Overview

The Stand: Captain Trips #1 (ADVANCE)

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The Stand: Captain Trips #1 (ADVANCE)

Credits

  • Words: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (adapting Stephen King)
  • Art: Mike Perkins
  • Inks: Mike Perkins
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: The Circle Opens
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 10, 2008

A midnight escape from a military installation starts the spread of a highly contagious and very deadly disease. Just like the original novel by Stephen King, The Stand starts out much the same. We are quickly introduced to the major players as their world comes crashing around them.

One of the inherent shortcomings of the comic book format is on full display here. This expository issue is very faithful to the beginning of what is arguably one of Mr. King’s most accomplished works. The problem arises in the time spent on the characters and the absurdity of a killer cold. In the book this is all introduced much the same way, but it has the benefit of having more than a thousand pages following it. With the book, you can just turn the page so that the tension which is masterfully built has a chance of infecting the reader. With the comic, this doesn’t happen . . . it is almost as if just when it is getting good it ends.

Now as some of you may now, I manage for a small chain of comic shops. In no way do I want the serial graphic medium to go the way of the Dodo, as it provides half the capital which is used to pay my salary. However, this single issue format does have some inherent limitations. There are some books that I prefer more as trade paperbacks. The graphic novel can be used in much the same way a literary novel is, to provide a wider story while allowing for more depth and it can accentuate the little things that make it more pleasurable.

Now, I’m all for solid characterization in my comics. There is a plethora of that on display here. Aguirre-Sacasa has obviously done his homework and has a healthy respect for the source material. The thing is that there has to be a compelling reason to come back next month and while some of you may be fascinated by wanna be rock stars, a set of good old boys, and a couple that just can’t quite figure out what to do next . . . they aren’t exactly top on my list of people I want to read about. Also, I like my horror to be just a little more gruesome then runny noses. Call me peculiar.

The mixed bag feeling toward the book doesn’t end with the writing. Mike Perkins’ art is spot on giving Underwood a Springsteen like look and hinting at King in Frannie’s boyfriend. The action is clear and concise and the details in the background are more than anyone could ask for. In fact, the pencils themselves raise the book above the limitations of the medium and add enough oomph to the piece to bring this reader back. The disappointment comes in the coloring from the normally superb Laura Martin. She gives the pencils a sheen that is misplaced. This is a dark and brooding piece, not a Katrina and the Waves video.

This comic book is well written. It features solid character work and great art. The problem is, that when all is said and done, it is just a little boring. This is a serious problem for a horror comic. However, having read the source material; this is an easily remedied problem-just make it longer. Fans of Stephen King will no doubt seek it out in droves and I expect it to sell really well, I just wish Marvel had the gravitas to release it as a series of Graphic Novels instead of in single issue format.

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