During SDCC, Titan Comics revealed the first title in its collaboration with Hammer Film Productions: a miniseries entitled The Mummy. Peter Milligan (2000 AD, Hellblazer) is the writer, while Ronilson Freire (Heavy Metal, Doctor Who) takes artistic duties.
Hammer made a total of four Mummy films between 1959 and 1971, but the comic’s plot synopsis indicates that Milligan is not adapting any of them. Instead, the miniseries appears to be an original story inspired by the recurring themes in Hammer’s Mummy films:
For 2000 years the Sect of Anubis have prolonged their life spans through human sacrifice and the enslavement of an Egyptian High Priestess cursed to walk the afterlife for all eternity.
On one night every 30 years the Sect must offer up a human vessel to house the spirit of the priestess Nebetah so that they can kill her and drink her blood, thus granting them immortality. But this year they have chosen the wrong vessel and she’s not going willingly…
The miniseries will not be Hammer’s first entry into the comics world. The House of Hammer magazine, which was published under multiple titles during the 1970s and 1980s, ran comic adaptations of various Hammer films alongside new stories that continued the adventures of the studio’s monster-hunting heroes.
It is questionable whether such a direct approach would work today, of course, given that Hammer’s classic horror films were rooted so specifically in their era.
However, the current incarnation of the company – revived in 2007 after decades of dormancy – is not afraid to put modern twists on the old favourites. Hammer’s current publishing line has issued new novelisations of past films, updated by authors Guy Adams and Shaun Hutson. The upcoming comics line, which was initially announced last year, appears to be taking a similar approach.
The Mummy series has already shown itself to be surprisingly adaptable. The 1959 Hammer film was itself a composite remake of Universal’s Mummy cycle, which lasted from 1932 to 1944 before being parodied by Abbott and Costello in 1955. Hammer followed their version with The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Shroud and Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, each of which was a self-contained story; the last was an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel The Jewel of Seven Stars.
Universal then rebooted The Mummy in 1999 as an action-comedy franchise starring Brendan Fraser. Another reboot is due for release in 2017.
Hammer and Titan’s The Mummy #1 will be published this November. Which monster will the new comics line resurrect next? Dracula? Frankenstein? Carmilla Karnstein, perhaps? Or will Hammer throw us for a loop and reboot On the Buses?
Only time will tell. For now, check out John McCrea’s cover and the sample pages by Ronilson Freire: