Strange Embrace Goes Back to Comics

I found this an odd little press release because it announces a strategy that seems to be going counter to the prevailing wisdom:

Image Comics to re-release acclaimed graphic novel as a full-color serial

It’s a world of pain, sorrow, obsession, and damnation. It’s a world that twists and pollutes the lives of all that enter it. It’s David Hine’s STRANGE EMBRACE and a newly colored version is heading your way this May from Image Comics and Active Images. But beware: this 8-issue mature readers re-release may take you to a point of madness you never thought possible.

“We’ve had such great success with ELEPHANTMEN at Image,” said Richard Starkings, President & First Tiger of Active Images, “that we looked at other books we could work together on. STRANGE EMBRACE came up, how we thought it’s hypnotic look into childhood fears and obsession might look in colour. David’s excitement gave the idea life.”

STRANGE EMBRACE (#1, May 2007, $2.99, 32 pages, Diamond Order Code: MAR071821; #2, June 2007, $2.99, 32 pages, Diamond Order Code: APR071877) tells the bizarre story of a tragically dysfunctional family harassed by a terrifyingly malicious clairvoyant. Through Sukamar, a young boy who delivers groceries every week to a mysterious shut-in, we learn about the strange past of Alex, the clairvoyant, and his powers, his memories, his torment. Prepare to be shocked.

… The original graphic novel Strange Embrace (Active Images, ISBN: 0-9740567-2-3, $14.95, black and white, 208 pages) is still available in limited quantities.

I don’t know what the fascination is with comics that promise how weird and freaky they are. I don’t find that at all appealing.

And I wonder how such a recoloring project works in practice. Either the art was designed for black-and-white, since that’s how it was originally published, or it wasn’t, in which case that’s kind of unfair to the original readers. But mostly, I find it weird that you wouldn’t just recolor the whole thing and put out a new book. Unless there’s concern over funding, in which case I start wondering “are we really going to see all eight issues make it out?”

I know, with readers like me, publishers can’t win.

5 Responses to “Strange Embrace Goes Back to Comics”

  1. Steve Flanagan Says:

    When I heard this news, I ran out to get the black and white edition while it was still available. Perhaps not the type of additional sale the publishers had in mind.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Can you tell me more about why it appealed to you? I’ve only gotten a fuzzy impression of the book from the PR, so I’m curious.

  3. Steve Flanagan Says:

    It has something of the macabre fascination of a Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine novel, albeit with a supernatural element too: the main characters are wicked and damaged and do terrible things to those around them, but the unravelling of their lives is quite compulsive. It’s one to read only if you are in the mood for something nasty and disturbing.

    Paul Gravett gives it a double-page spread in his book Graphic Novels, and it struck me then that the art was highly appropriate, with its sharp, jagged outlines and stabs of black. I expect colour to blunt the edges.

  4. Johanna Says:

    oooh, ick. Thanks very much for the description; I’ve been meaning to dive further into Graphic Novels, so I’ll take a look there.

  5. Richard Starkings Says:

    Johanna: All 8 issues made it into stores, and the hardcover collection has been on sale for some months now. David Hine, the writer/artist was hesitant at first about having his book coloured up, but was one over by Rob Steen’s sensitive and muted palette.

    Steve: Thanks for buying the trade — that sale rewards me as president of Active Images, the publisher of the original collection. Image is the publisher of the colour edition. I won’t tell them if you don’t.





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