Elvira Mistress of the Dark #1

Writer: David Avallone
Artist: Dave Acosta
Colorist: Andrew Covalt
Letter: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite

Review by Frank Lanza

As a teenager, Elvira held a special place in my heart. And not the typical lustful place you might think, but one of great curiosity. You see, Cassandra Peterson, the woman beneath the costume and makeup, went to high school in my hometown. My parents knew her through mutual friends and had many beers with her at the local pizza joint. Mom showed me her high school yearbook picture, so when I was introduced to her alter ego I was more amazed than anything else. In real life she was pretty but nothing like the ultra vamped out sexpot that she became as Elvira. It was my introduction into the amazing transformations people made for fun and money, and yeah she probably fueled quite a few teenage fantasies of mine too.

But hey, we’re here for a comic book review, not a history lesson! Elvira Mistress of the Dark #1 is finally upon us and brings with it all the camp and cheese you’d expect from our favorite midnight hostess. Let’s make with the creepy!

The premise of Elvira Mistress of the Dark #1 doesn’t try to stray too far from its source material. Heck, it doesn’t try to do a whole lot of anything that would be new or different for our vampy heroine. And this is just fine, there’s no need to reinvent this wheel at all. Avallone does a great job capturing Elvira’s razor sharp wit and ultra dry sarcasm. The plot is pretty much straight out of a midnight creature feature: Elvira is shooting a campy horror flick and ends up getting sucked into a coffin and transported into a real life historical nightmare. She ends up in a villa on that fateful night that Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley all challenged each other to write the best horror story they could. Spoiler alert: Mary won. However, on this night when Elvira is transported into their midst, the threesome are being stalked by a real life monster. Elvira and Mary team up to battle the mysterious beast only to find they are being hunted by another time traveler. The stranger appears to a medieval sorcerer looking for an unholy bride. Elvira obviously has no interesting in being a housewife for any man, so she and Mary lead him on a chase through the villa and manage to elude him in the end, only for Elvira to be warped through time yet again. She pops out of the coffin and is confronted by another literary legend!

Avallone’s story is probably going to be hit or miss depending on who picks up this book. It’s goofy, silly, campy and downright cheesy in spots. But that’s pretty much Elvira’s schtik. I can’t imagine many people buying this book that don’t already know what they’re getting into, but I could see someone snagging it for the T&A factor and maybe being disappointed by the story accompanying the visuals. For my money though, it was pretty much spot on and gave me a few chuckles along with a few eye rolls and groans.

I think the T&A crowd would be pleased by Acosta’s linework as well. I found it to be a lot of fun, capturing Elvira’s trademark assets with a slightly cartoony style. The visuals move the story along just right and the panels were never overcrowded or over noodled. He doesn’t try overly hard to capture Elvira’s likeness but he is able to get the overall look down fairly consistently on every page. And yeah, he draws the curves in all the right places.

Verdict: Buy it!

I’m going to couch my verdict by restating this: if you don’t like Elvira or campy horror, this book isn’t going to make a convert out of you. It sticks to the original formula very closely and does just fine with it. If you think Elvira is pretty sexy and pretty funny then I say buy Elvira Mistress of the Dark #1 and enjoy all the chuckles and groans that will come with it.

Frank Lanza
Ruined for life by the Goblin Queen at age 13, Frank is a lifelong comics enthusiast. Somehow he finds the time to read funny books while being a husband and father to three amazing kids. With collecting passions that range from the entire run of Uncanny X-Men to the world of original comic art and commissions, Frank tries to share his love of comics with anyone that will listen. Feel free to bug me on Twitter @lanzajr26

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