Saturday, January 21, 2012

American Vampire Vol. 1 by Scott Synder, Stephen King & Rafael Albuquerque

via Wikipedia
Very few people are original these days when it comes to old mythos. Rarely do I see any evolution of fantastical creatures of old lore, so it's always refreshing to see a new take on something familiar. We're in the age of the undead - be it zombies returning to pay homage to our society, or vampires representing civil movements. However, if all you're adding to a mythos is talking zombies or vampires who sparkle in the sun, then you're clearly missing the point of evolution. Rather than evolving the creatures, you're simply dumbing them down to fit your homage to nothing. You should've written fanfiction instead. Though, even fanfiction adds to the mythos rather than raping it - yes, even the homoeroticism of every fanfiction adds more to the mythology than Mormon-esque philosophy and horny teenagers.

For most of their existence, vampires have been shrouded in darkness. Very few people have attempted to change that - day-walkers weren't scary enough, or thrilling enough (or sparkly enough, apparently). They are always placed in dank, dark locations because that's how it's always been. With the obvious exception of Anne Rice's existential vampires, who seem to find sunny areas like California and Miami quite alluring, even though they still only come out at night. 

In American Vampire, writers Scott Synder and Stephen King offer us something new for us to sink our fangs in. Blending the old Euro Vampires - you know, the fancy dressed ones who hate the sun - with a "new vampire for a new century." 

Blending the last years of the Wild West with 1920s America, the story follows the origin of the American Vampire and the war brewing between the old and the new. Stephen King focuses on the origin story, following outlaw Skinner Sweet as he descends into the well-lit realms of the American vampire as the Euro Vampires stand in shock of the abomination that is their bloodline. As Skinner Sweet tears through the new the century seeking revenge, he realizes the old west he once knew is coming to an end; meanwhile, lawman James Book is hot on his trail, seeking retribution of his own and hoping to put Sweet in his grave for good. Meanwhile, Scott Synder focuses on the twentieth century vampire and Skinner Sweet creation, Pearl Jones. The ambitious young actress is lured into her grave by her fading hopes of becoming a well-known actress. It's Skinner Sweet who brings her back from the dead in hopes that she will aid him in the destruction of those who made him what he is. Pearl seeks vengeance of her own on the Euro Vampires, killing them one at a time. The war is far from over in the conclusion of the first volume, as figures from Sweet's past return to finish what Book couldn't do.

The first volume is well thought out, and the characters are amazing. The fact that it blends two of my favorite time-periods is just the added bonus. The fact that something so well crafted by Stephen King has actually reached my eyes - let's remember my love/hate relationship with the writer - gives me goosebumps and keeps me wanting more. 

Oh well. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Purchase American Vampire at [[Amazon/Paperback]] [[Kindle]] [[B&N/Hardcover]] [[Nook]]

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