So... hey, Nick Bradshaw, Sanford Greene, and particularly James Kuhoric, who apparently wrote this atrocity? I hope you stumble across this. I mean, hey, I bought these comics for the express purpose of making fun of them; I'd hate for my effort to go to waste. (And, if you feel like saying “Hey, it isn’t like you could do any better!” I certainly encourage you to look at some of my more recent drawings. I ain’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel that I get some leeway for complaint.)
Let's start with Re-Animator #0, the preview of which you can see here. Be advised that I'm only addressing the most egregious parts concerning poor Herbert; while I like Army of Darkness, there's really not much I have to say about how Ash's character is handled... aside from making fun of the godawful attempts at self-referential humor.
Off we go!
ghostgecko, don't look! AAIIIIEEEE! Tentacles! Needless, useless, stupid tentacles!
Dude, the only good part about this is the bear hug that the (disturbingly hot) Dean Halsey traps Herbert in... he's got this look on his face like, "Hey, baby, what's your sign? Octopus?" It’s almost like he’d be boning Herbert up the ass if only those tentacles weren’t erupting from the poor kid’s midsection.
Y'know, I should be happy about this delightful example of Herbert nudity... but I'm not. I can't get over the incredibly corny "No more pencils, no more books..." rhyme. I mean, that’s so cheesy even Herbert wouldn’t say it. Even this “Dark Herbert” wouldn’t say it! It’s, like, dude… are you in the third grade or what?
Oh, and “Dark Herbert.” Yeah. It’s like a bad fanfiction excuse for TOTALLY CHANGING a character’s personality, right? Hey, he can act like that because he’s NOT REALLY HERBERT! He’s, like, the dark, hidden part of Herbert West’s soul, oh god we’re so clever.
The dark, hidden part of Herbert’s soul just wants to get Danny-boy (absolutely non-existent in this comic, by the way) into bed. He’s pretty upfront about all his other ambitions.
One of the more goofy panels… I like how Herbert’s standing back there, vaguely interested and NAKED. Like, “Oooh, what’s that? But I must cover my naughty bits for this comic must be sold to the youngster demographic! And we’ll censor the word ‘shit’ too! Naughty, naughty!” Not that they censor the world shit in that particular panel… but they do later. And badly.
Moving on to Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator #1…
You can thank Sanford Greene for this. This guy’s art is pretty much an inept copy of Nick Bradshaw’s style (and, though I hate to admit it, at least Bradshaw has some talent). Also, this must be one of the FUGLIEST Herbert Wests I have ever seen. I didn’t think you could make what is basically a caricature of Jeffrey Combs (and it is, don’t try to tell me otherwise) so fuckin’ ugly. But he managed. He actually looks like some sort of human/gnome hybrid. And considering how short he’s drawn? Ho-lee shit. The awfully distorted facial anatomy makes this Herbert almost nauseatingly painful to look at.
And check out the shit in his lab or workstation or whatever. There’s no rhyme or reason to having any of it. Eyeballs in a jar? Why the hell not! And does he keep the golf club specifically to keep the icky zombies away from him? Apparently he’s psycho enough to enjoy beating them back and getting covered in gore. Which is just stupid. Hi, meet Herbert West, he’s a scientist. A mechanistic materialist, much like ol’ HP himself. He’s a demented, elf-like little mad scientist, to be sure, but he doesn’t really enjoy killing things. He wants to bring dead things back to life. Which is why this whole premise is beyond ludicrous.
Also… “buddy boy?” No. Just no.
I think this is my favorite panel for sheer awfulness. Herbert is supposed to be kneeling beside Dr. Whateley (which is a whole other point; Dr. Wilbur Whately???) but instead it looks like he’s spooning him. Greene has some SERIOUS depth issues, which are fully evident in other places within this comic. Kids: perspective may be only an illusion, but it is still your friend! Particularly if you are being paid to take time and draw something worth selling, unlike a common shmuck like myself who draws out of the goodness of his heart (and out of boredom, natch).
So, how would I (genius that I am) draw this panel? Like so:
Minus the amusing dialogue. C’mon comics people! You know you want to hire my outrageous comic self!
Or, if you MUST have that awful Whateley-humping layout, here is how to make it not suck so bad and look so dirty:
This is, ostensibly, the most in-character panel for Herbert… save for his apparently pink glasses, which I’m willing to overlook. I’ll even overlook the little bit of tantalizing backflesh peeking out from underneath his shirt… because, hey, his arms are raised. And it’s sorta sexy.
Then we come to…
Is Herbert simply incapable of getting scrubs that fit him? But, even more importantly… ASS.
Yes, you are seeing this correctly. Do not attempt to adjust your monitor. That… is one very small step away from being a Herbert West PANTY SHOT. My soul bleeds. And when did he get so muscle-y? Flex those guns! Hit that poor gay zombie! You know you’re only compensating for your own sublimated homosexuality! Look at the way you stand with your knees together! You look like Sailor Mercury!
Oh shit, that’s a scary thought. Well, maybe he’s just afraid of the way he looks in glasses. Okay, okay, I guess the mirror thing is some sort of plot point… clearly a vague one. It’s some sort of alternate dimension thingy where this other West still, apparently, has the same purple gloves. This pisses the bad Herbert off to no end, so he takes it out on this poor, defenseless zombie.
I will say nothing about such phrases as “buckaroo” and “show Daddy.” I will especially not say anything about how they sound like dialogue from a bad porno. “Show daddy the cock!” is not the phrase that leaps to mind. Absolutely not.
PANTY SHOT. AGAIN. OH FUCK, HE REALLY IS SAILOR MERCURY! Seriously, Mr. Bradshaw, this obsession with Herbert’s ass is distracting me… if this Herbert was actually behaving like Herbert and, y’know, resembling Jeffrey Combs just a tad bit more, the gratuitous butt shots would have won me over. But no… no, I am afraid that it is not to be.
But, even more importantly… it’s an enucleation scene! Oh, you shit-eating cockteases! How could you? How did you know I like my boys with empty sockets? How? HOW?!
And yet, I cannot like this. You fucked it up. Have you ever thought about what it takes to remove one’s eyeball with only the fingers? I’m not saying it can’t be done, and I’m not talking about the horrific pain (and, since Herbert glows green on the inside, I guess we’re pretty darn sure that he isn’t human). But he’d have to really dig in there to sever the optic nerve. Oh, and also he’d have to rip up six muscles. And tear the eyeball from its cozy bed of fat tissue. No sweat, huh? But at the very least, he ought to dig a little deeper… don’t you think? And I’m not convinced that he might not squish the eyeball a bit in the process.
On a more serious note, what a horrible style this is for depicting gore. Far too cartoony. And, y’know, this may work for Army of Darkness, but it does not work for Re-Animator. Part of the charm of the first and second movies was the realism with which decay and the bodily structures were handled. Think back to Bride of Re-Animator, if you please, and remember when Herbert reaches inside the murderess’s wrist and tugs the muscles, causing them to form a fist? It’s realistic, and it’s hella creepy. Think all the way back to the very first movie, in which the zombies explode from their body bags… oh, sure, the colors are bright and striking and the action is melodramatic horror at its finest, but cartoony? Certainly not. This Teen Titans-esque style evokes none of what was good about Re-Animator.
Are you traumatized now? You’d better be.