Ray Harryhausen Signature Series (BlueWater Comics)

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sinbad-header.jpgFamed special effects innovator and stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen is the inspiration behind a new line of adventure books from BlueWater Comics. We take a look at three series from the line: Sinbad: Rogue of Mars #1, 20 Million Miles More #1-2, and Wrath of the Titans #1-2.

 

Click thumbnail for a larger image.Sinbad: Rogue of Mars #1

22pgs. FC; $3.50 ea.

(W: Greg Thompson; A: Jeff "Chamba" Cruz)

 

20 Million Miles More #1-2

22pgs. FC; $3.50 ea.

(W: Scott Davis; A: Alex Garcia)

 

Wrath of the Titans #1-2

22pgs. FC; $3.50 ea.

(W: Scott Davis, Darren G. Davis; A: Nadir Balan)

 

Click thumbnail for a larger image.Growing up in the St. Louis area, I spent a lot of rainy Saturdays inside watching KPLR-TV (channel 11). This is where I first saw many of the classic Ray Harryhausen movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. Years later, I learned how revolutionary Harryhausen's special effects were, but back then I was watching because I recognized the fighting skeletons from Muppet Babies cartoons. Granted, Harryhausen's stop-motion work is legendary and extremely influential, but while he was an animation pioneer, he was also a huge fan of ancient mythology. Without those stories as source material, the fighting skeletons or giant Colossus would never have come into existence, and Harryhausen's most classic work would be on mostly forgettable sci-fi movies.

 

It's the fantasy elements that give these comics the Harryhausen name. They're based on movies he worked on, and they pay homage to Harryhausen as a storyteller, not a special effects artist. There are no flipbooks or holograms here to appease those who love Ray in a technical sense.

 

Stripped of special effects, the Harryhausen movies are basically low-budget adventure flicks, and these comics reflect that campy storytelling. Perseus and Sinbad perform heroic deeds in fantastically exaggerated histories and an ancient curse makes monsters run amok in modern cities. These are fantasy comics in a classic sense that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of mythology and fun sci-fi, which is possibly a large portion of Harryhausen movie fans.

 

Click thumbnail for a larger image.Unfortunately, the classic feel of the stories isn't matched with classic style artwork. The art is modern, semi-realistic and at times boring. Although the comics aren't supposed to be as visually groundbreaking as the original films, the art isn't very expressive most of the time and even things like a rampaging Cyclops come off looking stiff.

 

It's a shame that such a name so legendary is attached to such mediocre comics. At least they're only mediocre in a modern sense, though. Had they come out forty or fifty years ago, they'd probably be regarded with the same cult fanaticism as Harryhausen's films. Today though, they're more quaint than kitschy. | Gabe Bullard

See previews of these titles and more by visiting the BlueWater Comics ComicSpace page.

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