Pages: 200 pgs
Finished: Oct. 12, 2010
First Published: Oct. 5, 2010
Genre: graphic novel, horror, vampires
I was eight years old the first time I saw a moving picture.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: Vampires? Stephen King? The Old West? The 1920s? Everything I love in one book. I was so there!
If you are ready for the return of "real" vampires then get ready because they have returned in American Vampire. In fact, we've got a new breed of American-made vampire that doesn't have all the same restrictions as the old European breed, one that not anyone knows the complete differences in power or weaknesses, yet.
What an absolutely fantastic volume of story, background, character and gruesome horror! Coupled with probably the best artwork I have ever seen in a graphic novel, the paintings are gorgeous and terrifying at the same time. The story is actually two separate storylines running side by side. First the present time 1925 Hollywood where the Hollywood moguls are bloodthirsty vampires feeding off wannabe actresses. The lovely, hard-working, country values yet flapper-ly independent Pearl is one of those poor souls taken advantage of but she survives, well dies, then survives with the unwanted help of Skinner Sweet to seek revenge on those who did this to her.
Skinner Sweet, himself, is the other story, written by King. Set in the late 1800s during the last days of the Wild West it tells the story of how a no good outlaw accidentally became a vampire and discovered, that as the first all-American, he was different from the rest. He could walk in the day for a start and this really irked the old Euro-vampires. One, that he had even been created, as they had agreed to only feed on the riff raff of this continent, and that he appeared to be more powerful than them. His story takes on the classic western tale of outlaw versus lawman but that tale becomes rather twisted when the outlaw is a vampire.
I read this volume quite slowly as I just didn't want the story to end and I wanted to linger on the pages. I love Pearl. She's a wonderful character, someone with high standards who is really p*ssed that this has been done to her. Even her boyfriend, who doesn't believe her at first, stays with her after he knows the truth. She is also drawn very pretty in a subtle way and I was looking forward to her going all vamp, thinking she'd be a fun vampire. You know the way Angel and Spike are still cute, even when they go all vamp? Well, uh-uh, not in this book. Going vamp is violent and ugly! Then the first time we see Skinner turn is breathtakingly hideous. There is a lot of violence and gore with these vampires and it got to the point where I sometimes dreaded turning the page. I love it! Skinner Sweet is one evil dude, but from what has been shown of him so far, I think he is going to prove to be an interesting character with more to him than we've seen so far. A gripping read and a perfect use of the graphic medium.