Category Archives: December 1971

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 9: The Treachery of Images

“Let’s all go up to the top of the west wing and look for that missing room!”

So I think we can all agree at this point that the 1971 Dark Shadows comic strip is extremely dangerous, and must be stopped. I’ve been spending the last two weeks writing about this hazardous spin-off — it seemed like a good idea at the time — and now I’m starting to understand just what I’ve unleashed.

The Dark Shadows comic strip premiered on March 14, 1971 — and within three weeks, the show was cancelled. Then the strip just kept on going, sauntering away from this obvious patricide and looking for new worlds to destroy.

So far, the comic strip has kicked out most of the cast. It’s defanged Barnabas, turning his senseless, selfish crimes into a tepid “bite of love” that doesn’t even draw blood. It’s rewritten his never-ending war with Angelique into a failed ploy to get Barnabas to join up with Mr. Sinestra, some sea cow in a caftan we’ve never heard of. It’s even killed Carolyn’s dog.

And now it’s coming for us.

There’s only one thing that we can do — fight fire with fire, even if it’s the cool green flame of witch’s fire. We have to unwrite the comic strip, and make sure that it never exists. I am being completely serious about this.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 9: The Treachery of Images

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 8: The Ballad of Big Boy

“Was she so hysterical as to mistake a snake for a cat?”

We’re spending two weeks reading the 1971 Dark Shadows comic strip, and I know, I’m just as sick of it as you are. The thing just runs and runs, and never really gets anywhere, because the show’s been boiled all the way down to a simple, repeatable formula.

Barnabas is a vampire, Elizabeth and Carolyn are rich clueless women living in a huge mansion, and then an interloper appears — a ghost, a goddess, a werewolf, a warlock, whatever you have lying around. The newcomer puts someone in danger. Barnabas tries to fight it, and fails. Then he talks to someone, or travels somewhere, and figures out the villain’s secret weakness. Barnabas sets a trap for the baddie, waves his magic wand, and then everything is fine.

It’s an added bonus if you can connect the monster of the month to Barnabas’ past, but honestly, it could be anything. I mean, you could even do a woman who turns into a cat with snake venom on her claws. Oh wait, they already did.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 8: The Ballad of Big Boy