Devilishly Delightful: ‘Black Tape’ #2 Advance Review
by Olly MacNamee
‘Black Tape’ #2
As much as Black Tape #2 is a sizzling, sexy horror comic dripping with seventies sensibilities and rock and roll aesthetics, in many ways it is also a celebration of a bygone era of L.A. The iconic buildings and sunset vistas that the action plays out against is as much a part of the story as Cindy, the grieving widow of rock star, Jack King. The warm, sultry colours provided by Ive Svorcina over the luscious art of Dalibor Talajić suggests a tone more in keeping with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But if Hammer Film Studios had produced it. Dan Panosian, swapping art duties for writing duties (effortlessly, I may add), plunders a part of America he knows well, living as he does in Lauren Canyon, and litters the issue with iconic architecture, such as the Capital Towers building and the infamous Whisky A-Go-Go. The latter making the perfect scenario for a rock’n’roll’n’horror comic like this one.
But, lest we forget, this is a story of supernatural suspense and tension. Don’t be fooled by the cool-ass locations, and concentrate more on the unfolding sense of dread that creeps into this issue. Particularly in one scene in which Cindy interrupts, post-coitally, her friend and confidante, Dev, only to be firstly confronted by bodyguard and man-mountain, Frank. It’s a scene full of menace, particularly as the depiction of Frank, albeit butt-naked, suggests he may very well be more sinister than he seems. I’m sure you’ll pick up on the tantalising visual clue included here, but I ain’t going to be the one to spill the beans.
Of course, when the sun does go down, the glamours of L.A. makes way to a far more shady, salaciously sinister world inhabited by predominantly sleazy types which Cindy must navigate through if she is to investigate the demonic dungeon she came across under the deceased Jack’s mansion at the end of last issue.
The layout of many of the panels really infuses this comic book with a very cinematic quality. High angle shots provide a sense of vulnerability and fear, as felt by a very isolated Cindy, while the use of Dutch tilt shots (off-kilter) in several panels are used to sustain a sense of unease, particularly when Cindy suffers a nightmare vision early on in the issue. Albeit, in this scene, the contrasting change in colours also helps to sell it as a scene of psychological horror.
Black Tape #2 serves up suspenseful and oft-times sensual story and art with more than an edge of danger and creeping, foreboding evil just off-panel.
Black Tape #2 is out Wednesday 8th March from AWA Upshots