Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Review: SISTER MARY DRACULA by Gerry Mooney

SISTER MARY DRACULA by Gerry Mooney, 28 pp comic book; color cover, B&W interior; contains comic strip GOO AND ROO. US$3.00

Gerry Mooney has written and drawn the beginning of a graphic novel in his SISTER MARY DRACULA comic. It says "Chapter 1" right there on the cover. Gerry sets the stage for the adventures of a couple of young kids at a Catholic school (protagonist Terry Malloy, his pals Stevie and Kenny) where Sister Mary Immacula may or may not be a vampire.

Terry likes to draw. No, scratch that. Our main character Terry loves loves loves to draw. He won't go out and play with Stevie and Kenny until he finishes his drawing.

Above: page 2 of SISTER MARY DRACULA

Gerry keeps the story trained on Terry as he, in the next scene, worries to his friends about a scary encounter with SMD. But, when Stevie changes the subject, asking Terry how his drawing turned out, Terry immediately shifts into a state of excitement. It turned out great! I thought this was funny and believable. Kids can shift moods quickly.

I enjoyed the fantasy sequence (with a conscious or unconscious nod to Spaceman Spiff) when Terry rode his bike. When you first get your bike, and your parents allow you to ride it -- then your whole world gets bigger. The bike ride is a metaphor for expansion here, but the book (and this is my only serious criticism) is stifled by its length. Those 20 pages went by like a swift ride downhill on a kick ass Schwinn with trick tires and a banana seat. I wanted more.

There isn't nearly enough of the title character, but she does get talked about by the boys. She is, at least to Terry, the boogy man.

I liked the book and would like to see more. I though that the world that Gerry showed -- being a kid, playing outside with your friends, life in the 'burbs -- all rang true. The only thing is that it's a portion of a larger work, and it left me with a serious bit of the want for more story. Or, as Ulysses Everett McGill puts in OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, "One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down." This quote only makes sense if you change out "one third of a gopher" for "part of a graphic novel."

Creator Gerry Mooney is the opposite of opaque. At his site, he'll show you the Flash animation that he did of SMD (which premiered at the San Diego Comicon in 2004), as well as tell you how he draws the comic.

I look forward to SMD #2.

UPDATE: The Flash animation of SISTER MARY DRACULA was completed in 2001 and shown at the San Diego Comicon in 2004 (not at the 2001 Con as I originally wrote). I've corrected the review above.

The comic book has 24 interior pages. I traditionally count the front and back covers, as well as interiors, since in many cases there is content there. That's why I note that it is 24 pages in length.

My thanks to Gerry for these corrections/clarifications.

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