Review by Frank Plowright
My First Maniac was issued between Super Sidekick Sleepover Slaughter and Torture Prone, but is a look back to Cassie Hack’s past, not connected to the ongoing continuity, so not allocated a volume number. As such, it has yet to appear in a Hack/Slash Omnibus either.
Hack/Slash devotees will already know that at sixteen and in High School Cassie Hack killed her first serial killer, her mother, but what happened after that? My First Maniac marked Hack/Slash moving to a new publisher, serving as an introduction for a potentially larger readership, and Tim Seeley adopts a very different writing style from the previous books. It’s caption led, high on maudlin introspection and ponderous in places, and as such very different from the series generally, which is fast paced and lively. What Seeley does capture well is the transition between the uncertain schoolgirl and the slasher basher she becomes.
Daniel Leister’s art is consistent, if overly influenced by the exploitative 1990s Image/Top Cow style of strangely proportioned women with breast drawn as perfect spheres seemingly glued to a chest. Mark Englert’s colouring hasn’t always served the artists well either, and his version of bruises and other injuries lacks any reality, on the sample page making it seem as if Cassie has a beard. Englert is best when varying his colours to indicate flashback sequences.
Because the tone is so different, My First Maniac doesn’t act as a great sampler for Hack/Slash. It’s somewhere between a sensitive teenage misery memoir and the slasher movies that inspired the series in the first place. Seeley subverts some aspects of slasher films nicely, others, such as Cassie remaining effective while severely injured are sucked in wholesale. It means we come to know Cassie, but without the humour that makes her stand out.