THE SHAPE OF ELVIRA #1
Written by David Avallone
Art by Fran Strukan, Maxim Simic, and Taylor Esposito
Edited by Kevin Ketner
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Release date: January 30, 2019
Yes, you. The one reading this review. Thanks for showing up. Come on in, pull up a stool by the bar, I want to tell you about this great comic that came out today.
I figure since Elvira can break the fourth wall in her book, I can get away with it in this, my last review for Comicosity. Let’s get started with a bit of summary and sales pitch. If you are a marketing pro looking for a pull quote, I’ll set you up along the way.
Hitting the stands this week is a book sure to warm you up in what is, for most of North America, the coldest new comic day of the winter. You know her, you love her, you may have to be reminded to look up at her eyes. It’s Elvira and she’s back in a fun new book from Dynamite.
Taking a break from “making vampire movies for two cents in a warehouse in Encino,” Elvira gets cast in a new horror movie from a brilliant, but mysterious, director Billy Bullworth (who seems very loosely inspired by Guillermo del Toro). Heading to Bullworth’s mansion to discuss the script, Elvira gets caught up in the eccentric creator’s mansion of props and hidden rooms.
Avallone has a good feel for Elvira’s playful voice and this issue lays out the cast of characters and the premise well. There is not much action, but a couple of genuine laughs with Elvira’s penchant for double (and single) entendres on display every few panels.
The art style is quite minimal with a focus on clear characters, and not a fixation on photo-realism to the very recognizable lead. Strukan manages to capture Elvira in as few lines as possible and not get bogged down in the photo reference we often see drag down licensed comics.
The gap for the art is in the backgrounds, which are realized in wide shots and then vanish to color-wash fills in medium and close shots. The characters spend most of their time floating in empty panels. There is one panel that I couldn’t work out if Elvira was offering her hand to be kissed, or if she was leaning on an invisible filing cabinet.
Simic has a lot to do to keep the panels filled up and feeling homey. As well as excellent work on the characters, there is a lively mix of washes, brush style, and mood-setting shadows to give a good flow to the overall work.
Esposito is, as always, an expert in the lettering craft. With a world of options, he places the balloons just so to keep the eye on track and flowing. There are not a lot of challenges in the lettering, no fancy fonts or even sfx to handle, but someone wanting to learn placement could pick up a lot from how Esposito manages such smooth flow to some talky pages.
A good start to what promises to be a bit of silly fun. If you want comics to be fun, then you came to the right place.
The Verdict: 8/10
As I said, this is my last writing for Comicosity. I thank the editorial team for their partnership over the past seven years.
My first comic book as a writer, Misha, is available on Comixology and Comix Central. My next, Kyle the Nihilist Dinosaur, is scheduled for spring 2019. Both are creative partnerships with artist Jillian Dolan.
I leave here loving comics just a little bit more than when I arrived.
Thanks for reading.
Keith Callbeck, We Talk Comics 2011-2017, Comicosity 2012-2019