It’s that time of year again for ghosts and ghouls to roam the streets (which you shouldn’t be doing this year) and for us to get reacquainted with some old friends like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers! There are no shortage of movies we could be talking about starring these icons of horror, but we’re going to take things in a slightly different direction here and familiarize ourselves with the oft overlooked subgenre of horror comics! All three of these characters have had their share of funny books based off their exploits, so why not find out which one has the best stories to tell and are the most fun to read? And no, we won’t be going into the Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comics as they are their own separate thing from either franchise’s main books. Next year perhaps!? Well let’s get through this first before we start planning ahead!
In Last Place for Bad Taste – Friday The 13th
Starting this list with the most heartbreaking of them all, my beloved Jason Voorhees has had undoubtedly the WORST comics on this list. Why? Well with this series you basically get two kinds of stories; blatantly fetishistic gore porn and philosophical musings from pompous edge lords. It’s a blatantly cynical misunderstanding of the character and the franchise as the stories seem to think that Jason is supposed to be the protagonist. You may have goes to the movie to SEE Jason Voorhees, but the stars of those movies were Alice Hardy, Tommy Jarvis, Tina Shepard, and so on. For almost every single one of these books there’s hardly a character worth rooting for or a victim who’s death is anything short of gleefully excessive because the writers want you to side with Jason as some sort of agent of chaos here to destroy THE MAN. Corrupt cops, evil corporations, and at its absolute most revolting point gay people, are all lined up for Jason to take his brutal bloody revenge out on to the cheers of the audience; either because you WANT those people to die or because your tickled by the rendering of blood and viscera on the page. The tackiest ones are where they try to justify their wanton bloodlust and by making Jason some sort of avenging spirit of Native American Genocide, like the supped up version of prefacing all MRA bullshit with WHITE women to try and pretend you’re not just an angry at all women, and this is something they try TWICE; once in the 2008 series and again in the Bad Land 2 parter. Out of all of these books, the only three that stand out as anything other than dreck are Jason Goes to Hell, Jason Vs. Leatherface, and Pamela’s Tale. Jason Vs. Leatherface is bad for a lot of the same reasons as the other books are BUT it has enough tongue in cheek humor to dull its more obnoxious moments, and the artwork has a grotesque EC Comics by way of Alfred E Newman look that lightens the mood considerably. Pamela’s Tale, while rather unnecessary as it’s just a prequel that doesn’t do all that much interesting with the characters, at least is driven by something other than gore and titillation as we see how she came to have Jason and how she ended up working at the camp. It’s far too happy to throw out allusions to future aspects of the franchise when it could have done its own thing, but I found it an entertaining enough read and one that didn’t make me repeatedly wince like so many of the other books. Jason Goes to Hell is the definite standout as it’s just a retelling of the ninth movie, but that film is pretty underrated as is and I think the more fantastical elements are better suited for a comic book; not to mention that the script for that movie is FAR superior to the original scripts they wrote for the other comic books as it focuses on characters instead of just watching a lumbering monster be directed at whatever gripes the writer has with the world. Aside from those three there’s not really anything to recommend as even the ones that pull back on the overt gore have garbage themes and characters, so I’d avoid almost every single one of these like the plague.
The Good: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993); Friday the 13th: Pamela’s Tale (2007)
The Meh: Jason Vs. Leatherface (1995)
The Ugly: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath (2005), Friday the 13th Special (2005); Jason X Special (2005); Jason Vs. Jason X (2006); Friday the 13th: Fearbook (2006); Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2007); Friday the 13th (2007); Friday the 13th: Bad Land (2008); Friday the 13th: Abuser and the Abused (2008)