Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

 American Vampire (Volume 1)
By Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King

Synopsis: This volume follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King. Snyder's story is set in 1920's LA, we follow Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European Vampires who tortured and abused her. This story is paired with King's story, a western about Skinner Sweet, the original American Vampire-- a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before with rattlesnake fangs and powered by the sun.

My Thoughts: Twists to vampire lore can be done, as this graphic novel demonstrates over and over again. Screw diamond skin and vegetarianism, this graphic novel pits the traditional Euro vamps against the new, brash and a little trashy American breed. They can walk in sunlight, contact crucifixes and are drained of power by no-moon nights. There's raunch, revenge, power struggles and a sweet little writer who struggles to keep up. Plus, you know...Stephen King.

Black Gas
Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Max Fiumara and Ryan Waterhouse

Synopsis: A tiny little island off the east coast of America sit on a fault in the underlying tectonic plate. On a night beset by a fierce storm and an earthquake simultaneously, the fault line cracks, releasing something foul from the Earth's guts, blown across the little coastal town of Smoky Island. The only two people on the island who were outside the reach of the black gas are now trapped on a spit of rock with a population that aren't what we'd call "people" anymore. After all, they started eating each other an hour ago... and it's about to get worse.

My Thoughts: Meh. I usually adore Warren Ellis and hold him up as a personal god, but this was completely lacking his sparkling dry and twisted humour. The concept was solid, but the characters were infuriating (especially the girlfriend, oh how I hated her!) and the dialogue completely lack lustre. I really don't know what was going on in this one, but it's low on my list of recommends.

Adapted from a Stephen King short story by Marc Guggenheim, illustrated by Alex Maleev.

Synopsis: There is something unearthly and mysterious deep in Acherman's Field in rural Maine. There is a Stonehenge-like arrangement of seven stones with a horrifying EYE in the center. And whatever dwells there in that strange, windswept setting may have brought about the suicide of one man...and harbor death for the OCD afflicted "N.," whose visits to the field have passed beyond compulsion into the realm of obsession.

My Thoughts: Now this is more like it! Stephen King's short story tackling compulsion and monsters and a stone henge like formation comes to terrifying life in this graphic novel. The illustrations were a bit of a let down at times, but for the most time they did what they were supposed to...emphasise the crap out of the horror story Stephen King spun and make me terrified to turn off my light! A definite must read if you like King, supernatural tales and graphic novels.


  1. I remember reading about American Vampire a year or so ago when it was about to be released in comic book installments here in the UK. Was very intrigued by it. I also liked the fact that King liked the sound of it so much that he contacted the creator and asked if he could help out with the writing. This is definitely on my TR list. Was just waiting for it to come out in graphic novel format.

  2. Just when you think Stephen King can't be any cooler, he goes and successfully (co)writes a graphic novel! It's definitely worth a read Karen, it's a lot of fun and really well written.

  3. Oh we read and reviewed American Vampire last week! I was quite disappointed that Stephen King didn't write volumes 2 and 3 though.

  4. Yeah, it would have been great to have S.K involved for the whole series...are volumes 2 and 3 still great without him?

    S.K has just released (well in Aus anyway) an original graphic novel with his son Joe Hill. I've got a copy waiting for me at the comic store, hopefully it's as good as their individual work!



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