07-AUG-2011 I’ve reviewed all three issues of the IDW miniseries THAT HELLBOUND TRAIN based on the Robert Bloch short story and adapted for comics by Joe and John Lansdale with art by Dave Wachter and Alfredo Rodriguez.

ISSUE ONE

The Lansdale team effectively takes this introductory issue of Bloch’s horror short story to establish the characters of Martin, his father and the Devil/Conductor. What’s typical about the story is that it’s in the vein of the commonly used “deal with the Devil” plot. The twist is that it comes off like a Twilight Zone episode. (Read more…)

ISSUE TWO

It’s great to see a popular publisher like IDW take a risk on something that isn’t an established franchise. Bloch’s short story was known in the horror literary circles but wasn’t a household name like other IDW titles such as TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE. It’s hard to gauge how much confidence IDW had in THAT HELLBOUND TRAIN. The mere three-issue series could be due to the fact that the source material is in fact a short story; but it could also come across as conservative and non-committal. Now that a few comic readers have seen what Wachter and Rodriguez can do with established writers, it will take some of IDW’s better publicized projects to really get them out there to mainstream audiences. (Read more…)

ISSUE THREE

The early days of pulp have commonalities in protagonists that are usually men down on their luck whose lives are interrupted by luscious femmes fatales. Could Martin’s character be a twist on the legend of Casey Jones, the train conductor who lost his life saving all his passengers? Possibly, since it seems Martin is driven to save the day for all the people who readily gave up their souls. (Read more…)

Thanks to the folks at IDW for the images and previews!