American Vampire—Volume 1

american vampire volume 1 cover trade paperback tpb
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

Fun '20s Hollywood story

I like the Hollywood story more than the Stephen King backstory and wish the backstory had just been mixed in

 
Comic Info

Comic Name:  American Vampire

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  Scott Snyder/Stephen King

Artist:  Rafael Albuquerque

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2010

american-vampire-#3

American Vampire #3

Reprints American Vampire #1-5 (May 2010-September 2010).  Skinner Sweet is a bit of a bad egg.  He’s a crook and criminal and not above killing children.  Unfortunately, Sweet has become something far worse.  When he comes in contact with vampire blood as he’s dying, Sweet is reborn as something new…an American vampire with different abilities compared to the vampires of the old world.  Sweet is still out to raise Hell and that includes in 1920’s Hollywood where he creates a new vampire named Pearl who is seeking revenge of her own.

Written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, American Vampire—Volume 1 is a DC Comic under the Vertigo imprint.  The series was well received upon its release and was the winner of the Eisner Award for Best New Series.

American Vampire is a strange series and this volume is an even stranger format.  Stephen King writes his first scripted comic for the first five issues and gives the background history of Skinner Sweet while Snyder’s story compromises an adventure in 1920’s Hollywood.  King’s writing almost came by accident in that he just asked if he could write for the comic and of course it was approved (who’d turn him down?!?)  Though I enjoy Stephen King, I much preferred the Pearl sections of the story and almost wish Sweet’s storyline had been included throughout the series…maybe as flashbacks.

american-vampire-#5

American Vampire #5

What is interesting about this comic is that as of now, Sweet is pretty much out-and-out evil.  In the flashback segments of the story, he kills a three year old (pre-vampire), poisons a Pinkerton agent’s wife (pre-vampire), slaughters a town in his way (vampire), and transforms an honest man into a vampire just to see him squirm under the hunger.  He isn’t the vampire with the heart of gold as Hollywood often paints vampires nowadays.  He does end up aiding Pearl in a sense, but I also feel that his help had some darker purpose.

This story in particular is interesting to me in that I like old Hollywood.  It becomes an almost All About Eve style story with Pearl being the victim of a bigger plot.  I don’t know what the future holds for Pearl’s character, but I hope that despite an apparent “happy ending”, that she returns in future storylines.

I find the art good, but not great.  Rafael Albuquerque’s composition and designs are nice, but I almost wish it were a bit grittier.  I love the covers (which are also by Albuquerque), and I think it is because they are very minimalistic (almost like Stray Bullets)…this series might benefit from being a stylized black & white with hints of color throughout.

American Vampire—Volume 1 is a quick interesting read.  It isn’t my favorite title, but has got me curious to read more.  Snyder in recent years has proven himself as one of the big up-and-comers in comics, and it is good to see some of his non-superhero work.  American Vampire—Volume 1 is followed by American Vampire—Volume 2 which collects issues #6-11.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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