Supernatural Law the Movie; Mavis #5

Just out is Supernatural Law Secretary Mavis #5, a one-shot giving the popular supporting character her own focus. It’s refreshing to see her return, since her last issue was five years ago, and I’ve missed her.

Mavis #5 cover
Mavis #5

In this story, “Weird Eye for the Normal Guy”, three ghosts are being sued. They promised to teach someone how to be scary, and he’s dissatisfied with the results. But the real story is how Mavis is going to balance her support of the case, the chance to get some long-delayed time with her boyfriend, and the obligation to attend a friend’s birthday party. By the end, the elements have interacted in surprising ways (some would say coincidental, although the author addresses that by having a character remember the warning to “not let any strange coincidences throw you”) , and everything’s been tidily resolved. As is the theme of these stories, we’re reminded that humans can be the biggest monsters of all.

This is the first time that a story that first appeared on supernaturallaw.com has been transferred to the comics. Knowing that explains why most of the pages divide neatly along a horizontal axis; it’s an elegant way to move from screen to page. Supernatural Law resembles a comic strip much of the time, anyway, with clean lines and distinctively recognizable characters. It’s dialogue-driven, either for exposition or gags, but the layouts are quite varied, with differences in backgrounds, gesture, and framing. It’s a comfortable read, a pleasant change from other comics that pride themselves on being excessively challenging, disturbing, or emotionally involving.

The cover by Bill Galven is a Little Lulu homage. The back cover is by Fred Hembeck, a drawing that reinforces the ghosts’ resemblances to Casper’s Ghostly Trio, although these haunts are much more mild-mannered.

Supernatural Law the Movie cover
Wolff & Byrd the Movie

The explanatory author’s notes address several points, including plans to put out more Supernatural Law material in the coming year. That’s a good thing. The only release last year was Supernatural Law: Wolff & Byrd the Movie (part of a series of issues that were more prominently labeled with titles instead of issue numbers, to overcome resistance to high-numbered indy comics, a tactic that won’t be used in the future).

In that issue, the two lawyers go to the West Coast to consult on a case in which two newly rich movie producers are suing because the ghost in the haunted mansion they bought isn’t high-profile enough. (How Hollywood!) While they’re there, Wolff & Byrd find themselves viewing part of a proposed movie based on themselves — drawn in first Sin City, then romance comic style!

It’s playful and funny with the homages. In addition to seeing those odd takes on the leads, it’s refreshing to see Alanna relaxing… in pigtails, no less! It’s easy to assume that the characters’ frustration with Hollywood not “getting” them might be shared by the author, given that there’s been an option for a movie for years now, but no movement apparent to outsiders. That may be going too far for what’s an entertaining yarn about sending beloved characters to Tinseltown.

Find out more at the publisher’s website. Complimentary copies for this review were provided by the publisher.

Update: This interview with author Batton Lash covers the series history, his approach to different media versions, his plans for the future, and his other work.

Similar Posts: New Mavis Issue § Mr. Negativity and Other Tales of Supernatural Law § Tales of Supernatural Law § Sonovawitch! and Other Tales of Supernatural Law § The Werewolf of New York: A Supernatural Law Book


4 Responses to “Supernatural Law the Movie; Mavis #5”

  1. Jackie Estrada Says:

    Thanks for the great review, Johanna! FYI, the next issue of Supernatural Law (#45) will be out in June. It’s the crossover no one ever expected: Wolff & Byrd and the Toxic Avenger!

  2. James Schee Says:

    Yay, Mavis!! When I get the time and the money I’ll have to see about ordering this from their site.

    I’ve always loved the Mavis character, and it just seems like a long time since I’ve read about her or Wolff & Byrd. (I think the last one I read was about Vampire kid)

  3. Jackie Estrada Says:

    James:
    You can always read stories for free online at http://www.supernaturallaw.com

    “The Vampire Brat” goess up through Supernatural Law issue #29, and we’ve published up through issue #44 plus a couple of other Mavis’s and a few other things, so needless to say you are way behind!

    Jackie E.
    http://www.exhibitapress.com

  4. The Night Owls » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] of the strips are single-panel gags playing off the premise (which reminded me at times of Supernatural Law), but relatively quickly come continuing stories, as when Roscoe’s sister has to be stopped [...]

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