1988: Last Kiss

Last Kiss (1988) #1 by John Watkiss et al.

I wondered whether I should just skip the Acme Press books when doing this blog series. These comics are “published” by Acme Press but “distributed” by Eclipse Comics. I take that to mean that the people at Acme Press put the book together, and then Eclipse sent the book to the printer and then shipped the book to the distributors.

But what the hey; the covers have the Eclipse logo, so let’s just do them, too.

This is a collection of short pieces drawn by Watkiss and written by a variety of people. Nowhere in the book (it’s a squarebound 48 page standard size comic) does it say whether these stories are reprints or original works, but they’re in various aspect ratios, so I’m guessing reprints.

It’s an old Eclipse tradition not to mention these things, so at least that’s consistent.

The first two stories are adaptations of old horror stories, one by Edgar Allen Poe and the other by D. H. Lawrence. The Poe one (The Black Cat) has been adapted many, many times, but Watkiss does a pretty good job of getting at the dread of the asshole protagonist, but the Lawrence story is pretty messy. It’s just confusing, and Watkiss’ layouts have your eyes skidding around without finding any sense or purchase.

But, I mean, his artwork is very pretty. Those juicy, inky blacks set against white voids is very effective, as in this wordless er piece. It might be a story; if so, I couldn’t follow it.

The worst bits in the book are the handful of stories that round out the volume; all written by Cifn Ridout. They’re the kind of stuff you used to find in British anthologies in the 80s. MUCH SATIRE!

There’s an interview with Watkiss at the back of the book, and he manages to slag pretty much all the artists that people generally like. There’s a line below the interview, set in a different font, saying that the views are Watkiss’ and do not reflect those of the publisher (who’s publishing many of the people Watkiss criticises). I wonder whether Eclipse slipped that in before sending it to the printer?

Tsk tsk.

I’ve been unable to find any reviews of the book on der intertubes, and it’s never been reprinted.

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