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Slap dat ho – Dark Shadows #28

November 30, 2010

I’ve always respected the fervent fan following that Dark Shadows developed during its few years on the air. The sheer audacity of a 60’s/70’s daytime soap opera revolving around the supernatural deserves a tip of the cap no matter what you might think of the genre or the quality of the storytelling. My personal interactions with the franchise have been limited, but I remember watching the 1991 revival and liking it, and being a bit sad when it was yanked from the air thanks to the saturation coverage of the first Gulf War.

I’m not overly familiar with the mythology and lore surrounding the brooding vampire Barnabas Collins and his fellow denizens of Collinwood, but what I associate most with the series is the unrelenting string of gaffes and goofs that riddled the whole affair. Thanks to the internet, they’re now at our fingertips:

For some reason I always thought, because of all these muckups, that the show was broadcast live. I knew intellectually that live television had gone the way of the dodo by the time this show rolled around, but I guess there was no other way for my brain to explain the sloppiness of the whole thing. I gather that there were some clever stories told on the show, but it was as if the production didn’t realize that it wasn’t bad form to do a second take.

Anyway…

I find many Gold Key comics to be on the stiff side, and this one is no exception. I did, however, derive a degree of pleasure from the repeated pimp slaps doled out from beginning to end. The action in “The Visitor” centers on the return of an old flame/friend of Elizabeth Collins, a cousin (eww) named Damon Coldclaw. Sounds trustworthy enough, right?

As it turns out, Damon wasn’t very well liked by Elizabeth’s brother, Roger, who thinks Mr. Coldclaw was/is a man with ulterior motives. He shows his displeasure with this visit in as clear a manner as possible:

As Mr. T would say: “I squash that bug!”

Roger is right. Damon has secret powers of mesmerism, and he gets right down to business by slowly taking control of Elizabeth’s mind so that he can in turn get control of Collinwood. Barnabas, who not surprisingly has a nose for the stange, gets wind of this and enlists the aid of a Collins family friend, Professor Stokes, to bring him to heel:

A little chin music for the good professor.

Soon Elizabeth falls ill, and Barnabas has had just about enough of this doofus:

Not technically a pimp slap, but we’ll allow it.

Barnabas’ physical affront makes Coldclaw sing like a canary, and he spills out all his schemes to get Elizabeth’s land and money right in front of her. She makes a miraculous recovery to deliver a final blow:

Damon winds up getting pushed off a cliff by an owl. Don’t ask.

This story wasn’t for me, but I won’t rip the writer and artist team, John Warner and Joe Certa. I’m not the target audience for this comic. But I will thank them for the series of haymakers that peppered these events in stuffy Collinwood. My cheeks hurt just from reading this book.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 2, 2010 9:00 am

    I remember watching that show with my grandmother when I was a wee lad; I always watched while wearing my Lone Ranger gunbelt with silver bullets, just in case. Back then all soaps were sloppily done with plenty of gaffes like these. I think it was just a case of having to turn out so much footage on a weekly basis that no one had time for re-takes, though you’d think after the 100th time, the DS crew would think to put some tape down for the technicians with instructions not to cross it.

    BTW, my grandfather assured me I had nothing to fear from Barnabus, as he was a “good vampire.” When I asked what that meant, he said, “He takes his teeth out at night.” 🙂

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