THE STORY: "Mnemovore" by Ray Fawkes & Hans Rodionoff (W) and Mike Huddleston (A) — Vertigo
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A young Olympic Snowboarder named Kaley Markowic suffers a head injury during competition and develops retrograde amnesia, leaving her unable to recall her life before the accident. While she attempts to recover, Kaley and her friends are attacked by a Lovecraftian-like creature that devours memories and begins to literally erase Kaley from everyone else's memory.
Meanwhile, an ad man named Mike Neville is suffering a nervous breakdown and welcomes the influence of the creature into his life, in order to help it spread...
WHY IT WORKS: One of the most original horror comics in years, Fawkes and Rodionoff masterfully created a unique monster that doesn't simply want to kill its victims. The entire series is fraught with tension and anxiety. Outside of the creature's influence, the writers also explore the ramifications of Kaley's memory loss as even her friends try to manipulate her to their advantage.
There are also some intriguing ideas put forth about the effects of the pervasive advertisements in our society creating "an overpopulation of thought."
Huddleston turns in some of the best work of his career on "Mnemovore" with hauntingly creepy covers and an interior style that seems to invoke the best of Bruce Timm and Darwyn Cooke. His depiction of the main characters carry their own sense of reality while the creature truly looks like something beyond our world.
WHY IT DOESN'T: In Hollywood, "Mnemovore" might actually be considered too smart for its own good. It actually makes the audience think as opposed to the normal slasher or torture-porn films. For some reason, intelligent horror seems to scare movie executives.
Another potential problem is the ending, which is very, very dark and not very hopeful. There is no clear-cut victory either, which is probably the first thing that the studios would change.
HOW TO DO IT: "Mnemovore" was actually optioned by Guillermo del Toro at one point, but the film rights have apparently reverted back to the creators. Back in 2007, Kristen Bell starred in a ten minute "Mnemovore" demo reel directed by Rodionoff.
The best way to bring "Mnemovore" to the big screen would be to simply finish what they started. Even now, Bell would make an excellent choice to portray Kaley and Rodionoff has shown that he understands how to create a unique horror story. If a live-action version couldn't happen, "Mnemovore" would also make a terrific animated film if Bruce Timm and his crew at Warner Brothers animation ever decided to start making Vertigo film adaptations as well.
FINAL WORD: "Mnemovore" is an overlooked classic that hasn't even been reprinted in trade (get on that, DC!), but it has all of the makings of great horror film. Someone just needs to step up and make it happen.
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