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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Frost (Horror) (Graphic Novel)

by Kevin VanHook

Publisher: Caliber Press (1990)

Softcover, 150 pages

Here’s another little blast from the past that many people living in the 80s might not have been exposed to. Kevin VanHook may not be one of the superstar names associated with the comic book world, but he’s been involved in it, one way or another for decades. Jack Frost (later called simply Frost when Caliber picked it up) lasted two issues with Amazing Comics- a short lived publisher that put out titles like Ex-Mutants and so forth. Caliber Comics- known for putting out my favorite zombie comic, DeadWorld- released a Frost one shot and several short stories featuring the character popped up in several other comics. All of these are collected here.
The main story revolves around the person of Frost, a grizzled veteran and mercenary (shades of Jon Sable), who becomes wrapped up in a supernatural event when a good friend becomes a vampire. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from here. Now the interesting thing is that after this first outing, all supernatural elements drop from future stories. Apart from his bizarre colleague Micah, an elderly man who seems to know more than he should, the stories become your standard action fare. Bang, bang. Not a good move, considering how many of these types ended up in the ashbin, especially in 1986 when the book was first published. The Punisher being only one still around.

This was not the end for the character, however. Two years after this book, Frost appeared again in what was supposed to be a four issue mini-series called Frost: A Dying Breed. Like the short stories and one-shot this had no supernatural elements and dealt solely with Frost’s bad memories of Vietnam and how his trauma has affected his current life. But this was the mid-nineties and the indy market crashed, leaving Frost out in the woods.
He wouldn’t show up again until, the VanHook resurrected him during his time on the Valiant comic uber-violent hero, Bloodshot. This marks his last appearance in comics, but not in fiction. In 2004, VanHook wrote and directed a film, Frost: Portrait of a Vampire. The screenplay is obviously based on the first two issues in this comic, and like you, I never heard of this film at all. But through the magic of YouTube I have placed the trailer below.
Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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