Ryan Thomason

Graphic Novel Review: American Vampire

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I don’t know why it took me so long to pluck this Graphic Novel out of the big stack I have on my desk waiting for review. It was wrapped in plastic of all things, and the pedigree of people who worked on it are top notch. Maybe I’m just vampired out.

From the Back Cover:

Cunning, ruthless, and rattlesnake mean. Skinner Sweet has a reputation for cussedness as long as he is ornery. As the first vampire conceived on American soil, however, he’s not your usual creature of the night. Stronger, Fiercer and powered by the sun, Sweet is the first of a new breed of bloodsucker: the American Vampire.

Forty-five years after rising from his grave Sweet finds himself in 1920s Los Angeles, where the young and beautiful are drawn like moths to the burning lights of Hollywood. Something beyond simple human greed is at work here, however, as struggling young actress Pearl Jones is about to discover. When her movie-star dreams are transformed into a bloody nightmare, Sweet provides her only chance for survival as well as the power to take revenge.

After finally reading this graphic novel, I’m ashamed that I waited so long. I should have known that Scott Snyder and Stephen King wouldn’t be writing some campy vampire tale. If you like Twilight, or that Vampire Diaries show on TV, or any of the pieces of shit that passes for modern Vampire culture, this book is not for you. If you like people getting their necks torn out in a bloodsucking lust, why, you’re just in luck. Because this book does away with the popular modernization of Vampires and puts them back where they belong, as evil, human blood sucking murderers and I loved every page of it.

The book is broken up into two parts really, and each chapter you get the developing storylines from each writer before going to the next chapter. With Scott Snyder telling the story of Pearl Jones, a young woman in the 1920’s LA that is attacked by douchy Euro-Vampires and left for dead, then a Mr. Skinner Sweet, the first and only American Vampire makes her #2. It’s a story of revenge, bloody, gory revenge. For Stephen King, he tells the story of how Skinner Sweet came to be the first American Vampire, and how he takes his revenge on well…everything that is in his path, even whole towns. He’s the first Vampire born on American soil, and according to the vampire code that we learn, that every new soil that gives birth to a new breed has something different or special about them. Naturally, the old school vamps don’t really like the new American upstart, and Sweet is just fine with that, and getting his revenge on them. Both of the stories are masterfully done, and exactly what you expect from such high storytelling caliber as Snyder and King. They let Vampires be FREAKING VAMPIRES, and damn, it was so refreshing I couldn’t put the graphic novel down, and finished in one sitting.

I have to take some time to say something about the artwork of Rafael Albuquerque, and that is “Holy Crap man.” I was entranced with the artwork in this book, everything looked so beautiful and so wonderfully done. I really have to give it up to Vertigo for making such a wonderful book, from Cover, to inside flaps, and the sharp, crisp pages. It’s a top grade Graphic Novel that belongs in the collection of anybody who appreciates the true vampiric undead. For the price, you get such a high quality I almost feel like I’m ripping Vertigo off (though they send us this copy for review for free, ‘Nanner, Nanner.’) If you consider yourself a purist when it comes to Vampires, or you want to show that naive person you know what REAL vampires are all about this book is a must.

Score: $24.99/$24.99

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