During my freshman year of college, I went through a mini crime phase; I read books like The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Long Goodbye, and a bunch of the Parker graphic novel adaptations. It was during this stint that I picked up The Killer Inside Me. The stark telling of such a cold, brutal subject is something I vividly remember even now years after I’ve read it. The source material dissects the personality of Lou Ford right down to the bone. Uncompromising and graphic, the book is famous for a reason. Sadly, the comic adaptation falls short of the source material. In its first issue, the creators dampen the edge of Lou Ford, and while the comic isn’t a total loss, the result is disappointing. Before I get into what I disliked about the issue, I’m first going applaud the choice of the creators to avoid one of the mistakes made in a previous adaptation. In 2010, a movie adaptation of The Killer Inside Me made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. It was met with poor reviews, citing the portrayal of violence toward women. The opinion of most critics was that the violence was gratuitous and graphic to the point of excess. The comic (at least in this issue) doesn’t fall into that trap. There are a few panels where violence is shown, but the creators do not linger on it. And while this issue does not contain the most violent parts of the story, I believe the creators do have the intention to treat the book as an analysis of the mind of a sociopath. Which is where I believe the real story can be found.
I can tell that Devin Faraci is trying to do good by the source material, but because of the way this issue is structured he falls short of conveying Lou Ford’s true menace. In the novel, we have a lot more time to get to know our subject, but in this series, Faraci is given one issue to convey this manipulative killer. This is simply not enough time. He has to do in 32 pages of comic, what is done in around the same amount of pages in a novel.
But Faraci pacing isn’t the major problem with the issue. The weakest part of the book comes in the form of inconsistent art. Vic Malhotra draws a decent Lou Ford, but there are more than a couple close ups and mid-range shots where the characters look stilted or forced into a pose. Jason Millet’s inking is also suffers from the same inconsistencies. In some panels, he creates a very effective mood of foreboding, but there are panels where the texture of the characters faces and backgrounds appear to be nowhere near his capabilities.
There is definitely effort here. You can see it in the writing as well as the art, but sometimes for one reason or another the end product does not live up to what we would have liked. As I said earlier, the creators make an attempt at respecting the source material, but in the end, they just can’t seem to squeeze enough of the story into the issue.
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The Killer Inside Me #1 Writer: Devin Faraci Artist: Vic Malhotra Colorist: Jason Millet Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Format: Print/Digital