“American Vampire” by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquereque (Vertigo, 2010)

American Vampire

In a time when the idea of a vampire is seen as a hero, a character to be respected, revered, lusted after, especially if they have big dark eyes and glitter in the sun; Scott Snyder (author of Voodoo Heart) and Stephen King (his first time writing a comic book) look to bring back the kind of vampire that sent you running and screaming in fear, in American Vampire.

There are two storylines going on here in this first collected volume, one told by Snyder, one by King; both set in the past.  Snyder’s story is of 1920’s Los Angeles and the growing movie stars of Hollywood.  Pearl is a young girl looking to make it big in the movies, but at the moment is doing her best at being an extra.  Until she needs to stand in with the male lead and gets invited to one of the infamous Hollywood parties.  But the producer and others in the movie business are vampires and have other plans for Pearl, torturing her and leaving her for dead.  But a stranger finds her and turns her into a different kind of vampire; his name is Skinner Sweet.  Now Pearl has plans of revenge for these vampires who hurt her.

King’s storyline is of Skinner Sweet, in the old west; his origin story.   A criminal who is found, killed and buried, but unbeknownst to his vampire murders, he has received some of their blood and is turned himself, into a new kind of vampire.  After spending decades buried beneath the ground, he is freed to get his revenge at those who killed him.

Snyder’s idea originally, the two writers have concocted a new and terrifying world of the undead, where the average person plays a little part in the story other than a source of blood.  There are the ancient European vampires, great in numbers but vulnerable to all the known ways of their kind.  Then there is the new, “American vampire,” who thrives on the sun, is stronger and more horrifying, but has a weakness of being vulnerable when there is no moon.  American Vampire is a welcoming new tale of the undead for the twenty-first century.

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Originally written on October 26, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.