In my point of view, a lot of damage has been done to the world of vampires in recent years with works in television, cinema and literature that have demystified and even whitewashed the fiction that revolves around vampire stories. In some cases not and that DNA has been respected, but the essence of this imaginary race of monsters has lost potential with stories that have little to do with what exploded in its day with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A vampire must be scary and if he doesn’t, things don’t go well. For that reason it has been a pleasant surprise to enter the world of Scott Snyder’s comic, American Vampire.
First of all, a technical section with all the necessary details about this first volume of the ECC publishing house that we are reviewing today in Libertad Digital: it contains American Vampire nos. 1 to 11 USA with a script by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, drawing by Rafael Albuquerque and Mateus Santolouco, 384-page hardcover and priced at 37 euros.
Let’s go with the analysis and start with the main argument. As always, no spoilers.
A vampire story that starts in the West
USA. The old West. In this context we find an outlaw who has everything bad and cruel that a guy of his ilk should have. Skinner Sweet is a “bastard.” There is no goodness in his acts. He is a criminal capable of anything to achieve his goal. He and his gang are fearsome. But what happens when a monster that is already human is transformed into an even bigger monster? That is the premise of this comic. Our character, for various reasons, ends up being bitten by an old-school vampire, that is, a European vampire, and with his transformation, Sweet becomes the first of this race in the United States.
Through Skinner’s bloodshot eyes, Scott Snyder will tell us the history of the United States from the point of view of vampires. We will see that the new American race has different powers and weaknesses than the Europeans. We will also enter fully into the vampire war between Europe and the United States. All this with the magnificent script by Snyder and with a Stephen King full of stories that speak of the origin of Skinner Sweet as a vampire. We will be jumping from the past to the present to see what is happening with our protagonists, their different friends and enemies and how both the vampires and the humans who fight them evolve.
Skinner is not alone and there appears the magnificent Pearl Jones
Skinner is undoubtedly the great protagonist of the work, but he is far from alone supporting the narrative. An aspiring actress named Pearl Jones will co-star in this story as she, at first a victim of vampires, and later one of the best predators of this new breed that has emerged in the United States. Vampire and vampire will meet little by little throughout the story and Snyder’s script revolves around them.
Apart from Pearl and Skinner, vital in the development of the story, we will find members of the law, European aristocratic vampires and all kinds of references to American history from the Old West to times closer to the present. This makes American Vampire an outstanding comic. Not only because we are talking about a very good vampire story, but also because within it we find a struggle between classes, between good and evil, and even stories of love and life that will be splashed by the blood of these monsters.
Snyder and King manage to form a solid, entertaining script that is very well carried between the past and the present that never lowers the bar. It starts at the top and ends at the top, and you can tell so much that they both had a great time working on it. It is a ‘melody’ that does not have moments of pause and when the refrains of these stories arrive, the vampires are unleashed. Speaking of unleashing, let’s move on to drawing.
Rafael Albuquerque marvels with his drawings
Scary. Vampires here are very scary. And that’s thanks to a drawing team led by Rafael Albuquerque and Matt Santolouco that isn’t afraid to show what a good vampire story should show. If Snyder and King’s script is outstanding, the drawing of this American Vampire is a true bestiality. They are vampires, ladies and gentlemen. There is blood, a lot of blood, and when a monster appears it has to leave you cold. Here are two examples of what I’m saying:
If the setting of the Old and Wild West is already visually great, Albuquerque’s treatment of vampires borders on perfection. Aggressive strokes, blood everywhere, cartoons that reflect the strength and voracity of their acts, action scenes, chases, scares under the sea, transformations… The complete pack of the world of vampires is in this comic. By the way, this first volume is only the first since even more volumes await us to go through the history of the United States with our fang friends.
In conclusion, this is a very complete work that treats vampire mythology with great respect and with a novel point of view. Reinvent without destroying. Change without erasing. Evolve without forgetting. American Vampire volume 1 is well worth it. If you like vampires, don’t hesitate. And if your curiosity is piqued without being adorers of these monsters, Snyder, King, Albuquerque and Santolouco present a high-level comic before your eyes.
American Vampire, the vampire comic by Stephen King, Snyder and Albuquerque