By Cameron Hatheway
[*Obviously this is going to be a little spoilery for plot of The Strain so be warned!]
Before there was a television show, there was a comic. And before there was a comic, there was a book trilogy. But since books are comics without pretty pictures, it wouldn't make sense to compare visuals of the books to the show (that, and I haven't read the books, only the comics).
Therefore, I decided to do a little comparing of the imagery from the first episode of Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan's The Strain, which premiered Sunday night on FX, to the Dark Horse Comics adapted by David Lapham and Mike Huddleston.
Right off the bat, the tone and visuals of the first episode are very dark. That's a perfect fit with the comics, seeing how the subject matter involves parasitic vampires and not the pretty-boy True Blood and Vampire Diaries types that currently rule the television landscape.
Huddleston's art style in the comics reminds me a bit of Gabriel Bá and Eduardo Risso at times, but it's definitely his own style and extremely consistent issue after issue, series after series. While the comic doesn't serve as a storyboard for the show, some of the shots sync up perfectly from both mediums. It's not Sin City, but it was definitely entertaining to find the panels that matched the shots in the show.
The first episode alone included scenes and characters from the first three issues of the comic. When The Walking Dead first premiered on AMC, the show seemed to definitely follow the first arc of the comics before splitting-off into new directions while maintaining the essence of major story arcs every season. Will The Strain do something similar down the line, or will del Toro and company want to expand it beyond the set book trilogy?
So far FX has only ordered 13-episodes, but more than likely the show will be picked-up for a second season. To pack-in the entire trilogy in just a 13-episode season would be possible to do, but why rush greatness? In an interview with Deadline, del Toro said that the initial book can cover a season, and same with the 2010 follow-up The Fall. The Night Eternal, which concluded the series, can be broken up into two seasons, he said. There are also subplots that didn't make the book, and he's leaving room for creative detours that develop in the evolution of the series.
Just like with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, fans of the source material will be in the dark at times with new viewers for certain episodes, making it unpredictable for everyone. As long as the vampires don't suddenly become sexy to attract the teeny-bopper crowd, I'll still be faithfully watching every week.