Friday, October 24, 2008

Collection Spotlight: 30 days of Night

For the most part through Halloween, we’ve covered mostly Zombies. But there’s another franchise of horror monsters that I love and enjoy seeing bite and infect people. The vampire. It’s no secret the Dracula made the image of the vampire popular, but since the glory days of the 1930’s and 40’s, Vampires have never been the same. Their images have constantly been changed around from suave and romantic creatures, to beat like and horrific in every way.

Then comes long 30 days of Night, a graphic novel that begs the question, why can’t they be both? Who says a vampire can’t have a werewolf like hunger and instincts, but retain its humanity and thought process? That is the main selling point to 30 days of night, and that’s why we’re brining it up to help celebrate the Halloween season.

Written: Steve Niles

Art: Ben Templesmith

Story comments: really, the story of 30 days of Night is pretty simple. In Barrow Alaska, it’s 30 days of night and the people have no connection to the outside world for this month. But suddenly, vampires attack in order to take advantage of no sunlight. Our main characters are husband and wife sheriff.

Really, it follows a simple Horror plot, but does well not to play on any of the annoying clichés that have plagued current day horror. We have a happy couple, our main characters and saviors of the story, a big bad vampire as well as his horde of minions, and lots of humans ripe for the killing.

One thing I have to give credit for is the character of Vincente. Whereas Marlow is an all right vampire villain, Vincente steals the show and if anyone deserved their own spin-off prequel series, it’s him. For one, the way he’s drawn just reminds me so perfectly of Nosferatu, a wicked shadow of death and evil. His personality, what little we see of it, is very wicked and sick and I enjoyed every moment he was in.

The character of Eben is good hero for our story; he ditches the “Super human without a cause” that most stories have. You know what I’m talking about. The incredibly, insanely, badass hero who just annihilates everyone and everything in his path to save the people in danger. Eben is nicely humanized, without making him a dumb moron.

Stella is another great character, but we don’t get enough of her. Though she gets her time in the sun come Dark Days, her character still leaves more to be desired of a protagonist hero.

I don’t want to make excuses here, but there really isn’t too much to talk a bout when it comes to 30 days of night. It’s a 3 issue series as it is, and I can’t necessarily stretch it out with every little twist and turn, as that’s more of what Comic Report Card’s are for. Rather here I’m talking about important moments and the story in general.

The final battle between the vampire-ified Eben and Vincente is done well. Eben doesn’t start out as a Demi-god from the start, which I appreciated on Niles part. He gives a nice build up to the quick, but satisfying conclusion for our hero. Also, the narration was priceless.

I enjoy the storyline and its characters, there’s a great build up and some really wicked moments, but it’s not that much really and there’s some undeniably weak moments that I’d rather not cover, just for the sake that it would either spoil them or if you’ve read this, you know damn well what I’m talking about.

Art Comments: I’m a big fan of Ben Templesmith. That very much should be clear. Though as much as I love his current work (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is nothing short of brilliance personified) I find myself rather flustered over his previous work, with Hellspawn, and 30 days of Night.

Here, his style seems to go back and froth from traditional goodness such as his vampires, to an odd….almost photo-realistic style. It’s confusing and I didn’t appreciate it. But then comes moments where he writes, yes, he actually writes in thin ink in his art. Such as the reveal of Vampire Eben to Vincente he writes “Badass time” thinly. It’s a fun little nugget like that which boosts the art.

Of course I have to talk about his vampires. Their perfect blend of wicked shadows and monstrous beings. Templesmith creates a haunting and great image of the Vampire.

Final Comments: While as much as I personally enjoy this story, it’s faults have to be taken for account for, and really, the series didn’t get all that great until Return to Barrow. Which is something we’ll Spotlight next Halloween season. So while this is a great horror book and should go up in the history books, in the end, it’s just all right.

Buy It.

I know that it’s another short one but eh, it is only a 3 issues series we’re talking about. Now, tomorrow expect Week’s End on time and soon the start of the top 15 horror films! Whoo, but until then rest easy as we’ve marked all the doors with yellow.

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