BLOOD SOAKED PANELS – OUTCAST: Issues 1-18

Outcast-1-12Season one of the Cinemax series OUTCAST has recently come to a close and a second season is already on the way for 2017, leaving fans a lengthy void that needs to be filled. Patrick Fugit, after so many years, was finally given the task of leading man and proved to have enough charm to bring Kyle Barnes to life and maintain an interesting arc over the course of ten episodes. Some fans had already begun their start with the Image comics from WALKING DEAD creator Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta, but hopefully the series encourages fans to delve deep into the pages of what started it all.

I had read the first 12 issues prior to the show airing and was amazed at close to the material the scripts stuck to. Listening to the actors perform dialogue straight from the comics (“Do you remember solid poops?“) gave me feelings only a fanboy could comprehend and even some of the actors had an uncanny likeness to their drawn characters. With an interesting creative team and a premium network that doesn’t rely on millions of viewers, the show has great potential to just be what it wants to be without a capitalist compromise. That being said, the real question is if new fans should take the time to pick up the original comics?

The overall premise remains the same: Kyle Barnes had a traumatic childhood where his birth mother tried to kill him, but his then unknown power released her from demonic possession and is now in a catatonic state with no signs of ever waking up. As an adult, he stumbles onto his wife trying to do the same to his daughter and he frees her from her own demons, but leaving her in a physically beaten state. She has no recollection of what happened, but Kyle takes the blame and now has a restraining order against him as everyone now thinks he is the one who tried to kill his daughter and beat his wife in the process. After befriending the ever so vain Reverend Anderson, it is soon known that a mysterious stranger named Sidney has paid a visit to town and many residents are now showing symptoms of similar possessions. Sidney has a sinister agenda that involves Kyle, but the past comes back to slowly haunt everyone while a darkness settles over town.

While there are plenty of similarities between the comics and show, there definitely are some significant differences. I’m not going to spoil all the changes as itO1 leaves a sense of surprise for new fans to see what directions the two go to. Those who die in the show might not die in the comics or somehow fall into an equally fucked up scenario. Not all who are possessed play as big of a role. The TV show really succeeds in making Mildred a much more interesting character and much of that is probably thanks to TWIN PEAKS actress Grace Zabriskie. Also, Donnie’s arc gets much more screen time and more at stake on the screen, but that’s in comparison to the first 18 issues of the series. It’s up to 19 issues at the time of this writing and season one has covered the majority of the material. This makes me wonder if season two (which is already filming) is going to stray into fresh territory like WAYWARD PINES has in its sophomore season or if the writers are keeping a close relationship with Kirkman to remain close to the source. Those who survive in the comics help keep the experience fresh as you don’t feel like you already know what’s going to happen if you watched the show. Also, these arcs create interesting subplots and create a “what if?” scenario for those who might not agree with certain events of either medium.

At the end of it all, I recommend checking out the comics if you dig the show. One medium might succeed over the other (the pacing of the comics feels much faster), but if you’re like me and like the more gloomy side of horror, OUTCAST is something to venture into.