Written by Kristine Chester, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor
Saturday, 27 October 2012 08:01
If you've never seen the film or read the short story before, Dark Country is a horror tale centered around some newly weds making their way across the country. The horror in this book is subtle and patient, which creates a somewhat slow start but leads to some great payoffs later in the story.
This black and white horror tale is completely silent and a more chilling and faster paced read for it. The lack of any dialogue had me extrapolating from the art what the characters were thinking and saying, and what their intentions were. This idea works well for a horror comic, as it had me focusing more on the art and studying the panels more than I would normally.
The same can be said of the black and white art, which worked really well for this book. The choppy shading gives the book an old, grainy film feel, but doesn't interfere with the rest of the art. The characters are extremely expressive, beautifully taking that lack of dialogue and not only making up for it but exceeding what dialogue could have done in many ways.
It's worth adding that I read Dark Country on Comixology, and I have to say that I don't think it's the best translation. Reading from panel to panel works pretty well for the graphic novel itself, but the book also includes a lot of extra information from the film, the original short story, and more. I'd recommend going with a print copy or at least having a bigger computer screen than I have or a Comixology equipped tablet. It's worth noting the print copy also includes a nifty DVD pouch for storing a copy of the Dark Country film (it, however, does not come with a copy of the movie), which allows you to keep Dark Country in all of its mediums together in one place.
While difficult to read on a computer screen, the original Dark Country short story is a wonderful addition to this book. It maintains the same theme and tone as the graphic novel, but you can see the little differences that were made when the story changed mediums. I'm even somewhat tempted to go and watch the film now just to see in what ways this third interpretation changes the story. The background information for the film is pretty neat in that it shows where its design was inspired by graphic novels, with many of the concept pages and storyboards featuring a very graphic novel feel to them. So, now Dark Country has come full circle, back to the medium that inspired the story, which is all the more appropriate.