Tag Archives: thinks

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 3: The Bite of Love

“At last, after thousands of years, I shall be in the presence of the soul of my beloved!”

I’m traveling right now, so instead of writing regular episode posts, I’m doing a special two-week series on the 1971 Dark Shadows newspaper comic strip, because it’s easier to write these on planes. You might be wondering if having a book of vampire comic strips in one hand and scribbling sarcastic jokes with the other hand would excite comment among one’s fellow passengers. The answer to that question is yes.

But the interesting thing about the strip so far is that Barnabas has been a passenger too, riding shotgun on a storyline that was entirely about other people. He coasted through the magazine publisher warlock assassin story, which really could have worked itself out without him. Basically, he had one cool villain fight scene where he was temporarily enveloped in fire-retardant fire, and besides that, it was mostly thinks monologues. For Jonathan Frid, it’s hardly been worth showing up at the newspaper for work, really.

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Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 2: A Forever Death

“Is there nothing that can stop the power of that witch’s flaming hate?”

It’s day two of our special feature on the 1971 Dark Shadows comic strip, which appeared in newspapers every day for a year, starting about three weeks before the show was cancelled. The strip stars America’s grooviest ghoul Barnabas Collins, of course, who inhabits the great estate at Collinwood with a couple women named Elizabeth and Carolyn. And that’s it for the regular cast, so they have to import characters from the outside if they want to have anybody to talk to, or — as is often the case — anybody to look at while doing a lengthy thinks monologue.

There’s a lot of thinks in this strip; for Barnabas, it’s about 50/50 between thinks and actual dialogue so far, and the scale is tipping pretty strongly in the direction of internal dialogue. If they ever filmed this story, Jonathan Frid would hardly have to remember any lines at all; he could just pre-record everything, and then stand there doing facial expressions.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 2: A Forever Death

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 1: The Tortured Undead

“I thought there were only two Collinses left. That means there are three who must be destroyed!”

Now, I know that Quentin Collins is at a particularly thrilling crisis point right now — forced to wear jewelry that he doesn’t particularly care for — but I’m afraid we’re going to have to put his problems on hold for a minute, because I’ve got problems of my own. I’m leaving the country for a conference, and I won’t have time to write regular episode posts for the next two weeks. But I can’t just jump forward into the future and leave the rest of you behind, at the mercy of gypsies.

So I’ve come up with another crackpot idea for what to do over these two weeks, namely: write about the Dark Shadows comic strip, which ran for one year, starting in March 1971. These will probably take me longer to write than the regular posts would have, but I wanted a chance to cover the comic strip anyway, and you only live once, probably.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 1: The Tortured Undead

Episode 822: A Giant Evil Force

“Are you still a zombie, Quentin?”

Against all odds, it’s still the summer of 1969, and Dark Shadows has never been more popular. Eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has transported himself back in time to 1897, where he discovers that today’s teen dream Quentin C. is a restless, shambling zombie.

Young Jamison is possessed by the spirit of Quentin, or possibly the other way around; it’s difficult to tell. To save the family, Reverend Trask tries to perform an exorcism, and then a gypsy tells Quentin’s fortune. Meanwhile, Mad Jenny finds a set of keys, while somewhere a werewolf must hurry, for darkness means death. And that about brings us up to date.

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Episode 622: Heated Arguments on Somebody Else’s Lawn

“The powers you have, they give you a certain amount of control over time and space.”

Once upon a time, there was a little lost princess…

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Episode 613: Joe Haskell Must Die

“Then why didn’t that someone give him the medicine?”

Man, after a solid week of sifting through the Danielle/Eve/Jeff/Peter boondoggle, it’s nice to get back to a simple, straightforward hypnotized rape victim flip-flop murder-revenge conspiracy. I mean, some of us still appreciate the classics.

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Episode 595: Electric Ladyland

“For a variety of reasons. All of them, I think, quite valid.”

Barnabas Collins is standing around helplessly in the Old House drawing room, constitutionally unable to take a step that will advance the storyline in any meaningful way.

Then there’s a knock at the door, and who should walk in but Leona Eltridge and a Large Teen Idol.

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Episode 430: Dark Conquest

“I can feel neither love nor hate. I feel nothing now.”

Last week, Barnabas was planning to kill his fiancee, Josette, and turn her into a vampire. Instead, she fled from him, and jumped off the cliff at Widow’s Hill to a messy death on the rocks below. Not satisfied with that level of carnage, Barnabas came up with a whole new plan yesterday — he’s going to use his powers to call Josette back from the grave.

“I have made my own dark conquest of the grave,” he said. “Hers will be next.”

Now, I know the show is called Dark Shadows, but they’re really taking that super seriously at this point. The main character has been moping around in a graveyard for weeks, and I don’t see the situation getting a hell of a lot happier. I mean, at a certain point, either your show is going to do a two-part episode at Disney World or it’s not.

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Episode 417: Too Soon

“What if last night happens all over again?”

Today’s episode begins with a reprise of yesterday’s strange anti-cliffhanger, where the psychotic monster who’s been terrorizing the people of Collinsport for the last nine months talks his best friend into driving a stake through his heart.

“No matter what you are, no matter what you done,” Ben tells the vampire, “you’ve been my friend.”

“Think of it this way, Ben,” Barnabas says. “You’ll be performing an act of friendship. My destruction will be the only way to save me, my only salvation.”

Barnabas also tells Ben to make sure he helps Vicki escape from jail. After that, Ben should take some money and start a new life, somewhere far away from here.

Ben says he’ll never forget Barnabas, and Barnabas adds, “If you do remember me — remember what was good about me, as I hope others will.”

And oh my god, can you stop micromanaging this whole experience? I’ve never seen someone backseat driving their own suicide like this.

Continue reading Episode 417: Too Soon

Episode 398: No Rest for the Wicked

“Strange things have begun to happen in this house, things that even I can’t explain.”

A seance has been held at Dark Shadows Every Day, which has suspended time and space, and sent one writer on an uncertain and frightening journey into taking the day off. Danny is playing Phyllis Wick for today, and in his place you’ll find writer, lyricist and recent Dark Shadows convert Charlie Mason

Since I am but a guest here — and have no intention of painting a target on my back like that simpering Miss Winters — before beginning to write this blog entry, I traded my immodest modern garb into something more period-appropriate. Unfortunately, since I can scarcely tell 1795 from 1975, I still may have made a misstep with my choice of bell-bottoms and a Lee Majors T-shirt. Perhaps none of you will notice…

We begin this episode with what I believe is customary — a voiceover, and some still photos from a Collinsport Board of Tourism brochure. (Its title would probably be “Fancy Places… After Dark.”)

At Barnabas’ house, Angelique is downstairs pacing. At first, it appears that she’s trying to figure out which weighs more — her hair, which is voluminous (though I guess no more so than usual, for her or Lady Bunny) or her nightgown, which has the same flow as those lead vests that they make you wear at doctors’ offices during X-rays. But then, helpfully, she think-speaks about her befuddlement over Jeremiah’s haunting.

“Why did he turn on me?” she wonders.

Sadly, no one think-suggests, “Maybe because you magically got him interested in Josette and then, almost as bad, got him shot to death.” She can’t be bothered to think about it, much less think-speak about it, for too long, anyway. She has bigger problems — like getting some shut-eye.

Continue reading Episode 398: No Rest for the Wicked