Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comic Book Week: "Hack/Slash"

To continue with the morbid presence of horror in the comic book industry I have chosen a Devil Due Publishing title for this post. “Hack/Slash” is an ongoing series, which started out with tie-ins with other titles in the publishers and one shot test drives until the fans demanded more and from May 2007 “Hack/Slash” has become a series with 15 issues so far. I personally have had the opportunity to read up until issue 12.

As the title suggest violence is not far away and if you don’t mind movies like the Saw series, then this is just up your alley. The heroine is Cassandra “Cassie” Hack and she is a slasher of slashers. If you wonder what a slasher is, here is my definition: impulsive, insane and therefore totally twisted serial killers, who are into the pain of their victims. Having been raised by the Lunch Lady, a slasher with an affinity into butchering people that annoy her to meat products, it’s safe to say that Cassie is not on the bright and sunny side of the world. Armed with a club, a loud mouth and an attitude she takes on to kill all the other psychos out there. On her mission, assistance comes in the face of Vlad, the Meat Man, who is a deformed hulk wearing a gas mask and two former slasher victims saved by Cassie.

The series are too early to string the clues from every issue into a bigger plot, although questions about Cassandra’s missing father pop up and how he is connected with the government. Along the way though we get a lot of blood and some pretty original ideas incorporated into Cassie’s missions. True to the horror genre to involve the paranormal Cassandra Hack faces demonic rockers, who have sold their souls for fandom and offer virgin sacrifices to the old ones to fornicate. Attempt at tentacle porn ensues as well as Elvis and a talking demon dog trying to finish Cassie off. In further issues we have a zombie Ms. America involved in a hot tub club with lesbian college girls imitating Elizabeth Bathory, who bathed in blood.

The creative mesh of such popular elements is definitely refreshing, as the popular comic book crossovers have shown the formula as profitable. Literature, TV and comic books have shown the necessity of a very strong woman, because men like hot women with weapons to do martial arts and be violent. Ms. Hack is the wrestler version of that ideal and simply watching her handle men, women, alien Cthulhu gods and even children with a baseball bat is a treat like no other. Cassandra puts pretty much every other power house heroine to shame and even Buffy, yes even her. High tolerance for pain, having a mother as serial killer, possibly asexual or a lesbian and she has homicidal dreams about armed dairy products.

Tim Seely is the man behind the gruesome idea of the whole twisted Beauty and the Beast killing duo series and to think this man started as a children books’ illustrator. His hobby does involve watching slasher movies and compiling his ideas for the story. The artists totally evade me, but as it would seem every issue has a new face. Some of the names are Emily Stone, Stefano Caselli and Fernando Pinto, but although the crew shifts, the grungy kill-them-all-in-explicit detail remains, which is the heart of the story. Be sure to check it out.

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