1988: Pigeons from Hell

Pigeons from Hell (1988) #1 by Scott Hampton adapted from a story by Robert E. Howard.

Hey! Scott Hampton! The Hampton siblings have published a substantial bit of comics at Eclipse, like Lost World and Silverheels, but this is the first solo Scott Hampton thing. And it’s a 50 page graphic novel adaptation of the Robert E. Howard horror novel from the 30s.

We get an introduction that provides some context, and then ends by calling the adaptation “a triumph”. Hard sell introductions are a weird phenomenon.

Scott Hampton’s fully-painted artwork is really pleasant to look at, as usual, but the approach taken in the adaptation is pretty dull. Large blocks or narration that tells us what we’re already seeing in the panels.

But I guess it does lend a certain ponderous mood to the proceedings, which is quite apposite. Those are some nice horror interiors, eh?

And that’s the most Bernie Wrightson horror stance not drawn by Bernie Wrightson.

Fortunately Hampton shifts his approach completely once the opening, scariest chapter is over. We’re introduced to a sheriff who’s very smart and capable and soon solves all the mysteries and horrors. The problem is that the comic loses its tension when it switches to this more comic-bookey approach. So while it reads better, it also loses something.

And the printing isn’t very good. The colour often smudges into the white area, and the black plate suffers from serious ink gain.

It seems to be well liked:

There are some truly beautifully painted pictures of the mansion there. Very dark, but extremely atmospheric…and creepy. The pictures of the stairs are also well drawn, blending light and colors in a way where you can, just like the main character, barely see something on top…but just barely.

It has apparently never been reprinted, which is odd.

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