A quick anecdote: two Thursday evenings ago, I went out for dinner at a well-regarded pizza house in east end Toronto. The pie, a two-cheese blend with three types of mushrooms aside some green foliage, lived up to its “pretty awesome” billing. A nice night out.
But you know how these things can sometimes go.
No, the food stayed with me, thank god, but flash-forward three days and I’m shivering under bedroom blankets, sleepless, head pounding heavy, coughing up something off-colour, shedding weight like a character out of a Stephen King novel and tracking back the vector of my infection to that pizza pie night.
These things, these days. All it takes for monstrous biological threats to invade our bodies on a cellular level are interactions benign, rudimentary, innocent: the touching of a door handle, a glass cup, a fork.
And that’s where The Strain starts – in a benign place: a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport. A normal occurrence, certainly, except this plane has landed dark: all lights off, all window shades down, all communications lines quiet. A CDC rapid response team gets called into action – and so begins an arduous effort in the prevention of an ancient, mythological contagion at the centre of one of the world’s most populous cities.
Written by Eisner Award winner, David Lapham, and illustrated in moody and atmospheric stylings by Mike Huddleston, The Strain is an adaptation of film director Guillermo del Toro and author Chuck Hogan’s novel of the same name. In fact, that novel, published in 2009, was the first of a trilogy that included The Fall (2010) and The Night Eternal (2011). If you’re familiar with del Toro’s film oeuvre, you’ll know of his penchant for the monstrous, the foreboding and the downright frightening. The Strain is no different – and it doesn’t give much away to say that it is the Mexican creator’s take on vampire mythology, a follow-up to his gruesome visualizations in the movie Blade II.
Who says we can’t use a good fright this time of year? Maybe The Strain will scare the flu straight out of you! Even if you’re not sick, it’ll make for some enthralling reading.
So make the run this Wednesday and head out to your local comic shop and pick up The Strain #1. Just be sure to handle the door to the store with care. And please don’t thumb through every copy of the comic – just carefully take the one from the middle of the pile.
Who knows what kinds of biological threats lie on that top, well-perused copy?
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!