Beard: New ‘Dark Shadows’ comic emulates TV seriesWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1966 to 1971 children of all ages ran home from school to join their older siblings and parents in front of the television set to catch the latest misadventures of one of the most dysfunctional families ever to grace the tube. “Dark Shadows,” the classic daytime soap opera, followed the Collinses of Collinsport, Maine, and made an everlasting pop culture icon out of their “cousin from England,” vampire Barnabas Collins. A new comic from Dynamite Entertainment resurrects the entire Collins clan for new trials and tribulations.
Interestingly, the comic series utilizes the original continuity and likenesses of the classic soap, not that of the upcoming Tim Burton-Johnny Depp “Dark Shadows” film. This is amazing when one considers the attention and prominence such high-profile personalities will bring to the property this year, but Dynamite chose to go retro and pick up where the TV series left off. Yes, that means the comic takes place in 1971, and brings with it all those great old fashions and sensibilities of the era.
So too does the comic’s Barnabas look like actor Jonathan Frid, the man who made the character a household name back in the day. In “Dark Shadows” #1, readers discover that Barnabas still struggles with his vampirism, though when the TV series concluded viewers had hoped he’d been cured. Dr. Julia Hoffman, looking exactly like actress Grayson Hall, helps the vampire with his curse, but the specter of Angelique, the witch who cursed Barnabas in the 1700s, still looms over Collinwood and threatens his sanity and sanctity in the beautiful form of actress Lara Parker.
“Dark Shadows” is an incredible anomaly in today’s comics. It embraces a niche audience in its faithful adaptation of the TV series’ distinct style and premises, a real gamble in today’s comic industry. Dynamite’s to be commended for its diligence to the original actors and writers and will hopefully be able to ride the dusky coattails of the upcoming film … providing Depp can convince audiences that he makes a worthwhile Barnabas Collins. If not, we still have Jonathan Frid in this new comic.