Publisher: First Second
Written by Jessica Able and Gabriel Soria
Art by Warren Pleece
I got to hear about this book straight from the horse’s mouth. Or from the jockey’s mouth as the case may be. Anyways in the proper words of this title, this analogy sucks. What I meant to say is that Warren Pleece told me about it, while sketching on my copy of True Faith a couple of years ago during the Comic Expo in Bristol. While Warren probably thought I was feigning interest in order to be polite, the way he pitched the story to me seemed genuinely appealing.
The book is about vampires, but not in a John Carpenter’s or Steve Niles’ kind of way, and there are no wars involving werewolves and Lycans either. In fact stripped of the vampire coating the story best resembles Kevin’s Smith’s Clerks minus the witty, sharp and hilarious dialogue. In compensation the books offer a cute coming of age/romantic story which while touching and entertaining also offers a good examination of youths stuck in a mundane routine leading them to nowhere. The authors also portray the vampires in a very humane way and they give them a function in a real everyday life context. In fact it is this fresh approach to the theme that makes this book an interesting read.
Dave Miller the main persona of the story is a loser stuck in a dead end job as a night shift clerk in a local convenience store. He has a crush on Rosa a good looking goth who doesn’t know he exists, and to make matters worse, his boss Radu has just transformed him into a vampire. Being a vegetarian, Dave refuses to embrace the vampire ethic to kill for pure blood, and consequently does not get any of the perks that supposedly come from being a vampire. This means that he is constantly bitched around by Wes his vampire nemesis.
The story here is dialogue led, and despite short patches of slow paced storytelling most of the time the book flows smoothly. The characters portrayed here do appear to be one dimensional at times, but in the end they all serve the story well. In fact the story is perhaps best summed up as a collection of set pieces leading to a focused, abrupt and extremely rewarding ending. What I particularly liked here is that the authors have avoided most of the clich’s associated with the genre and instead came up with a fresh plausible and touching story devoid of the silliness and cheesiness that Twilight the movie was soaked in.
When it comes to the artwork, Warren Pleece happens to excel in depicting dialogue led plots and in this case he enhances this reputation. The artwork is simple yet effective, and really does bring the book to life. The illustration does not intrude but supports the story, and the facial expressions here are a joy to behold. The characters are immediately recognizable and the cartoon way in which they are portrayed really makes it hard not to like them. A word of praise also goes to the colourist who did an excellent job in giving the book a vibrant and very appealing feel.
In conclusion, this may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a solid story and for a fresh take on the vampire theme, then this is certainly worth a look. At times life indeed does sucks, but not while reading this book. This I promise you.
Chris Le Galle