Tuesday, October 19, 2010

American Vampire

American Vampire by Scott Snyder and Stephen King (writers) and Rafael Albuquerque (art) (Vertigo), arrives as a near-antitode to much of the current vampire lit, as Halloween comes just around the corner.

I hadn't caught up with this Vertigo title until its recent five-issue collection here. Those a bit weary of "lovelorn Southern gentlemen, anorexic teenage girls (and) boy-toys with big dewy eyes" (as King's intro has it) in their vampire books (and shows) might enjoy this parallel tale set in both the Old West and silent-movie era Los Angeles, as Snyder (with a scripting assist from King in the "western" parts) seek to create a uniquely "American" take on this particular night creature.

Which they do in the form of gunslinger Skinner Sweet, who -- in finest American fashion -- is both bloodthirsty and psychotic, in both living an undead incarnations. Though there's also a certain method to his madness as he takes on a cartel of "ruling class" vampires, themselves from "Old Europe," who see perfect bloodsucking opportunities (literal and otherwise) in America's nascent corporate plutocracy.

And hey, the Hollywood parts -- with its tales of "B-girls gone bad" -- almost get you thinking that Nathanael West must've written a vampire tale right before he tackled that all-time Hollywood novel (which also gave us the name "Homer Simpson"), Day of the Locust.

The traffic in the denouement(s) gets a tad cluttered, but it's a compelling ride all the way through, leaving you with a nice set-up for the next arc, when a teen girl comes calling for vengeance of her own -- just as the twenties give way to the depression-era 30's.

Good reading for Halloween in any decade!

(A different version of this review appeared on Nexus Graphica)

1 comment :

Kristopher said...

Nice review. I've really been enjoying this series.