Saturday, November 10, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] American Vampire Volume 1 by Scott Snyder and Stephen King

Title:  American Vampire Volume 1

Authors:  Scott Snyder and Stephen King

Artist:  Rafael Albuquerque

Genre: Horror / Action / Adventure

Year Published: 2010

Year Read: 2012

Series: American Vampire #1

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Gory Violence and Strong Language)

Brief Introduction:

Now, it is rare that I often read many vampire comics (with the exception of “Fray”), so when I heard so many good things about Scott Snyder and Stephen King’s graphic novel, “American Vampire,” I just had to check it out and boy, was I amazed at how creative and intense this story really was!

What is the story?

In this volume, we are introduced to two separate stories that feature a ruthless outlaw, Skinner Sweet and a young and beautiful actress, Pearl Jones.  Skinner Sweet’s side of the story takes place during the 1880s as we are told about how he became the first American Vampire while Pearl Jones’ side of the story takes place during the 1920s and how she becomes a victim of a vampire attack.

What I loved about this comic:

Scott Snyder and Stephen King’s writing:   Wow! I never thought I would see the day where Scott Snyder and Stephen King was writing the same book together!  Now, I have been a huge fan of Stephen King’s works for many years (enjoying books like “Carrie,” “Pet Sementary” and “The Shining”), but this was the first time that I had ever read a graphic novel written by Stephen King (even though this is technically the first graphic novel written by Stephen King) and boy, was I blown away by the exciting and consistent writing in this volume!  I loved the way that both Scott Snyder and Stephen King created exciting and intense situations for the characters as Scott Snyder writes Pearl Jones’ side of the story while Stephen King writes Skinner Sweet’s side of the story.  Even though Scott Snyder and Stephen King are writing two different stories, the stories just flow so well together as they weave in each other as we are not only hearing about Pearl’s side of the story which takes place in current times, but we are also hearing Skinner’s side of the story since his story takes place in the past and explains the back story about the American Vampire.  This story was so interesting and creative to me because it is rare that I would read a vampire book where the vampire originates in America instead of Europe since most vampire stories originated from Europe.  I really loved the way that Scott Snyder portrayed Pearl Jones as being a strong and independent character that went through a traumatic experience and vows for revenge against her tormentors.  I also loved the way that Stephen King portrayed Skinner Sweet as being a truly ruthless yet mysterious character that was known for killing innocent people with no mercy while going through a frightening transformation that really made him into a deadly foe.

Rafael Albuquerque’s artwork:  Rafael Albuquerque’s artwork may be a bit scratchy and sometimes hard to see, but it fits extremely well with the dark and gritty tone of this story.  I loved the images of the vampires themselves as they have large mouths with pointed teeth that really make them look as frightening as they attack their victims.  I also loved the coloring done by Dave McCaig as the images are colorful and I really loved the scenes of the characters being inside lighted caves as the shadowing of the characters’ forms whenever they are near a fire are extremely dramatic to look at.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

For anyone who does not like strong bloody violence, this volume has plenty scenes of characters being ripped apart and blood gushing everywhere.  Also, there is some strong language in this volume such as the “s” word and the “f” word that might offend some readers who do not like strong language.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “American Vampire: Volume One” is a truly brilliant graphic novel that really deserved all of the praise it got and probably the most creative vampire graphic novel I have ever read since it was rare to read a vampire novel where the vampire actually originated in America instead of Europe.  Fans of vampire stories will definitely enjoy this volume as it cleverly weaves ancient vampire folklore with current situations and now after reading this volume, I am off to read the next volume!  

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