I know what you’re thinking. Oh gosh, another vampire series? But hold on to that thought and hear me out first. This isn’t your typical vampire story made for adolescent soap opera. This is a story done right–back when stories were good.
American Vampire is an award-winning comic series written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque. Stephen King has also contributed to the series by co-writing the first 5 issues. Published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics, the series is marketed towards a much matured audience. Leave no mistake. That is where we separate the men from the boys.
The first half of the series takes place in the late 1800s. Set in the Wild West, we follow the story of a character by the name of Skinner Sweet, a notorious outlaw who was accidentally turned by a band of European vampires imposing as wealthy investors. However, Sweet becomes something much different; a new breed unlike all those other vampires you’ve once read about. After all, he is American. Powered by the sun, vulnerable to gold, and a bad-ass attitude that makes even Clint Eastwood look like Regis Philbin, Skinner Sweet is sure to send chills down your spine and keep you on your toes.
The story’s other half parallels on Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress living in 1920s Los Angeles. She too becomes a part of the new strain after she was assaulted and left for dead by the very same group that brought forth Sweet’s new-found powers. Of course being the second of their kind, Pearl’s existence attracts the attention of the original American bloodsucking fiend. Quite a story in the making already, wouldn’t you say?
The artwork is also astonishing. But beware, it is rather graphic so don’t give these to your children to read. The attention to detail is extremely visually capturing. There are a lot of violent scenes–and mind you, well drawn ones–that just lures you right into the action, as if it were a Venus Flytrap wanting to mesmerize you. So if you’re tired of looking at words all the time, at the very least you can look at the artwork.
So what’s so interesting about this comic series? Sure, I could make a list such as: The characters are rounded, well developed. The direction is ingenious and hooks you in immediately. The dialogues are spot-on; there is never a dull moment. It takes place right in the dark secrets of our country’s history. And it challenges the idea of evolution.
But I’ll leave it up to you make your own list. After all, don’t want you feeling like we’re going door to door just to sell you a model vacuum. All I can suggest is that you discover things on your own and see for yourself what you’ve been missing out on. Even if you’re not a fan of comic books, don’t let the clichés cloud your judgment. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll even come to enjoy the series as much as I have and find that you’re gnawing on yourself, craving for the release of that next issue.
Ongoing since March of 2010, the series is currently at 24 issues with three hardcover collections. So go out and pick up an issue already, and you’ll be sure to forget about Edward Cullen before long.