Published on October 21st, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Fistful Of Blood #1 Review
This week sees the release of the first part of the re-vamped Fistful of Blood which was originally written around 15 years ago and first published in Heavy Metal magazine. Kevin Eastman, of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fame, returns to his parody of the spaghetti westerns to give it a good going over for a release in today’s new comic market. This ‘directors cut’ approach to comics seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment with some titles more deserving than others of this treatment. Is there still a place for Fistful of Blood?
Riffing off the movie Fistful of Dollars (which Eastman says is one of his favourite westerns) the comic is about the Woman With No Name (WWNN) who washes up in an old style western town once used by the movie industry and now being fought over by a gang of Zombies and a Vampire family. The WWNN is the classic ‘stuck in the middle’ kind of character who is dragged into the conflict for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The mysteriousness of her character is kept alive mostly by the fact she doesn’t say anything. The narration, in a typical western frontiers man style voice, is provided by the local hotelier who wants nothing more than a quiet life but he can see all of that changing when the WWNN stumbles into his home.
The setting of an old Movie Lot allows the action to take place in clichéd locations without actually becoming clichéd; it’s an homage, a parody and fans of the genre will find much to laugh at. The atmosphere and overall look of the comic has that same homage feel to it, especially with the new colouring by Tomi Varga which is all dirty yellows and weepy browns. This is perfect for this story, you can almost see the empty desert scenes rolling across an extra wide cinema screen.
Simon Bisley’s original layouts are still impressive and really capture the filming techniques used by directors like Sergio Leone: plenty of low angles and silhouettes. Bisley has a recognisable art style, very full bodied and rounded; a look which suited Heavy Metal magazine ( a quick Google of Heavy Metal magazine covers will show you what I mean) but some of the design choices, outside of the confines of the original magazine and re-released in today’s market do seem a little dubious. The artwork is wonderful, it’s sensual and has an element of eroticism but the design of the central character, especially her lack of clothing, serves no purpose other than titillation. Even when story sees fit to give her some clothes, they barely cover her over ample breasts. If this had any significance to the story it wouldn’t be as much of an issue but there isn’t any reason for it; the design is so nineties and out dated and frustratingly distracts from an otherwise brilliantly drawn comic.
There is also an extras section put together by Eastman. It is interesting to see some of the original character designs by the writer which are more recognisable as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in style, a far cry from the finished work by Bisley; and the sketchbook layouts illustrate the interactions between writer and artist.
Overall this is an interesting read. It’s definitely for fans of the western genre or those who read the original. People not used to Simon Bisley’s art style may find it difficult to get into but there is a lot to love about his work and the story itself is a clever re-working of a classic spaghetti western.
Title: Fistful of Blood
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer/Artists: Kevin Eastman/Simon Bisley
Colours: Tomi Varga