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Kolchak: Pain Most Human

Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2004
By: Ray Tate



Writer: C.J. Henderson
Artists: Greg Scott, Terry Pallot, John Statema and Dave Ulanski
Publisher: Moonstone

The latest Kolchak graphic novel by C.J. Henderson dead on captures the feeling and style of Kolchak: The Nightstalker. The dialogued narration by Mr. Henderson perfectly brings the delivery of Darren McGavin's portrayal of the peppery purple-prose loving newspaper reporter.

Kolchak's luck with the ladies follows the trend originally established in the pilot. Carl there found himself attached and hopefully to be married to the beautiful Carol Lynley's Gail Foster. Here he finds information and companionship in a very realistically portrayed waitress. I also like the unusual New York setting. Rather than place the story in the bustling city. Mr. Henderson stages the tale in a small New York hamlet.

Mr. Henderson remarks about the friendship shared between INS publisher Tony Vincenzo and Carl. He also returns to the idea that Carl isn't really looking for macabre stories. They find him. He wants a simple murder case, or in this case a I nice juicy cover-up about which he can write an expose. Unfortunately, Carl as he admits to Tony cannot seem to stop finding tales of the occult behind the simplest occurrences.

In this instance, the plot is not so simple but it is one we have seen before. This familiarity does not matter. As Kolchak has exemplified we can know that the story will be about a zombie, but still that story can engross the viewer by showing how Kolchak solves the mystery, fights the monster and how the monster kills its targets.

Unfortunately, artists Greg Scott and the inkers do not match Mr. Henderson’s elan over and knowledge for his subject. It looks as though Mr. Scott studied some stills of the original pilot and Kolchak: the Night Strangler, slapped some paper over the screen and simply traced the images. This is simply not how its done.

The buyer is paying for an original Kolchak adventure not a reshash of clips that lack the clarity or motility of the DVD. I'll give some examples. One minor character in the quorum of military men sits in the near identical pose of Larry Linville, who portrayed the rather open-minded forensic examiner from the pilot. The waitress with whom Carl dallies resembles roughly Gail Foster in pose, in nightie, etc. The head of the computer company resembles Peevey played by Wally Cox in Kolchak: the Night Strangler.

To say the inks lack subtlety is a kindness. What I wonder did the inkers use as their medium for this work? Runny, fat black markers made in Philippine sweatshops and purchased at the local dollar store? Storywise, I cannot speak more highly of this Kolchak graphic novel. Artistically Moonstone was shafted.



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