Saturday, 12 April 2014

Vampires In America

Despite being huge into comics and the mythology/culture that follows it, I don't read as many comics as you might think. When I do, I tend to focus on dark graphic novels like Watchmen or The Killing Joke. Something that will revolve around something I like, but stick with me and make me shudder a little.

So a graphic novel series about vampires? Color me excited! I started reading the American Vampire series by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque a couple years ago, and have been addicted to it ever since. The novels were created as a selection of short stories that mainly follow an aspiring actress turned vampire named Pearl (who only gets more badass as the series goes on), and wickedly fun Skinner Sweet, the original American Vampire who won't leave the West behind.

Volume one, complete with Stephen King!

My favorite cover, volume 5.

As the series goes on and times change for the vampires, we're introduced to other characters like Felicia Book and my personal favorite, Travis Kidd, who wears a leather jacket, sunglasses, and fights with a samurai sword. Oh yeah. He's that awesome.

I recently finished volume six of the American Vampire series, and while each story was great and really added to the mythology, it didn't seem to progress from the fifth volume like I'd hoped. Volume five had a wild cliffhanger and I wanted to see it continued, whereas volume six is more a collection of other stories. That being said, this collection of shorts did highlight one of my favorite aspects about the series: The world's history with these vampires.

The cover for volume six, which was a lot harder to find than I imagined.
The novel starts off with The Long Road To Hell, a dark story about two vampire lovers meeting Travis Kidd. After that, the book progresses all over the world and time, showing how different cultures and people dealt with the vampires. There's everything from a Native American tribe set on exterminating the monsters, an axe wielding Canadian helping a child escape, to Skinner Sweet in the 1920's trying out the movie business.

My favorite stories were The Long Road To Hell and Essence of Life, a short story about Hattie Hargrove. I'm not exactly a fan of Hattie (read the series and you'll know why), but her story was a brutal one that stuck with me, especially at the end when everything came full circle.

The artwork and storytelling is as strong as ever, and the vampires as savage as they get. You haven't seen fangs and claws until you've seen what these vampires carry around. American Vampire is one of the few books series that I read where I can't wait to have it in my hands so I can dive into it. As soon as I was on the bus going home, I opened the plastic and started reading, not caring at all about all the weird looks I was getting. It's a fun, nasty new take on the vampire mythology and I recommend it to anyone who likes American history and vampires. Think you know what it's like to be a vampire in the States? Think again.


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