Review: American Vampire vol. 1
I’ve been on a comic book binge lately. One of the most recent newer comics I’ve read is the first volume of American Vampire by Scott Snyder (and Stephen King). This volume is a fantastic introduction and a highly enjoyable read.
American Vampire is a reaction to the recent spate of vampire fictions. From the terrifying predatory creatures of folklore and early horror, the vampire has increasingly been eroticized and moderated. The vampire has been defanged and looks for love rather than blood. This is for Snyder and King a travesty (and one I agree with). I understand why vampires as romantic partners (or sexual partners) have become popular, but I much prefer the predator to the lover.
In addition to reclaiming the vampire as monster, the series also focuses on America and its metaphoric conflict with Europe. The two kinds of vampire are essentially representative of the tropes and stereotypes of each location. The American vampires are in many ways superior to their European counterparts (save for their numbers). This can become a little jingoistic (on both sides), but it does not take away from the story as a whole. That America as a place plays such a powerful role in the series is quite refreshing.
The volume is divided into two parts, the main story line and a backup origin feature. The main story line is written by Snyder and stars Pearl Jones as the main protagonist with Skinner Sweet playing a more Puck/ Satan role. I really enjoyed this part. King handles the backup story which details the origins of the first American vampire, Skinner Sweet. King’s story is interesting if perhaps less well realized than Snyder’s story. But perhaps I much prefer Pearl Jones as a heroine to Skinner Sweet as an anti-hero.
The art work by Rafael Albuquerque is absolutely fantastic. It is almost a perfect match for the story told.
Well, that is it for American Vampire. I highly recommend this first volume.