April 20, 2014

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Jason Parts 1 and 2

Written and Illustrated by Bonesteel
Self-Published

Jason and several of his slasher pals lead ordinary lives that include killing people and stupid contests in this set of mini-comics from the author of Ninja Girl.

Once upon a time, slasher films were actually scary. Well, I guess if you were like eight or so, they were. I highly doubt they ever scared very many people who were old enough to see them. By the time I did a Nightmare on Elm Street Marathon one day because I was really bored, I arguably laughed more than I gasped.

It's in that spirit that Bonesteel picks up his narrative. Using the mute Jason as the protagonist and giving him Freddie, the Scream guy, and a few others as friends, we see just how boring a life of mass murder can be. They cook, take showers, and report to work, just like we do. They acquire pets (in a really funny sequence that carries across the two minis) and argue about whether or not they're still relevant. The banter between the newer Scream and the old man of the genre, Freddie, is a highlight, culminating in a justified homicide of Kevin Bacon as part of a race to see who can be on top.

There's plenty of references that b-movie (or is that c-movie at this point?) fans will enjoy, such as Jason talking about how going to space just meant killing more horny kids and no aliens.* The deaths are all taken in stride, and the figures killed are, as with all of Bonesteel's illustrations, practically stick figures, so they feel like little more than props. Which makes sense, given the characters involved here.

The jokes themselves are where things fall apart a little bit, unfortunately, as Bonesteel seems stuck between keeping them droll and being outlandish. The humor of Jason punching a time clock and filling out kill reports kinda clashes with frequent uses of the b-word to refer to women, at least for me. The gags work best when they're more subtle, given how outlandish and gory the source materials is. When they're more in line with the original movies, they're clever, but don't sing as much.

Visually, these vary from being a step above Ninja Girl to being very similar in style. The characters are usually larger, which puts them more in your face and gives Bonesteel the ability to provide more body language. However, even at that size, they aren't too detailed, so some readers might be put off by the close-to-stick figure work found in the series.

Behind the character simplicity, however, is a lot of cool, small details that plant the world and make it feel as ordinary as possible. Trees get bark, office calendars get individual days, and even brick walls have identifying marks. It's a definite reversal from what you might ordinarily see from a mini-comic.

Jason is going to have limited appeal, but for the right audience, it's a good match. If you can identify Chuckie in a cameo appearance or know someone who does, this series should be a killer match.

You can find Jason (and more of Bonesteel's work) at Killer Ink Comics.

*Of course I've seen Jason X. What, you haven't? For shame!