Adrienne Fox

Dark Horse’s Grindhouse Opens Again for B-Movie Madness with ‘Slay Ride’

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I loved Dark Horse’s Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out “Slay Ride” for turning Christmas time on its ear by creating fear instead of cheer.

Grindhouse Drive In, Bleed Out #1 cover for Slay Ride via Dark Horse Comics

Grindhouse Drive In, Bleed Out #1 cover for Slay Ride via Dark Horse Comics

Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out – Slay Ride (Parts 1 and 2)
Writer: Alex De Campi
Artist and Cover: R. M. Guéra
Colors: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Alex De Campi
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release date: November 12th and December 24, 2014

Get in the holiday spirit and buy your own copies of Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #1 and Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #2.

After you read “Slay Ride,” any terror you might feel over holiday dinner with your extended family pales in comparison to the horror Shayla and her grandmother face in this tale. Hang in there! Your in-laws aren’t that bad, really. Have another drink and be glad that you are not being tracked down by the monsters imagined in Alex De Campi’s head.

The story starts off grim. Papa and Jake are dead at the family home. All that remains of the broken family is Mother Wolf and Shayla, an estranged pair that choose to take action to save the other two families in the valley. Those neighbors have no idea what monsters are coming for them, but Mother Wolf does-and she is a woman of action. No matter how hard they fight the story has some very dark turns before it is over.

The Clown, the Overseer, and The Man Who Walks, and The Cowboy are out to take the lives of those who are addicted, greedy, and compulsive per their own code. That outlook puts Mother Wolf, who has smoked cigarettes all her life, and Shayla, who has had a healthy sex life, in the crosshairs of these killers. The women have guns and brains and use them both effectively to survive. And, as they breakdown the emotional and divide between them, they become a formidable pair.

De Campi has a way of weaving social themes into work that is largely exploitation and B-movie driven. This book has two women protagonists that work to save the neighboring families with little concern for their own well-being. The monsters in this story are white men, even artistically rendered in white from head to toe by R. M. Guéra, battling two women of color, who consistently deny the assumptions made about them. Mother Wolf and Shayla are not defined by the compulsions that draw these killers to them. De Campi shows you how much more there is to these characters even in a B-movie set-up.

The art in the book is a perfect tone to accompany the script. Make sure to keep a close eye on Guéra’s art. Faces of these predators appear in the trees, fireplace, and other unexpected places as they track their victims. The dark shadows and blue-white of the snow-covered environment create an eerie feeling that underlies the action. Together the script and art deliver a harrowing read.

I became an Alex De Campi fan after reading her Grindhouse: Doors open at Midnight (also from Dark Horse). The two-issue “Bee Vixens from Mars” story won me over on the first few panels. Then, I sought out her excellent Smoke/Ashes trade paperback—a tale of espionage across British and American soil that is a far cry from exploitation-fueled tales she’s writing for Dark Horse now.  I’m convinced that there is nothing that De Campi can’t do.

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