Comic Review: Flesh for the Beast

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Writers: Rick Spears, The Brothers Goldman, Terry M. West, Tim Smith, Nick Mamatas, Studio Zombie
Artists: Rob G, Kevin Colden, Dan Goldman, Adriano Eduardo, Studio Zombie
Publisher: Shriek Show/Media Blasters

Flesh for the Beast is the first release in a line of upcoming manga titles from Shriek Show Press, the book publishing division of cult/Asian media and DVD powerhouse Media Blasters.

For a first effort, it’s not bad. But it’s not good either.

The manga (so to speak – there’s only one actual Asian team of creators, and their story is the only one done in manga style. The book is sized and priced like manga, though.) ties into a movie recently released by Media Blasters also called Flesh for the Beast.

I hadn’t heard of this movie before reading the comic and, obviously, hadn’t seen it.

I think the comic would have made a lot more sense if I’d seen the movie. And if you haven’t seen the movie either, you may have the same trouble I did understanding the short stories in the comic.

Apparently the movie is about some sort of evil house plagued by a group oF sexy female demons who trick people into coming into the house, possibly have sex with them, and then kill and eat them. There’s something, also, about an ancient scarab, a demon trying to invade our world, and some other stuff.

It’s pretty muddled all around, really. Like I said, probably makes more sense if you’ve seen the movie.

The two most well-known creative teams in the comic, and the main attraction for me, were Rick Spears and Rob G of Teenagers from Mars fame and the cover by Becky Cloonan, who is currently making her star turn in AIT-Planetlar‘s Demo.

Spears and G’s story is really the best of the bunch, though it’s the least related to the movie and the least clearly a horror story. Their contribution, “16 Trick Candles,? is a story about two teenagers trying to rent the movie Flesh for the Beast from the video store. As they did in Teenagers from Mars, Spears and G plop the reader down in a living, breathing community, focusing on aimless, jumpy teenagers that we’ve all been or known. The dialogue is tight, the setting breathes (and looks deliciously like almost any town that a 1980s horror movie would be set in, especially Poltergeist). And even if the story isn’t so much horror, it’s still good fun.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stories are weak in at least one area, oftentimes more. Some stories, such as the pair contributed by the Brothers Goldman, are saddled with bad art. Others, like those by Smith and Mamatas and Eduardo, sport both generic art and writing. Studio Zombie’s contribution, while pretty, is confusing and odd.

Not unlike the majority of this comic. The movie it’s tied to couldn’t have been such a big hit that it was a good idea to produce a tie-in comic that required seeing the movie to have the stories make full sense.

Given that, Flesh for the Beast is a confounding choice to launch a new line of comics with and, on its own, an anthology that leans heavily towards the unsatisfying.

Buy Flesh for the Beast from Amazon.

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