Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tradio #21 - American Vampire

Hi again...been a long day, but I can't leave you hangin'!  Hopefully you all have had your fill of turkey and survived Black Friday and are ready for a new trade review.  With vampires being back in the spotlight with another Twilight movie (Look, I'm now trending!), I figured I would focus on a GOOD vampire tale this week with American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and a little known author named Stephen King and published by DC Comics under the Vertigo imprint.
Vampires.  Yeah...there is a lot of emphasis on vampires these days.  They and zombies seem to permeate popular culture right now.  Few comic books have really been able to do a lot for the whole vampire genre as of late like Kirkman's The Walking Dead has done for zombies, but American Vampire is trying to change that.  Maybe "trying" is the wrong verb here.  The book isn't "trying" to do anything.  What it IS doing is taking a fresh spin on the classic vampire tropes that started with Mary Shelley's novel so long ago and giving it a much needed kick in the tail.  The stories, and there are two separate yet intertwined stories here, of American Vampire center on a new breed of vampire born out of the dust and heat of the American West and moves that new breed into seedy 20's Hollywood.   These vampires aren't southern gentlemen or old world aristocrats or even overly stylized Jews and they most definitely do not sparkle.  What they do is set up a new paradigm for what a Vampire can be and what they can represent.  What these are, you need to read and find out for yourself, but you find are two tales with some reoccurring characters who flesh out a fresh take on ideas of love, loss, trust, friendship, and a young woman's dreams.
The writing of American Vampire is so good.  Scott Snyder is a great writer and he weaves a tight narrative that is complex, yet easy to follow.  The characters are greatly fleshed out with a lot more characterization that what you may be use to in a "horror" book.  Oh and that Stephen King guy...he just might have a future in writing.  Nuff said.  As for Rafael Albuquerque, he is like no one else.  He has his light and dark down as good as Mignola and yet he has a detailed and kinetic style that is unlike anything else out there.  He can go from the ordinary to the scary so quickly which just adds to the overall sense of horror in the book.  His designs are pretty amazing and they keep you grounded in a familiar past and yet are all their own.  Additionally, it has to be said that the coloring by Dave McCaig is pretty amazing as well.  You would think that a book about vampires would be full of red and McCaig shows restraint with this that only adds to the terror when you do see the color on the printed page.  Overall, American Vampire is excellent and you should be reading it...just don't come looking for any dreamy guys you would want to date cause you will just get your head bit off.

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