Monday, 4 October 2010

Comic: Bad Kids Go to Hell, Matthew Spradlin & Barry Wernick

Firstly, I would like to thank Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick for giving us this comic and also Tutor Alan, who carried all the way from America.

Being a long time since I read a comic book, I was excited to read this one. The plot is set in a newly-built library, where detention students from Crestview college are sent to spend a week of the detention period. These students are Megan, Tarek, Craig, Tricia, Veronica and the later arrival Matt, all students sent by Dr. Day to spent their weekend inside the library doing research work.
Dr. Day seem really straightforward at first, but with the time we realise that Day knows the students from Crestview very well and he knows their psychological problems that could lead them to kill each other.
According to Veronica, a Goth-like girl, the library where they stand was built in the same site, where once a native american called Rainwater, fought for his land and home. This struggle was later stopped when the power of money threw him out of his land. Veronica also mentions that the people behind this, were the parents of the students closed in that library.
Being aware of the story, the students begin to experience strange happennings, So they decide to gather together in a circular table and and perform a spiritual session, when almost over something supernatural happens, a ghost appears in the room, scarying all of them. Megan suffering from athsma is left unconscious, and the other students look for her breathing pump. Unsuccessfully, they can't find it and she passes away.
This leaves the students thinking that the place is cursed and the ghost of Rainwater is causing all of that. Not wanting to be there anymore they try to escape the library, but with no success, everything is locked and with materials blocking the windows and doors. This once again, leads to thing that something supernatural is behind all of this.
A small window is the only way to go outside, though is quite small and only Tarek is able to fit in there, promising to find help from Dr. Day, he goes away.
However, things in the library start to get stranger and stranger, Craig, Veronica and Tricia find out that Matt is a ex-con. Craig is carrying a gun, and a lot of arguments arise.
Craig angry at being locked in that library, he goes in search of Rainwater's ghost, by the books, Matt's scares Craig and he falls down the stairs, and dies. Once again, this empahsizes that idea that a ghost is inside the premises.
Seeing that Tarek is taking a long time to return they attempt to escape somehow, this time a small on the glass roof of the main hall in library is their choice, Matt is able to climb up and reach the top, however, Tricia impantiently tries to climb and due to the excessive weght they both fall.
Tricia confesses that her father is the mainly responsible for the killing of Rainwater, and she puts an end to her misery with a nail gun.
At the same time, a ghost appears at the entrance door, Matt reaches for the nail gun and shots at him, Dr Day reveals himself from behind the supposed ghost,who happens to be Tarek with a flourescent gown on.
Dr.Day explains all the story and Veronica reveals her true indentity. The once polite Dr. Day happens to be also the brain of a scheme to judge non-obidient kids, for the price of money.
Finally, when Day though he could escape that situaion by blaming ex-con Matt for what happened, he receives Rainwater's Curse that he so long deserved.

As you can see, I just spoiled the all book on here, but I was so excited to write about it. I do think that the storyline is great, full of strange and scary moments, that will glue you to the book, and wanting for more and more. The idea of a story inside a story, Rainwater's curse and Dr. Day Master plane, is interesting, but sometimes confusing, nothing that reading it again won't solve. Although many comic books will tell what happens scene by scene, this one let's you think. The narrative is treated not as a comic book but more like a film, which not only relies on text but also small visual cues, opening the doors to suggestion.
One of the things, that I found strange was the prologue, was it either to emphasize the idea of a ghost story or to distract the reader for the possible twist in the end.
Mentioning the twist in the end, This story leads you to what you think you have seen before, the idea of a group of students in a cursed library who will die one by one and then the last solves the case and saves the day, however it doens't happen in this book, the twist showing that Dr. Day and Veronica are the people behind all of this, did catch me by surprise and it was a really turn around in terms of what you understood of the story.
I do think to fully understand this book, one has to read it at least twice, to spot some visual cues in the comic, and later associated them with story, because when looking again to the book I found, small things that at first escaped my eye, but that in the end were crucial to understand the story. For instance, the intimate moment between Veronica and Dr. Day, in the projector room, which lead to the intimacy in the end of the story.
Storywise I loved it, because I can actually relate it to me and my High School Days, when I had an interest for the supernatural and the macrabe.
Although, i didnt mentione before but I would like to thank Anthony Vargas and Chris Allen, for making the beautifully-crafted illustrations of the book, they are truly fascinating and really inspirational for a person like me interested in illustration and concept art, literally they were a crucial add-on to the story, helping to set up the environment and the happenings.

To sum up I really enjoyed to read the comic, as mentioned before, it glued my eyes to it, also it alerted my interest in this type of books rich in illustrations.

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