What's New
 Colet and
  What Music?
Banned Books
About Me
 Hosted By:
Ex Libris
Green Man
Video Vista
Designed for
 1024 X 768
 and Internet
Craig's Book Club
Book Reviews

Spotlight on: Kolchak, The Night Stalker: The Devil in the Details by Stefan Petrucha and Trevor von Eeden

To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: The Devil in the Details by Stefan Petrucha and Trevor von Eeden Stefan Petrucha and Trevor von Eeden, Kolchak, The Night Stalker: The Devil in the Details

"My first thought was that my journalistic integrity was about to be compromised by a beautiful woman. I honestly don't remember my second thought." --Carl Kolchak

If one can overlook the slack quality of proofreading (a self-described "baseball fan" who can't spell Lou Gehrig?) in The Devil in the Details, the fifth installment in the graphic novel series based on the 1970s television show Kolchak: The Night Stalker (itself inspired by two TV movies), the anachronisms would still be enough to see that this particular issue, at least, smells of amateurism.

Since I haven't read any of the prior issues in this series, I have to guess that it is writer Stefan Petrucha who is mostly to blame for placing 1970s news reporter Carl Kolchak in a world that is aware of the World Trade Center attacks, cell phones, and e-mail without aging him at all. This shows a remarkable lack of respect for a character and his world, especially from one who -- according to the promotional materials -- "considers the original Night Stalker TV movie the best vampire film of all time." But that's comparing apples and mud, considering that the movie and its sequel were scripted by the legendary Richard Matheson and that this comic was not.

But that aside, if one can manage to take this graphic novel on its own terms, this 2003 Bram Stoker Award nominee is a solid thriller. A couple of strange murders, involving people who have seemingly dissolved, lead our intrepid hero to the lab of one Barry Fredersen, technical genius and ALS sufferer, who is using "nanorobots" to draw the DNA of his close relatives in order to reconstruct his own and heal himself.

Petrucha does capture the tone and style of the television show very well -- including the use of "voiceover" narration -- and seems to understand the motivations of the character. (I was able to do a little current research, as several of the episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker are in rotation on the Sci-Fi Channel.) He also inserts several moments of comic relief as Kolchak's editor, Anthony Vincenzo, tries in vain to put together a toy robot for his nephew. Every time Kolchak comes into the office, Vincenzo has someone else helping him with it.

The art of Trevor von Eeden makes Devil an almost cinematic ride (with one impressive two-page spread, in particular). Von Eeden captures the crotchety and jaded look of the TV Kolchak without resorting to a simple reproduction of actor Darren McGavin. Unfortunately, as Moonstone has chosen to send out their review copy in electronic format, this is not an easy opinion to state, as any attempt to focus on details results in severe pixelation of the image.

Personally, if I were going to send out a review copy, I would want it to be as close to the commercially available copy as possible. Especially as, in the promotional materials for Devil in the Details, there are credits for "colors" and "cover art," both of which were absent in my PDF copy (unless black and white are considered colors). I've done my best to overcome this handicap, but keep in mind that the graphic novel available for purchase is markedly different from the one I'm reviewing, in appearance if not in content.

For those willing to take the risk, Kolchak: The Devil in the Details is a pleasant thriller that outdoes some episodes of the series. Anachronisms aside, Petrucha and von Eeden have produced a quality product that does right by its source ... almost.

This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on The Green Man Review. Copyright 2003. Reprinted with permission.

Click on the links above to purchase any of the books mentioned, or use the search box below to find what you like.

In Association with Amazon.com

(Email me and let me know what you think.)

The Readers Ring
This Readers Ring site is owned by
Craig Clarke
Want to join the ring? Get the info here
The Readers Ring Page
[Prev 5] [Prev] [Next] [Next 5] [Random] [List Sites]