I’m a big fan of comics and movies. I can appreciate each of these art forms as they both have qualities that the other one doesn’t possess. Now, when I first hear a comic book that is a movie adaptation or prequel released before its movie counterpart I think this is going to be crap. Only because I feel it is just another way the movie studio is pushing their movie and there is no real heart behind the comic book. This isn’t the case for every movie adaptation, but many are like this. Now this takes us to Django Unchained #1 from Vertigo which is under the DC Comics umbrella. I was very wary to check this book out but I was pleasantly surprised.
The artwork duties are being handled by R.M. Guera who is from Scalped fame. A dark, full-of-style western sounds like a perfect match for the artist who brought Scalped to life. And the writing duties are being handled by Jason Latour. This comic book also gets the grace of one of the best illustrators in comics, Jim Lee, who does the artwork for the variant cover (which is stunning as always).
Now to the comic. Django Unchained #1 starts off with a foreword from Quentin Tarantino himself. He lets us know he loves comic books, but in particular western comic books. He explains that Django Unchained is an epic story that needs to be told, but that is the one problem with any film. You have to do re-writes so the script works in about a 2 hour span. Tarantino explains if he filmed his original script it would be around a 4 hour movie. That is where this comic book comes into play. This comic book series will feature the original screenplay with no cuts. So some of these scenes we will see in the movie while others we won’t. This is the whole Django Unchained story.
We begin with meeting some of our main characters like Django and Dr. King Schultz. These first few pages you probably have seen in the trailers for Django Unchained. It might not deliver the punch that the trailer does, but we get the sense of our main characters and what they are going to do. As we following along with these two characters we get to know more of the story through flashbacks that Jason Latour delivers beautifully. Guera’s artwork really does fit this story. His dark splashes and sketchy line work help tell the story in Django Unchained.
One problem I have is that some pages and panels have a heavy dose of dialogue that doesn’t fit too well into a comic book page. This shouldn’t be a surprise since the source material is a Quentin Tarantino script – we all know he goes a tad crazy with dialogue in scenes. This is one part I felt that wasn’t handled well by Jason Latour. But, overall, these parts weren’t overly distracting. This movie adaptation really surprised me and was overall well done. If you are a fan of Tarantino movies then this might become a must read for you. But if you don’t want to be spoiled to Django Unchained the movie, than I would say read this after you see the movie next week.
Django Unchained (The Movie) comes out next week on Christmas Day starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and more.