Saturday, 23 November 2013

23 - The Ballad of Cassie and Vlad



Horror in comics weekend continues with my favourite horror-based comic title – Hack/Slash, written (and sometimes drawn) by Tim Seeley.



Never one to write when I can recycle, here’s how I described the series back in 2007 when I used to write reviews and stuff:



Horror movie fans will be familiar with the concept of the “Final Girl” – the last survivor, either the one who finally defeats the monster, or at least the one who manages to escape and tell her story. The term is used predominantly, though not solely, in relation to slasher movies.

 

Cassie Hack, heroine of Hack/Slash, is the final girl who struck back, the lone survivor of a slasher called The Lunch Lady, who happened to be Cassie’s own mother. Now, with the aid of her monstrous companion Vlad, she travels the world hunting and killing slashers, reimagined here as a form of undead killer, fuelled by rage and a hatred for life.



With a teen victim-turned-hunter heroine and her monstrous partner, the obvious lazy comparison to make would be to Buffy (Or, given Cassie’s dark hair and darker dress sense, Buffy’s fellow Slayer Faith). Despite the surface similarities, the two characters are very different.



That pretty much covers it.



There’s a lot of reasons to love Hack/Slash. If you like that sort of thing (and I sometimes do), Cassie wears skimpy Goth clothes and looks like a Burning Angel video star (and in fact once stripped for Suicide Girls). There’s a lot of the violence and foul language we all love, and even the occasional bit of nudity. But above all that, the thing Hack/Slash has going for it is heart.


Over the course of nine years, Cassie and Vlad became some of my favourite characters in comics. Cassie, always ready with a sarcastic quip (or her baseball bat with nails in it) struggles to come to terms with her sexual identity and issues arising from her troubled childhood. Gentle giant Vlad, who was raised by an Eastern European butcher and rarely went outside, learns about the outside world and his place in it.





Hack/Slash welcomed crossovers with other titles and even film characters – Cassie and Vlad met Evil Ernie, Herbert West (Re-Animator), Victor Crowley (Hatchet), the Living Corpse, Bomb Queen, Chucky and finally Ash from the Evil Dead series. I even got to make my own small contribution to the series as editor on the one-shot adventure Hack/Slash versus Halloween Man.

 

If you’re looking for a good place to start with Hack/Slash, you can either try the story of how Cassie started killing slashers in Hack/Slash: My First Maniac, or start at the beginning with Volume 1: First Cut.


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