COMIC REVIEW: PANIC BEATS / AUTHOR: PAUL NASCHY / ARTWORK: JAVIER TRUJILLO / PUBLISHER: AMAZON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Spanish horror star Paul Naschy was arguably most famous for portraying a tragic werewolf, but another character of his who graced the screens more than once was Alaric de Marnac, a cursed knight who first appeared in Horror Rises from the Grave in 1973. This digital comic of Panic Beats takes his second appearance, in the 1983 film of the same name, and adapts it for the sequential art reader.
The story has a not-so doting husband, Paul, taking his gravely ill wife to his country pile to recuperate while all the time carrying on with other women behind her back. Little does she know, however that the spirit of a knight haunts the family home (and maybe Paul himself). And this spirit will kill anyone who wrongs his name.
There was a time when comic strip adaptations of films were commonplace and popular, Marvel published many, and the strips of Hammer films in the fondly remembered British publication House of Hammer were many a child’s first foray into the genre. It’s interesting, therefore, that an obscure Spanish gem of a film (and it really is) should suddenly be given the treatment. The depiction is near perfect in Trujillo’s digital artwork, with some of the frames coming alive with action and emotion, not to mention blood. It’s an almost photo-realistic portrayal of the movie, with Naschy’s likeness in particular bringing the great man back to life.
It’s formatted with the Kindle app in mind, and each ‘page’ is a perfect set of panels that don’t need enlarging or ‘pinching’ to read comfortably. The only drawback for the whole endeavour comes with the English translation. While dialogue and captions are minimal, the language conversion (by Elena Romea Parente) does betray a lack of understanding of the English tongue. It’s not too distracting, and certainly doesn’t really spoil the enjoyment, and given that it’s clearly a labour of love is totally forgivable. It would have been a shame not to have had an English version available at all, so we should be thankful for what there is.
It’s an undemanding, but fun read, and is currently only available through Amazon for its Kindle devices. In a way, it’s a shame there’s no hard copy version as the imagery is so fantastic it would look great on the printed page.
Let’s hope more classic Spanish horror is given the same treatment.