Drawing Blood #1 Review - Kevin Eastman Gives us The Story Behind The Story, Sort a...
•Brittany Peer (Colorist) • Kevin Eastman (Variant Cover)
• Kevin Eastman Studios (Publisher)
A few months ago I reviewed Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls, a one-shot clearly inspired by Mirage Studios and the original incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Drawing Blood #1 was initially released as a companion to the RRRR one-shot. It does something I've never seen in my 20+ years of reading comics. It builds a fictional setting within another fictional setting.
Drawing Blood feels like a semi-autobiographical take on Kevin Eastmans' life and career as a comic book creator and publisher. I'm pretty sure a lot of the story is fabricated as in most comic book fiction is but it would be interesting to dissect just how much of Eastman's truth is in this book.
The comic follows Shane Bookman, co-creator of the Ragdolls. The book takes place after the rights to the characters were sold and he's has fallen on hard times. It doesn't help that his partner commits suicide and leaves a 2 million debt that Shane is being held accountable for by loan sharks. What I really liked about the issue is the meta-narrative. Retroactively this comic makes RRRR better. You see the inspiration there and when reading together, it makes Drawing Blood sort of a mindfuck. At one point in the comic, you see an advertisement for the Ragdolls movie and its surreal because you're more than likely reading this book knowing the history of TMNT just how big it was at one point.
There is also a surprising amount of action here. I doubt Kevin Eastman was involved in shootouts and drug deals in the 90s but after reading Drawing Blood I'm 100% sure. There's a lot of variety in this issue and it allows Ben Bishop to show off his abilities as a storyteller. There's a fair amount of sex, violence, drugs and straight-up flashbacks to the Mirage Studio house style of art. It all adds up to a book that feels like a legit passion project instead of a cash grab.
There is a lot to love here and although it's off of the beath path Drawing Blood #1 is a solid read and when reading along with RRRR it makes an enjoyable experience even better.