“Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight” shamelessly plants itself as a fantastic tribute to exploitation films. The result is a pulpy adventure filled with sex, gore, and campy dialogue. Writer Alex De Campi’s “Bee Vixens From Mars” kicks things off this month. The story finds a perfect balance with the elements of grindhouse cinema and manages some memorable characters at the same time. You best get season tickets to the Grindhouse, because we’re in for a wild ride.
Right away De Campi stimulates your senses with incredible sensual imagery from Peterson. The effect dizzies you into the heat of the moment. We’re introduced to our hero on the second page. Sheriff Jimmy is in the throws of a romantic night in, with two busty vixens. These women suck honey off of each other’s fingers, and all Jimmy can think of is the lack of beer in the fridge.
So he treks out of the house, leaving his busty friends behind. He hits a bee with his car and swerves into a tree. His adventure begins here. Peterson’s depiction of the bee smashing into the windshield is over the top and otherworldly. The use of extreme gore is perfect. Since the bee is so tiny, it serves as a nice reminder of the tone of this comic: pure camp.
Jimmy meets his partner Garcia on what should be a routine homicide. Garcia is a hard-edged woman with an eye patch and a silver ponytail. She’s no bullshit, and is obviously the more brash of the pair. Campi and Peterson treat us to another incredible moment of extreme gore. Peterson really gets to shine here, using a full page to display entrails ripped out and strewn around a car.
Jimmy and Garcia find something in a nearby field that alludes to a lot more than the usual murder. The book revels in this moment, and shows us what Garcia is capable of. The antagonists are introduced in grand fashion, and the book leaves us dangling until next month.
Chris Peterson’s work needs to be commended. His uses of sex, gore, and camp work perfectly with the script. He has a strong sense of grindhouse in his work. From the way the tongues waggle under the honey on the second page, to Garcia’s smug face as she lights her cigarette, it’s clear this book was crafted with care. Peterson ensures the character designs are memorable and distinct. Garcia stands out among the rest, and her mysterious nature is only aided by the work of Peterson.
Alex De Campi understands the magic of grindhouse. The script is perfectly pulpy and doesn’t get bogged down in the details. Instead it motors ahead like a beater of a car that was lovingly cared for. This is by design. The tongue in cheek dialogue and the ridiculous use of gore ensure you’ll feel like your sitting in a grindhouse theater in the seventies.
There is a certain magic to “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight” that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s important to support a book like this, because nothing quite like it exists, and as it goes on, it’ll allow a wide range of stories to be told that are nothing but fun. Check out “Bee Vixens From Mars” you won’t be disappointed.
Rating 4/5 Skulls.