The Lady digs American Vampire

Scott Snyder and Stephen King make vampires badass again! Fucking thank you!

I have a beef with this Twilight bullshit.  Namely, everything about it.  The books are terribly written, the movies terribly acted, the story transparent and hopelessly flawed.  But beyond that, it’s ruining vampires.  A horrific creature of legend that’s been scaring kids (and adults) shitless for the better part of a few centuries has, in one fell swoop, become a sparkling sissy, the darling of 14-year-old Mormons everywhere.  This will not do.  THIS. WILL. NOT. DO.

Enter the King.  If anyone is going to be pissed about the death of the evil undead, it would be the guru of modern horror fiction, Stephen King.  Teaming up with newbie Scott Snyder (who, in his own right, had a great short story collection and a stint at Marvel under his belt already), they introduced American Vampire.  I stumbled across a blurb about it on the internet a few weeks before its release, and was sold on this quote from Snyder:

“So part of the point of American Vampire is to make (vampires) scary again. In the original ads for the series, we wanted to do pictures of Skinner standing on a heap of dead old-fashioned vampire bodies, grinning, all bloody with smoking guns in his hands. And the tagline was ‘I don’t fucking sparkle.’ We thought about using another that said: ‘This ain’t your little sister’s vampire.’ The idea was that American Vampire is not a pin-up. When (Skinner) changes into a vampire, he’s fucking scary. You don’t want to kiss him.” 

I said (out loud, I believe), “well thank god!”  And as soon as I could, I snagged up the first two issues.  A few moments before opening the cover, I was filled with dread.  What if it didn’t deliver?  What if I didn’t like it?  What if they just weren’t scary enough?  I pushed hesitantly through the first few pages.  Then I got to this:

And I giggled with glee and I ran and showed my husband and I said “HA!  That’s a scary-ass vampire, bitches!”  And I was happy. 

The story itself is intriguing as well.  It follows one man, Skinner Sweet, through two different timelines.  But of course, he’s not an ordinary man.  In one thread, set in 1920s Los Angeles, we follow budding actress Pearl through her trials (see above) after running afoul of some very nasty Hollywood moguls.  The other line chronicles Sweet’s origin in the late 1800s as a different breed of vampire, which seriously pisses off the old wampyr clique that came over from Europe to rule the Old West.  He’s got some glorious panes dedicated to his gory casualties, and his sarcastic smartass attitude is well-written, never feels campy.  He’s not someone you really want to cheer for, though; while yes, he is fighting some really bad dudes and having his vengance, he also does create a fair helping of his own mayhem and chaos.  Slaughtering a town full of innocent people is a roaring good time for him.  This is no “murderous creature with a heart of gold” story.  This is a plain old murderous creature tale, and King has a great time making Sweet out to be truly terrible. 

Pearl, on the other hand, is a little more relatable, easier to root for, in my opinion.  Like Sweet, she didn’t ask to be turned.  And like Sweet, she’s out for revenge.  Maybe because she’s new to the game, maybe because she was a nice person to begin with (where, as far as we can tell, Sweet’s been an asshole his whole life), for some reason she does garner a bit more sympathy.  I personally love to see her fangs come out, to watch her kick some serious ass and rip a guy’s face right off.  I was pissed when she was betrayed.  I’ve read a few reviews where guys (yep, all guys) say that she’s just a placeholder, she doesn’t draw you in as much…I won’t accuse anyone of sexism, and I likewise won’t say that I feel compelled to like her simply because I’m a chick, but I do think it’s cool to see a sweet little girl shred someone’s jugular and shove a stiletto through a guy’s eye. 

The art throughout the series, penned by Rafael Albuquerque, is at times terrifying, which makes me even happier.  It’s definitely dark, capturing the tone rather well, and some of the gore is just terrific.  Next time you’re out picking up a few rags to read over, grab some American Vampire.  And you’re welcome. 

Issues 1-4 are out now, #5 hits stores July 28.

lady b

great blog, t. Can’t wait to check this out x

Posted July 04, 2010 04:07 pm
Austin Books Sidekick Store Final Days
Located at 5400 North Lamar here in sunny Austin (formerly Laboratory Computers), the Sidekick Store has become the clearing house for Austin Books' overwhelming amount of back issues.
Noboru Iguchi returns to Fantastic Fest
... a movie about parasite ass zombies is pretty much right up my alley and Zombie Ass will be making it's World Premier at Fantastic Fest this year...
Fantastic Fest Announces Sell-Out!
Fantastic Fest almost sold out - Daytime badges still available.