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Vampire Hunter D, Japan’s famous slayer of nosferatu, monsters, and demons has made the jump from literature to animation to video game and most recently to commercial comic book. ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen is here with the report.
Review: Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars #1
In 1983 the world was introduced to the characters and world of Vampire Hunter D. One of the best Japanese exports in entertainment, Vampire Hunter D began as a science fiction horror novel. Today over 30 novels have been published chronicling the tales of D, all of which written by author/creator Hideyuki Kikuchi with covers and artwork by the legendary Yoshitaka Amano. The novel series continues to thrive, the 25th volume of which is slated for stateside release by Dark Horse Press this coming spring.
Perhaps the most renown version of Vampire Hunter D is the 1985 anime, the dark, bloody R-rated feature film that greatly contributed to the western popularization of Japanese animation. The film was an adaptation of the first novel. In 2000 a second anime film was released, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust by the director of Ninja Scroll, Yoshiaki Kawajiri and animation studio Madhouse. Since then there has been a video game, manga adaptations, and more.
And now Vampire Hunter D has been adapted to a comic book series.
Stranger Comics has released the first issue of a five issue mini series titled Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars. Based off of a short story by Hideyuki Kikuchi, the comic book adaptation is written by Brandon Easton with artwork by Michael Broussard and Sheldon Mitchell. This single issue is a breathtaking piece of artwork. One that sets the bar high for the rest of the series and comic books everywhere.
Cecile is a woman with a strange gift. Ever since she was a child she had visions of the future. She saw the job on the Mars colony she’d eventually have. She saw the man she’d fall in love with well before they’d ever met. And she saw the nuclear holocaust that would befall the Earth and claim her lover’s life. When she’d speak of her visions or try to warn anyone of the future she was met with disbelief. But her visions always came true.
What Cecile didn’t see was her lover returning after death. When he returned he was not the same. He brought with him to the Mars colony undead companions, monsters, and horrid aberrations. Cecile has been living in a nightmarish world ever since. Then one day she saw a vision of the one who would save them, the one who would put an end to her living nightmare, the hunter called D.
The most striking aspect of this book is the artwork. From the cover all the way through the interior the artwork is a sight to behold. Michael Broussard and Sheldon Mitchell’s interior art is both clearly defined and hauntingly atmospheric. The art immediately recalls the gorgeous animation of the film Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. D himself is visually striking and powerful. The battle sequence is brimming with kinetic energy and violent beauty. Simply put, this comic book’s art puts much of the competition to shame.
The signature themes that make Vampire Hunter D and the world therein the unique entity that it is are perfectly captured in both the art and the writing. It is unclear how much of the writing is Hideyuki Kikuchi’s or Brandon Easton’s. Needless to say, the tone and voice of the characters is nigh perfect. D’s cool confidence and detachment is present along with Left Hand‘s snarky sarcastic attitude. The stage is set in this first issue, the heroes and villains are in place, and the mystery D must solve is laid out before us. The story is poised to take off with the next issue.
For longtime fans of Vampire Hunter D, this issue delivers everything we’ve come to know and love.
The blend of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that has become synonymous with the series is perfectly preserved. So too is the vampire hunter’s lone gunman, spaghetti western hero persona wonderfully captured.
If you’re new to the world of Vampire Hunter D, you couldn’t ask for a finer representation of the character.
Issue #2 is slated for release in January 2017. A second printing of issue one has been released so if you haven’t picked this issue up yet, now’s the time.
Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche
Source: Stranger Comics
Stranger Comics releases the first ever commercial American Vampire Hunter D comic book and it is nothing short of incredible. The world and characters of Vampire Hunter D are accurately adapted and the book features some of the finest artwork in all comicdom.