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Kolchak: Devil in the Details

Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2003
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Stefan Petrucha
Artists: Trevor von Eden, Ken Wolak & Dawn Groszewski(c)
Publisher: Moonstone

Stefan Petruca with grand skill and arch attentiveness brings the characters from Kolchak: The Nightstalker to the pages of Moonstone's comic book series of the same name. Everybody you loved from the series is here. The hot-headed and besieged editor Tony Vincenzo provides a running gag which also hints to the solution to the mystery. Ron Updike can be found fouling up whatever he touches, and Miss Emily returns with her lovely personality. As for Carl, he's never been better.

The narration mimics the florid prose of horror that Darren McGavin snapped out in the series. His humanity that forces him to become a monster hunter and not a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist also shines through the panels. Even his luck with the ladies--when first introduced Carl was involved with Carol Lynley's character Gail--finds comment that's worked into the story.

Oddballs abound. The atypical but dues paying member of the I-hate-Kolchak-glee- club-detectives blusters good lines, and the rather fun, Velma-like scientest takes her place among other unusual experts who guest-starred on the show.

The comic book series further remarks on Carl's long history as a monster hunter, but there are also subtler hints at some of the series' continuity. Vincenzo suffers because of his nephew. Emily is the only person Carl truly trusts: a titbit we learn in the episode "Horror in the Heights."

Like the series, the comic book succeeds by fusing contemporary life with the horror of yesteryear. In this case, we find a current Frankenstein twist as well as a fascinating motive in which to "sew" the bodies together. The mystery at first seems obvious, but Mr. Petrucha as if sensing his readers' probing intellects quickly offers other possibilities.

Trevor von Eden returns with a much surer grasp of the world of Kolchak. He coveys a sense of terror as well as Mr. Petrucha's journalist procedural style integral to the television series. His characters while not dead on likenesses still bring the actors' traits and methods to the smaller screen of the comic book, and when Mr. Petrucha unveils the monster of the story, Mr. von Eden cuts loose to display grotesque Lovecraftian-styled horror imagery.



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