As the slasher slayers reach their final issue today, the timing is right to reflect on the Hack/Slash series. For horror fans, this comic is a fun-filled tribute to the slasher genre. These unstoppable slashers were suddenly facing a masked giant holding a machete and the final girl carried a baseball bat wrapped in bared wire.
What really sold the series to me was how writer Tim Seeley handled the interaction between Vlad and Cassie. They were inseparable when it came down to stopping the slashers. But in their personal lives, the two were a car crash waiting to happen. They couldn’t stand being in the same together, but there was an emotional bond that kept them together. Readers felt for these characters as they witnessed their own tragedies. Seeley always drove their love/hate relationship forward with such smart dialogue.
The “Hack/Slash” series had a provocative look that attracted readers. You had the sex appeal and the gore running through the pages. The artwork became incredibly stylish because the aim was for sexy pin-up art. In her illustrations, Cassie has to be voluptuous, while being soaked in blood. But, there is more to Cassie than being a sex object.
One of my favorite story arcs in the series is “My First Maniac.” Seeley mixes the horrors of being an adolescent with the scares of the Friday the 13th movies. Aimed as an origin tale, Seeley took an in-depth look back at Cassie’s roots. Behind her toughness, Cassie is actually a vulnerable young girl in her own coming-of-age story. What’s great about Cassie’s first-person narration is how she reflects the whirlwind of teenage emotions, from angst to awkward first crushes.
The major selling points are Mark Englert’s bright colors and Daniel Leister’s flashy artwork. In close-ups, Leister captures Cassie’s heartbroken expressions as she yearns to fit in with others. Englert’s use of primary colors, especially with blue tones, comes across as an endearing homage to ’80s horror movies.
What I also found interesting is how other artists have interpreted Cassie and Vlad. Kyle Strahm slightly changed the look of the slasher slayers, presenting them with more of a punkish, grungy design. Elena Casagrande puts a major focus on women’s clothing, which makes Cassie look feels modern, hip, and cheeky. In Ariel Zucker-Brull’s depiction, Cassie has on heavy eyeliner , giving her an edgy and modelish look.
The series never took itself too seriously, because you had these over-the-top crossovers with other horror franchises. Cassie and Vlad took on Chucky, the serial killer doll, and Herbert West from Re-animator. My favorite of the crossovers is when Cassie and Vlad went after Hatchet’s Victor Crowley. In “Hack/Slash Annual 2011: Hatchet/Slash,” Victor Crowley is killing unsuspecting tourists who wander into his marked territory. The dialogue by writer Benito Cereno has such excellent comedic banter between Cassie and Vlad. There is genuine excitement building as Cassie attempts to rescue the missing tourists, who are arguing amongst themselves. Because I enjoyed this crossover so much, I wanted to check out the Hatchet movies as well.
The emotional core of the “Hack/Slash” series has always the relationship between Vlad and Cassie. You cared for these characters, which is something that rarely happens. A lot of credit goes to writing and artwork for pushing the slasher genre forward, while delivering the bloody goods at the same time.
Editorial by – Jorge Solis
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