Title: Dark Shadows: Year One
Author: Marc Andreyko (Writer), Guiu Vilanova and Patrick Berkenkotter (Illustrations)
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
The origin of Dark Shadows, finally revealed! How did Barnabas Collins become a bloodthirsty vampire? What tragedies befell the Collins family through the generations? All it took was one night of weakness with a temptress named Angelique, and Barnabas cursed his entire family line – and himself – forever!
I was born too late to have actually watched the gothic and campy Dark Shadows, but having been a soap opera fan in the past, I have certainly heard of the ground breaking show. Having seen the 2012 Johnny Depp film of the same name, I had no real facts about any of the characters who appeared on the show besides Barnabas.
To compare Dark Shadows: Year One and the television series, I visited the Dark Shadows Wiki page and on imdb.com. The show started without Barnabas even on the canvas—he showed up later on in episode #211 in April 1967. He was meant only to be on for thirteen episodes, but the character was so popular that he stayed until the show ended in 1971.
The comic starts with Barnabas getting married, very reluctantly so, and then flashing back to his biggest mistake—getting involved with Angelique. He is immediately remorseful and the next day greets his fiancé Josette as she arrives at his family home.
Oh, and Angelique is her handmaiden. Whoops.
Basically, Dark Shadows: Year One feels as if it took the best of the television show and put it in graphic novel form. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that either. I had only two minor complaints:
- I did find it odd that after Barnabas died his father just knew what had happened and was attempting to protect him. There was no explanation of how his father knew that Barnabas was behind the deaths happening in town.
- There were so many characters in the beginning that I had a hard time of keeping track of who was who. Quite frankly, one or two of them looked very similar and that also confused me.
I enjoyed the illustrations and how they were done. You knew by the graphics that the storyline took place in the past just from how everything was drawn. I’m not talking only things like clothing, but the overall feel was “old”. Which to me, makes sense since most of it took place in (I think) 1795.
I just have to mention that the ending made me go “Damn it!” when it was over because I had gotten into it and wanted more. I think that’s a job well done with the writing for achieving that.
This comic might not appeal to all. Since I’m not a diehard fan of the television show, I can’t say if they would enjoy this because of the changes. Those who enjoy supernatural and vampire-related storylines might get a kick out of it. Those are two topics I gravitate toward and I really did enjoy Dark Shadows: Year One and I hope there will be more issues so I can continue the adventure in Collinsport.