Saturday, October 31, 2015
Reader's Diary #1208- Darren Shaw (writer), Takahiro Arai (art): Cirque du Freak, Volume 1
Actually, it's not that freaky. But freaky enough, I suppose, for some harmless entertainment.
Originally a novel series by Irish author Darren Shaw, the manga version comes as the result of a contest in which Takahiro Arai won the rights to draw the manga version. Apparently it was also a movie starring John C. Reilly in 2009 but I have no recollection of that.
Based on the first volume, I'd have to question if they weren't being a bit ambitious to think this story would need a movie. For a title that promises a circus full of freaks, it's not exactly as shocking or compelling as it might appear. The freaks are what you'd expect, for the most part. The catch is that one is a vampire.
Stephen, one of two boys who have snuck out to see the show, realizes that a particular spider-training freak, Larten Crepsly is a vampire, and desperate to become one himself, Stephen pleads with Crespsley who decides he's unworthy. The other boy, Darren, however (yes, the author named him after himself), is deemed worthy. Instead of a freak-show story, the story quickly becomes a generic vampire assistant story. Also unpredictably, this causes friction between the two boys. About the only fascinating and more unique thing so far is Darren's pre-occupation with spiders.
Likewise Arai's artwork, while interesting in the way that I find most manga interesting (i.e., how different it is than most North American comics), is no more ground-breaking than the plot.
All that aside, I haven't read a vampire story in ages and I was in the mood for it. Generic or not. Plus, I think there's potential, some seeds sown, that might allow the series to veer into more uncharted waters later on. Sowing seeds, uncharted waters. Yes, I'm in a mixing my metaphors sort of mood today. Freaky.