Jeepers Creepers: The Trail of the Beast from Dynamite Entertainment features the creature from the movie series of the same name in a new setting terrorizing new main characters. The question is: how does this comic book use the different medium to bring the movie monster to life?
The first Jeepers Creepers movie was released in 2001, and its popularity allowed two sequels to be made, with the most recent — Jeepers Creepers 3 — being released in 2017. Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast was created in 2018, and the creators were tasked with crafting an entirely new story with the fan-favorite creature. The story follows Devon, a grad student working on his thesis about Aztec mythology. He travels to Mexico for more information, and during his search ends up creating a link between himself and the monster. Through the writing of Marc Andreyko, the art of Kewber Baal, and the colors of Jorge Sutil, Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast is able to use techniques unique to the comic book medium to instill fear in the reader.
The first example we can see of Jeepers Creepers: The Trail of the Beast using the comic book medium to its advantage is through the opening. After flipping through the introductory information, the reader is greeted with a scene depicting the creature crashing to the ground from the night sky, and entering a barn in search of an unknown item. Throughout the scene, there are no dialogue or speech bubbles besides grunts or background noises, and the scene helps establish a tone of mystery around the monster. The reader can see it clearly has a goal in mind but is left to wonder what exactly the creature’s motivations are. Scenes, where words are absent such as this, are unique to genres such as film, comic books, and theater, but are especially useful in comic books. Due to the fact that comic books are composed of a series of still images, it is much easier to progress plot through words rather than actions. This makes it so scenes without dialogue are few and far between in the comic books medium, and also carry much more weight when they appear. Such happens in the case of the Jeepers Creepers opening, as well as a few other instances in the story.
Another technique that is particularly notable in Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast can be seen in the dream sequences that the main character experiences throughout the story. These scenes are done as double-page spreads that have several scenes overlapping one another, without the clear borders that are usually found between comic book panels. This helps distance these scenes from reality and adds to their impact. It is also a great example of a technique specific to the comic book medium. While dream sequences are common in almost every medium, each has various techniques that are used to execute them. The ones found in Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast are beautifully executed, and it is clear to see how the overlapping panels with unique borders can only be accomplished in the comic book medium.
Whether you are a fan of the movies or not, Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast is a story worth reading. Unless you are repulsed by scenes with gore, Jeepers Creepers: Trail of the Beast is a fun read full of spectacular art and thrilling writing. It is a classic monster story that wonderfully takes advantage of the comic book medium.
Are there other comic books that have characters from films that you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!