★★★★/★★★★★ American Vampire Vol 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.
“Time is the only constant. For the living it never stops… For the dead it doesn’t matter… And for the undead? For the undead, time is a joke to be laughed at!”
American Vampire is a comic book series that follows, mainly, Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones. Skinner was an outlaw that used to live in the Wild West, but was turned into a vampire by accident when the blood from a vampire fell into his eye as he tried to escape being hanged. Pearl is an aspiring actress, she was attacked and left for dead until Skinner found her and made her a vampire, she is in a semi-hiding status, and has a husband that turns older because he is not a vampire, often saddening him, while he holds no restraints on her being a vampire herself.
What makes this series so interesting, is that the vampires themselves are seen as different sects and species rather than simply belonging to separate covens, in here they are biologically different. Vampires are evolutionary, and much like human evolution, they evolve throughout time. Of course, it is not the same as human evolution, as here it happens in a matter of hours. One of the many focuses of the series is the often times conflict throughout their history between the new evolved and the old ones, the conflict between the species.
“Does it matter how long they were together that night? To lovers, an hour can last a century. But even for lovers, every hour ends.”
The reasons I was not very interested in this series in the beginning was that this story arc follows a new bloodline of vampires in the American West, a time period and place I do not like to read, at all. But this writing and art had me hooked. What is so great about Skinner (and his progeny Pearl), who is a member of this new bloodline, is that he is not only stronger and faster than others before him, but that he is also impervious to sunlight. He is imprisoned in a coffin underwater, until he finally manages to escape and turns, so far only, Pearl into a vampire after finding her almost dead. Of course after this arc had run its course, I only craved more.
The art is fantastic in these comics. Albuquerque does a good job of drawing the story-line in such an enigmatic way that it leaves you wanting for more. The strength of the art however, is in the covers. I much prefer the cover art, it is much more beautiful, I want to have a poster of it in my bedroom.
The arc is also very, very good. As a comic, it follows different story-lines, mostly centered on Pearl and Skinner (a few spin offs and volumes follow second characters) as they try to survive while getting revenge on the people that have harmed them, from imprisoned them to murdering them. Pearl is also not the only one telling the tale, there are other characters, such as an author that claims his book is not a piece of fiction, but either recollections or good researched information. It tells of how Pearl and Skinner became a vampire, a fight over who is the supreme species, of mobsters in Las Vegas, of WWII, and of a young kid in the 1950s. It was very refreshing to read their stories.
If having any reservations like I did, at least check a copy from the library.
“Times moves differently down here in the dark. With no sunlight or shadows. No weather at all.
There’s no future, no right now. Nothing but your memory to keep you company. But they keep me so angry and weak. I can barely think straight.
How long have I been locked up…weeks? months?
I don’t even know how I got to this place. There are times I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
P.S. Look how cool she looks: