One particularly profound moment in my life was when I realized I didn’t have to watch scary movies to be cool. Since that realization, I haven’t subjected myself to horror movies, though I am willing enough to pick up a horror novel or comic. Jeepers Creepers, vol. 1: Trail of the Beast is Marc Andreyko’s comic remake of the 2001 movie, Jeepers Creepers, which I have not seen. Doubtless that contextual knowledge would’ve helped me as I read this comic, but alas, I went into this blind. Upon my exit, I can verify that I still have no desire to see the movie, though I vaguely understand the plot line.
The synopsis of the plot drew me to the comic: Devon is a grad student who’s researching American mythological monsters as part of his thesis. He first visits the Aztec ruins to sneak into the closed Temple of the Feathered Serpent. In the temple, Devon imagines the ritualistic sacrifice of young men to Quetzalcoatl. After being detained for trespassing, an old man hands Devon a box in which an old knife sits. Devon pricks his hand on it, and the beast is awakened. Devon returns to the States and later encounters a Cherokee man who gives him peyote. Devon dreams of the lizard god, and the comic follows Devon’s path as he draws inevitably closer to finding out the truth behind the myth.
Andreyko relies on blue boxes of inner dialogue to give the reader information about Devon’s thoughts throughout his experiences. However, the tone of this text was inconsistent with the action occurring. Perhaps one might be flippant when dealing with a monstrous lizard god come to life, but I would have been fine as a reader without most of that pithy inner dialogue. I think Andreyko could’ve used the background of the thesis as means of better explaining the myth of the monster; I completely missed that this being awakens every 23 years to consume flesh.
Kewber Baal created a very convincing lizard god monster. He aptly portrayed the blood and gore that accompanies a monster snacking on human flesh. The faces of all characters, including the monster, were very emotive, properly capturing looks of abject fear and disbelief. It was a lot to take in visually, however; I found myself overwhelmed by all the action taking place on one page and the disparate use of panes from page to page. This style of intense action and constantly shifting layout comes with the horror genre, but I still found it a lot to take in.
This comic is rated for Teens, and I agree with this rating. After all, it was in my earliest teen years that I was first subjected to horror movies, so this will not be new ground for many readers. However, as expected in a horror comic, the art is gruesome and the imagery often disturbing. I would be inclined to choose other horror titles over this one (e.g., From Hell, Locke & Key, Infidel) when shelving my library, but this comic will likely be a pleaser to those who love horror movies, especially the 2001 film version of the same title.
Jeepers Creepers, vol. 1: Trail of the Beast
By Marc Andreyko
Art by Kewber Baal
Publisher Age Rating: Teen