The Showtime TV series is done, after three seasons, but the story continues with Titan Comics Penny Dreadful series, written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, one of the writers from the terrific TV series. What the comic series presents, however, is a deeper origin story, more of the back story of Mina, who has been kidnapped by The Master, and the group trying to find and rescue her: Nina’s childhood friend Vanessa, her father Sir Malcolm and her husband Jonathan Harker.
Penny Dreadful #2 is mostly told as a flashback, Harker telling Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, Sembene and the rest about how Mina took ill after wandering out into the rain late one night after a mysterious dinner guest. Her illness progressed and when he stepped into the sick room with family friends Lucy and Quincey, it becomes clear that it’s not exactly a cold that she’s caught.
If you’re familiar with the TV series, you might be curious about Quincey. Inspired by the American cowboy sharpshooter Ethan, Quincey is a Texan (“not an American”) who also likes his six-shooter.
Obviously in the same universe as the show, there’s just enough difference in the comic book series to make the story fresh and interesting. The artwork by Louie de Martinis is fantastic too, fluid, dynamic and bursting off the page with its muted color palette and lively pens.
Penny Dreadful #2 also includes a short excerpt from Sharon Gosling’s fascinating book The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful, an essay on how the vampires were imagined and then created for the TV show. As it highlights, vampires have been portrayed so many times in movies, TV and stories, it’s actually quite difficult to come up with a new look. So they tapped makeup expert Mark Dudman, who created Voldemort, among many other movie creatures. It’s darn interesting reading, as is the rest of this issue!
Penny Dreadful #2, written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, art by Louie de Martinis, lettering by Rob Steen, story by Andrew Hinderaker, Chris King and Wilson-Cairns. Published by Titan Comics, July 3, 2016.