• Elvira Mistress Of The Dark #1



    Elvira Mistress Of The Dark #1

    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: July 4th, 2018.
    Written by: David Avallone
    Illustrated by: Dave Acosta
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    Cassandra Peterson’s famous creation Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark is best known as the horror hostess with the mostess but she’s also starred in two feature films and has a bit of a history in comic books too. She first appeared in four color format when DC Comics launched her first series (complete with a gorgeous Dave Stevens cover) in 1986 with Elvira’s House Of Mystery which lasted two years. Then in 1993, Claypool Comics (who used photo covers for each and every issue) launched Elvira Mistress Of The Dark which would have a lengthy one-hundred-and-sixty-six issue run lasting into 2007. Now, more than a decade later, Dynamite Entertainment gets into the Elvira game and while sadly Dave Stevens is no longer around for cover art duties, they’ve tapped Joseph Michael Linser for that job and the results are, as you can see above, fantastic.

    As to the story itself? When it begins, Elvira is on the set of a B-grade vampire movie. The shoot goes wrong with the actor playing Dracula loses his fangs – she’s so hot she melted his denture glue! They break and Elvira talks to Floyd Mankoff (who more than resembles as certain Troma figurehead) about fixing up the script in her trailer during the break. He agrees but when she heads back to her trailer to do just that, she finds an open coffin that’s actually some sort of time portal – it sucks her in and the lid closes. When she ‘lands’ she opens the lid and finds herself standing in front of two men and a woman holding a candle and wondering who she is. She tells them she needs to get back to stage 58 to work on the movie but they have no idea what she’s talking about. When she asks who they are and where they are they tell her she’s at a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva. The woman tells her she’s flanked by her friend Lord Byron and her beloved Percy Shelly… and then Elvira figures out she’s Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

    At this point, Elvira is pretty excited. Frankenstein hasn’t been written yet but she knows her history and knows it will be soon enough. Regardless, the trio resumes their search for Doctor Polidori and as they search, Mary explains to Elvira that they were sitting around the fire telling ghost stories when a bestial shape arrived and snatched their friend, John Polidori. It was he they were searching for when they came across the coffin containing Elvira. When they hear a tortured voice coming from the bowels of the building beneath they, they decide to head down there to find him… but of course it doesn’t quite go as planned.

    This is a fun read. Quirky, goofy, corny – all good qualities in an Elvira story. David Avallone writes the character really well, you can almost hear Peterson’s trademark snark in your head as you read it. The book never goes more than a panel or two without a quip and there’s just the right mix of light sexual humor, pop culture references and macabre puns to make it work. The humor might not be the most sophisticated – there are boob jokes and guys getting kneed in the balls – but who needs sophisticated when you’re reading an Elvira story? The time travel motif isn’t the most original plot device ever made but it is, without going into spoiler territory, obviously going to allow the story to bring Elvira face to face with a host of real life characters who clearly played a huge part in shaping the horrordom that would eventually crown her queen. So it works, and it’s fun. Mission accomplished.

    Dave Acosta’s artwork, colored really nicely by Andrew Covalt, suits the story really well. There’s good detail here and he gets Peterson’s likeness down really well – which is obviously key to a book like this. Elvira looks like Elvira, which is reason enough on its own to want to pick this up. There’s also some cool gothic atmosphere here – the opening pages where she’s dealing with Dracula, the pages where she explores the old home with the trio of literary giants with whom she’s fallen in, they’re nicely done. There are a few pages where some more background detail might have filled them out a bit more but overall, the artwork here is strong and, just as importantly, it suits the story really well.

    So yeah, this was a fun first read. A nice mix of thrills, spills and chills filled with wonky humor and the type of fast talking wit that’s made Elvira a fan favorite for decades now.