jokes while reveling in another solid opportunity to visit old friends. 4.5 out of 5 Crossed Proton Streams
So my fellow comic and film enthusiasts, have you read any of these titles? What did you think? Any glaring omissions that I should be checking out? Let us know in the comments section!