Sunday, January 6, 2013

Django Unchained #1 - An Actual Issue of Tarantino Comics!

As kids, we eagerly stayed awake in our beds awaiting for the arrival of Good Ole' St. Nick.  However, this Christmas Eve, it wasn't Santa Claus who caused my severe case of insomnia... It was a little film called Django Unchained (and "The D is silent") !  Ever since Inglourious Basterds left the theatres, I've been waiting for Tarantino's next film to come out.  With perhaps the exception of the Dark Knight Rises (for reasons you can read here), there wasn't one film I was anticipating more. 

Although I always enjoyed movies, it wasn't until I saw Tarantino's films that I truly started to appreciate cinema.  As I've studied and watched more film, I've come to really enjoy independent and art house films.  However, because of Tarantino's sensibilities, it's Genre Films that I need to wet my appetite:
  • Crime: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction
  • Heist: Jackie Brown
  • Kung Fu: Kill Bill
  • Slasher:  Death Proof
  • War: Inglourious Basterds
  • Western (or should I say Southern):  Django Unchained
Now if you look at these "Genres," this is the perfect reason why Tarantino's films can be adapted into comic books.  Back in the day, EC Comics basically labeled the Genre of their stories on the cover of the magazine.  Hence, this is how I came up with the idea of Tarantino Comics!

Vertigo (an imprint of DC Comics) was luckily smart enough to realize this and decided to "exploit" Tarantino's latest flick and adapted Django Unchained into a comic book.  What's even better, the writer of these funny pages is Quentin Tarantino himself.  Expected to be a 5-issue miniseries, Tarantino puts a nice little Forward at the beginning of the comic.  He talks about some of his favorite comics as a kid including:  Kid Colt Outlaw, Tomahawk, The Rawhide Kid, Bat Lash, Yang, and Gunhawks

Using Tarantino's script, artists R.M Guera and Jason Latour (who does the flashback sequences) are beautifully crafting a story that can be read and enjoyed by all.  What's great about the Django comic is they're telling the entire scripted epic including all the story pieces that were edited out due to movie time constraints.  R.M. Guera was an excellent choice for adapting this story since he has worked with Jason Aaron on Scalped.  Although I haven't read many issues, Scalped is a crime story about gangsters on an Indian Reservation that requires a gritty artistic style - a form of storytelling necessary to perfectly translate Django Unchained into comic book form.   In addition to the interior art, the first issue has a variant cover by Jim Lee, one of my all time favorite superhero artists.

Warning - Spoiler Alert:  Issue #1 does a good job replicating the first beginning scenes of the film.  It basically covers:
  • Dr. Schultz freeing Django and the slaves from the Speck Brothers
  • Django learning about the bounty hunter business after Schultz shoots the "Sheriff Bounty" of the intolerant town
  • The duo meeting Spencer Bennett (a.k.a. Big Daddy) with a cliff-hanger of Django spotting the Brittle Brothers 
So far in this issue, there hasn't been much deviation from the film other than an extended flashback sequence when Dr. Schultz is making a "business transaction" during the opening sequence.  These few panels basically show Broomhilda being raped by the Brittle Brothers after making love with Django.  It also shows a little panel where Schultz is playing the piano in the bar after they are awaiting the Marshall to investigate the Sheriff shooting.

Overall, I'm very excited to see how the rest of Django Unchained the Comic Book unfolds. Due to work and school, I've been behind in my comic book reading, but this issue has really gotten me reinvigorated to reading other comics.  Be sure to check back as I plan to give an update of future issues of this Vertigo Series - As you all know, I just can't pass up the opportunity of a "Tarantino Comic!"

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