Panels From Beyond the Grave #1

Yes, this will be a comic book column. I may only update it once a month, but I'll play it by ear. So, here is how Panels From Beyond the Grave works. I select a horror/sci-fi comic from my personal collection (I own around 300 of them, give or take), and I write about it. What makes this different from any other comic review? Simply put, I don't know much about comics. I offer an outsider's perspective, the opinion of a casual reader. By no means do I consider myself to be an expert. This is more of a side hobby.

Without further ado, I bring you the first issue of Panels From Beyond the Grave...

SPECIES (1 of 4, June 1995)

This was one of the first comic books I ever bought. I kept seeing TV spots for a monster movie called Species, and since I had low standards as a child, I was highly anticipating what was sure to be a science fiction classic. Ha! Actually, I do enjoy the film for what it is. It's a lightweight exploitation reel with a sweet H.R. Giger design and capable actors on board. Even the sequels are fun. Of course, I didn't know the meaning of "mindless entertainment" in 1995. That didn't stop me from squealing when I spotted a Species comic at the mall.

This is a standard screen-to-page retelling of the events in the motion picture. The plot is stretched out over four issues, three of which are in my possession. I won't bother with a synopsis, but I will say that this issue covers the first twenty minutes of the film. It's a fast read. In retrospect, it was the perfect book for an embyronic comic nerd to pick up. The dialogue is sparse, the narration is concise and the artwork is expressive enough to tell the story on its own legs. Everything is penciled and inked with atmosphere in mind. Dark, shadowy...and we haven't gotten to the violence yet!

The gore doesn't kick in until the second issue. We don't see much of the creature, which is a good thing. I was going to gripe about the character flaws, but writer Dennis Feldman didn't have a lot of room to work with. I can blame him for the film's screenplay, though. The scene where Ben Kingsley attempts to put a young Sil to sleep always vexed the hell out of me. He was too quick to the draw. It seems to me that he would have put more thought into flushing countless hours of hard work and research down the toilet.

But I digress. All in all, this is a decent comic book. Hope you enjoyed the first issue of Panels From Beyond the Grave. This is new territory for me, so cut me some slack, you ungrateful bastard.


  1. Good addition to the blog. Hope you get around to some more current stuff, though.

  2. Eh, I don't see that happening. I have a lot of weird, random comics that I'd like to cover, and most of them are pre-2000. I don't buy them nearly as much as I used to.