"Samurai Slasher: Late Fees" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Mike Garley
Illustrated by Lukasz Kowalczuk
Colored by Lukasz Mazur
2017, 36 Pages
Visiting a movie rental store like Blockbuster is something that the vast majority of people will never experience again. For some, it was a time of discovery, combing through the racks of VHS tapes to find lost gems and forgotten films. This is also where many of us fell in love with the horror genre, snatching up movies that we were too young to watch, but our parents didn't know better. This is where Samurai Slasher: Late Fees starts before ripping your heart out.
The one-shot comic takes its time to establish a touching relationship between father and son. The two share regular visits to the video store as a bonding experience. The young boy sees a film called Samurai Slasher and it changes his life to the point where he sees monsters and fights them as the slasher himself.
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In reality, all of this is in his head. It's a beautifully tragic way for a kid to deal with his parents divorce. It becomes a coping mechanism for all the horrors that come his way. You can almost see this happening in real life with any other character, horror or otherwise. If Jason or Freddy could hack away my life's problems, I'd certainly be grateful and things would be a lot easier.
Artist Lukasz Kowalczuk is the perfect person to bring this to life. He has this old-school style that looks like it was taken from a bygone era, as if you unearthed this comic from a time capsule. The artwork encapsulates the '80s in look and feel, as well as a childlike view of the world. Things look bigger, as if you're looking up at them from a lower vantage point.
The Samurai Slasher appears larger than life, a towering force of righteousness in an otherwise chaotic landscape. You can see how a kid would be enthralled by such a being. The monsters the Slasher fights are demented and bizarre. They're mutants of all shapes and sizes and none of them stand a chance against his blade.
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Lukasz Mazur's colors seal the deal, locking in the '80s time period with vibrant shades that must have been peeled off of snap bracelets and leg warmers. The Samurai Slasher is always bathed in a cool reddish yellow, as if he's lit from an eternal flame coming up from the depths of Hell itself.
Samurai Slasher: Late Fees expertly blends horror and nostalgia to tell a powerful story that will stay with you for some time. It's a comic with both terror and heart that stretches the boundaries for what the genre can do. This is next level stuff.