Dead@17: The Complete First Series

Writer / Artist
Dead@17: The Complete First Series
Alternative editions:
Dead@17 The Complete First Series review
Alternative editions:
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Viper Comics - 0-97541-936-6
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2004
  • UPC: 9780975419366
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Horror

It seems odd to consider there’s an instant likeable charm to what’s essentially a buckets of blood horror series, but there is. Josh Howard has an attractive big-eyed style of cartooning, which goes a long way to disguising that he moves his cast through predictable cheap horror movie scenarios. It’s a winning and surprisingly durable combination that’s sustained a series over seven graphic novels and a couple more series of associated material.

Two of the series’ major characters are introduced on the opening page, Hazy Foss who’s just broken up with her boyfriend, and Nara Kilday who’s comforting her. After a final conversation Nara returns home and is murdered, but her diaries shown to Hazy reveal her to have secrets she didn’t reveal, not the least being tormented by dreams of demons. Seeing as she’s the title character, however, death is but a temporary inconvenience to Nara, and as the story continues we learn more about why that’s the case amid the introduction of zombies, demons and assorted other supernatural nasties.

At this early stage Howard is very much influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so no points for originality, but over future books the small changes he made and the different personalities come to predominate. The positive points here are the charm of the cartooning, a storyteller’s instincts and a likeable, if derivative, cast. The series continues with Blood of Saints.

As Dead@17 began publication on a small scale and grew in popularity, this opening story is now more easily located collected with others as part of either the Ultimate Collection, or the even larger Complete Collection.