Repo!'s Terrance Zdunich - Mother's Day
The Crowgrrl can’t stop Ravin’ about the excellent comic series by Repo! The Genetic Opera mastermind, Terrance Zdunich – The Molting! Regular readers might remember that I previously reviewed the first four chapters of this haunting saga. The sordid tale continues in the fifth chapter: Mother’s Day.
The synopsis on the back cover does indeed whet the appetite: “It’s Halloween in Anaheim…but the real witches, vampires, & ghosts materialize when some unsuspecting trick-or-treaters knock on the Pryzkind family’s front door.”
Before we get into this edition, here’s a little refresher for those of you who caught the previous review, or an intro if you’re new to this tale.
We are given a unique and oftentimes violent look inside a dysfunctional (OK, not only Dysfunctional, but also Dat-Functional, Dose-Functional, and even DemOther-Functionals) Californian family – a glimpse so rare that no outsiders other than maybe resident cockroaches hiding in the shadows are privy to. Set in Anaheim circa the early ‘90’s, it explores the Pryzkind family’s roots, secrets, and unconventional but gripping bonds – mainly through the experiences of teenage Joseph. But the story is told in such a way that the reader actually CARES for this kid, and become concerned for his future. This is an extremely well-told tale!
Besides the aforementioned Repo! The Genetic Opera, writer/illustrator Terrance sits on other such laurels as having done the storyboards for such films as Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles, Into the Wild, and What We Do Is Secret (biopic about punkers The Germs). He also has a series of online vignettes called The Tutor – a disturbing series of art lessons with a murderous bent.
Joining him on this labor of love (which Terrance is self-publishing and promoting) are designer/letterer Oceano Ransford – who is an entertainment industry graphic designer who has worked on Fight Club, Black Dahlia, Monk, Medium, Bones, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and also did opening credits and t-shirt logo for Repo! – and colorist Molly Rodman. Brian Johnson (an artist for film, tv, animation studios in Los Angeles who has worked with Warner Brothers, Sony, HBO, Fox, and others), who did the coloring for the first four chapters, did the front cover coloration.
In Mother’s Day, it’s definitely apparent that matriarch Susie is not a contender for Mother of the Year. Far from it! The recurring admission that she “hates kids” makes you wonder why she has two of her own. Poor Joseph, in one breath she’s complimenting him for being so smart, while in the next she complains about the pain in childbirth of his head being too big, and she didn’t want kids to begin with. Not a very nurturing attitude at all – the reader worries about how this is going to affect the kid.
Meanwhile, the roaches have taken over the Pryzkind household, laying claim to all the food in the cupboards. As Susie sits with her ever-present mug of liquor, Joseph and his brother’s girlfriend can’t find so much as a bowl of cereal without the roaches infesting it. Joseph suggests that Susie invest in a bug bomb or two, which she does to hazardous consequences!
We also get deeper into the minds of some of the characters surrounding Joseph – he and Trevor’s girlfriend go to a local fast food Taco restaurant when they couldn’t find food in the Pryzkind household, and he learns her backstory for the first time. We also revisit Susie’s past through more flashbacks about life with her brother after their parents died, and before her brother was killed.
Pure psychodrama! Just because there’s not a lot of action doesn’t mean it doesn’t make the adrenaline flow. There is a chill going down the spine as you worry for Joseph’s future. You have a sense that this kid has enough moxy to not only survive but triumph somehow, despite the overwhelming obstacles he faces. I can’t wait to sink my fangs into the next edition!