Somewhere in the asscrack of the mediterranean…
COMIC: Blood Stain (Volumes 1 – 4)
LENGTH: 512 pages (all together)
GENRES: Horror, Contemporary Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fiction
PUBLISHER: Image – Top Cow
RELEASE DATE: 13 April 2016
Elliot Torres is kind of in a rough patch. With no career, a seemingly useless chemistry degree, and a near pathological addiction to online gaming, Elly needs something in her life to go right especially when her family asks her to start pitching in with the rent.
Enter Doctor Vlad Stein. After a series of failed part time jobs, Elly desperately answers Dr. Stein’s ancient classified ad: ASSISTANT NEEDED. But when the doctor ~who, according to rumor, is the creepiest mad scientist in human history demands an in-person job trial at his spooky lab, making ends meet might be the least of Elly’s worries. Or maybe she’s been playing too much survival horror.
Originally published on DeviantArt as a bit webcomic, and even adapted by fans into a YouTube audio drama, this is the first print collection of the hilarious series from rising star writer/artist LINDA SEJIC (Tales of Honor, Wildfire).
“I heard from a friend of a friend… that that guy… is a mad scientist!”
I’ve been kind of getting into graphic novels and webcomics recently, so when this came up on my feed it looked right up my alley. Dark, mad scientist aesthetic? Comedy-horror? Yes, please!
Alas, it just… didn’t live up to my expectations. A huge part of said anticipating was, of course, my fault, but I still had a different idea as to what kind of graphic novel Blood Stain was, as opposed to what it ended up being.
But let’s start off with what I liked about it…
- The characters ▼
The characters were the star of the show here. (As they should – they’re characters! – but whatever.) Out of everything in these graphic novels, the cast was what shone the brightest. Particularly our leading lady, Elliot Torres.
Elliot Torres is a recent chemistry graduate who’s currently experiencing the first big hurdle of a young adult – finding and keeping down a job. As someone who’s been in her situation before (rather recently, in fact) she was extremely relatable. She’s also a spunky nerd who loves video games, which also helped me like her – as I too am a spunky nerd who loves video games. I also loved how her family (aka: her motivation) is always first in her mind, and how much she throws herself into everything she does, so as to help them out.
Vlad Stein – accidently christened “Blood Stain” by Elliot, hence the title – is our protagonist’s new workaholic, socially awkward boss. And no, sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but despite his name, he isn’t a vampire. He’s a bit of a mad scientist though… At least, he has the aesthetic for it. I know, I know, I was a little disappointed as well (particularly since the covers and synopsis seem to imply supernatural connotations that don’t seem to exist). He was an okay character, one that I neither like nor dislike.
I really liked Serge though. He seems a bit out of place at first – like seriously, why is he here? But he’s a difficult character not to like, and I fell hard and fast. His purpose also becomes clear somewhat quickly in the story, which also helps. He worked as an excellent straight man to balance out Vlad’s and Elliot’s different kinds of weirdness.
- The art ▼
The art is so good, guys. And the character designs were awesome. I also really liked the way that Sejic draws environments and backgrounds.
I also really liked how the panels would sometimes just change fantastically for seemingly no reason (at first). Elliot’s hyperactive imagination and weird dreams were always hilarious to witness.
- The dialogue▼
I didn’t really like the dialogue at first. It felt very clunky to me. The conversations between characters didn’t always come off as natural, or how people talk at all. It did improve a little bit as the story went on, though.
- The genre ▼
As for the genre… Contemporary fiction isn’t bad or anything like that, it’s just not my preference. But the covers of these graphic novels kind of like to you, and the summary is vague enough that certain things… might be inferred.
For example, I was sure Vlad was gonna be a vampire or something, and that there’d be other subtle supernatural stuff hanging around in the background. But. No dice. This is simply a very non-supernatural, slice-of-life comedy.
Blood Stain by Linda Sejic is pretty fun so far, if you like contemporary, dark comedy. Its illustrations are also beautiful – Sejic is really a talented artist.
This might also be a good comic to curl up on the couch with during October. Though it’s not supernatural, and not quite a horror, it still has a dark aesthetic perfect for spooky season.
As always, thank you so much for reading, and have an excellent day/night!
See ya ~Mar