Tuesday, September 3, 2013

American Vampire- Graphic Novel Review

American Vampire, Volume 1, by Scott Snyder, and Stephen King, and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque

Book Description:
"From writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire – a more vicious species – and traces the creatures' bloodline through decades of American history.

 Snyder's tale follows Pearl, a young woman living in 1920s Los Angeles, who is brutally turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European monsters who tortured and abused her. And in King's story set in the days of America's Wild West, readers learn the origin of Skinner Sweet, the original American vampire – a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before. 

Don't miss out as Snyder and King set fire to the horror genre with this visionary, all-original take on one of the most popular monster stories!"


Angie's Review:

This was a first for me. Not graphic novels, or Stephen King, of course, or vampire horror...nope. This was my first ever Kindle edition of a graphic novel or comic. So not only do I want to talk about this work, but discuss the pros and cons of  reading a work like this on an e-reader.

First the book itself- Wow. There's a great story happening here, and I would expect no less from Snyder and King. Snyder had written for Marvel and DC Comics, and Stephen King is the "Master of Horror," so you know this is going to be well-written. They don't disappoint. 
Volume 1 is focused on Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones. Skinner is a robber and murderer, who is turned into a new breed of vampire in the days of the wild west. He is chaos incarnate- a force of destructive power, unleashed on the old-fashioned vampires of the European bloodlines and any humans who stand in his way. Pearl is a woman of her times. She is independent and determined to make her Hollywood dreams come true. She is willing to work her fingers to the bone if it means that she can do it all on her own. But, she attracts attention from the wrong sort of folk, and soon she has been turned into a monster she never could have imagined.

What I really love about the characters, is how they embody the time periods they are from. Skinner is a great representation of the lawless feel of the old west, while Pearl is a woman just beginning to find her true power in a decade that is characterized by women who found their independence from the societal norms of the past. Great stuff, that. 

The illustrations are great quality, and fit with the story very nicely. Rafael Albuquerque is a talented guy. My favorite panel, of course, is when you first see Skinner burst out of his coffin- underwater! What a great scene.

The novel IS extremely violent and gory, though. I would think that would go without saying, considering the content, but I feel like I should mention that this really isn't something I'd hand to a kid under 13. Not only is there extreme violence, but there are moments of partial nudity- mostly exposed breasts, and there are curse words. Use your own judgment about whether or not you want to read something like that, and/or let your teenage kids be exposed to it.

Now- about reading a graphic novel on Kindle. 
Things I like- I literally saw this on Goodreads, and thought, "Hmmm. I'd like to read this. I'll pop over to Amazon and see if you can download it." And in about one minute, I had my book. Yee haw, impulsiveness! Second, the formatting works well. Reading this feels just like flipping the pages of my very own in-real-life book, BUT I have the option to zoom in on panels if I want to see them larger. That's pretty cool. 
Downside- I can't see how this would work well on a standard kindle- the kind that are in black and white. I read this on a Fire HD, so I had color, and nice resolution. If don't have a Fire or some other tablet, I wouldn't recommend the e-book version of this. Go get the physical book. The second downside, is something that I care about, but I don't know how important it is to other people- I go to comic conventions whenever possible. I love to take things to get signed by authors and illustrators, and I just cannot do that with a digital copy. I mean, duh. If any of these folks show up at a local con any time soon, I have to go buy a second copy. It may be a silly thing, but if you're like me and you LOVE your comic book collections, you want that real, signed copy. Plus, if we don't shop from those local comic book stores, there won't BE any more of them. I would hate to see them go the way of other book stores.

So, my take is, this is a great horror comic. I like it on the Kindle version, but I would probably prefer an actual hard copy. I love technology, I really do, but some things just make me happier if they are old-fashioned.

Buy this on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/American-Vampire-Vol-Scott-Snyder/dp/1401229743

OR, If you are in the Tucson area, why not check out Heroes and Villains! 

Or check out your local comic book store where you live and support a small business!

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