"Slashermania" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Freaktown Comics
Written by Russell Hillman
Illustrated by Ron Joseph and CJ Camba
Colored by Harry Saxon
2017, 172 Pages
Graphic novel released on July 19th, 2017
You've heard of Wrestlemania and Beatle-Mania. Now it's time to witness Slashermania, the annual event where the world's best serial killers compete for coveted awards like Most Creative Kill and Biggest Multiple Death. All the while a group of rich people watch with bated breath. This year's competition is bigger than ever, with more awards, more contestants, and more victims. It's rather fitting that this time around it's set in a summer camp.
In cash you couldn't figure it out, Slashermania is a major homage to the slasher movie genre. The setting is a nice tribute to Friday the 13th. Some of the contestants are clear amalgams of classic killers. Unlike some of these films, you get a bit of a backstory for both of the killers as well as the competition itself. This gets the book off to a slow start, as it's essentially a history lesson. Hosts – and former contestants – Todd Morton and Sanguine Slaughter give you a rundown of everything. This is only five pages, but if feels a lot longer. There's some redundancy here, as everyone competing gets a full-page description, like a trading card, only to be subsequently introduced by Todd and Sanguine. The stock information could have been skipped.
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The victims are troubled co-eds from across the country, bussed in for a special camp program. They fill every stereotype imaginable. You've got slutty girls, potheads, gay guys, nerds, and more. They're all filled with raging hormones. If you've seen someone get killed by Jason Voorhees, some version of them is in Slashermania. Every one of them is named and we get some background on a handful, however it doesn't really matter. We know they're going to be cannon fodder. That is the only reason for them to be included in this book. With so many, they start to blend together over time. There's not enough time to pick a favorite or even sympathize with any of them. I just want to see them get horrifically murdered.
And boy, does Slashermania deliver on that front. The kills get increasingly more elaborate and violent. They start off subtly with a throat slit here and a beheading there. Then you've got a bludgeoning, a drill through an eye, a drowning, a bear trap, and one guy that gets set on fire and then thrown at someone else. It's insane. I can only imagine the creative team thinking up crazier and crazier ways to kill these kids.
While the artwork excels with the kills, it's rather inconsistent in the non-violent scenes. This could be because it was handled by two artists, Ron Joseph and CJ Camba. I don't know who handled which pages, as that is not credited. This doesn't help in identifying the large amount of victims, however, as mentioned, it doesn't matter all that much since they're all going to die.
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The designs for the killers are definite standouts as well. It's tough to pick a favorite, as they're all pretty cool. I'd love to see a solo adventure starring any of them. The book includes a number of pin-ups for fake movies featuring each killer. This is a nice touch that helps round out the history of the comic, as if every creepy VHS tape you saw at the video store was set in the same world.
Slashermania is set in the '80s and works like a satire of that time as well as the present day. We're infatuated with violence and I'm sure there's a segment of the population that would pay good money to see a competition like this. It is tailor made for fans of the slasher genre. You know what you're getting into here. You're not looking at this for deep, dramatic character development. This is a bunch of people getting murdered for over a hundred pages and there's certainly a place for that.