Prop. V — forbidden marriage

What would you think if you read a novel where a human man protagonist described a vampire attack like this?

I lay quiet, looking out from under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.

I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super-sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.

If you don’t recognize the text, perhaps you are rolling your eyes. Not another paranormal romance! Vampires aren’t supposed to be beautiful! Voluptuous vixens with scarlet lips shining in the moonlight? Say it ain’t so!

I often find it humorous when I hear authors/readers criticizing story lines with romance between humans and vampires. The above quotes are excerpts from (more…)

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Review of American Vampire, Vol. 5 by Scott Snyder

15791600Title: American Vampire, Vol. 5

Author: Scott Snyder

Illustrators: Rafael Albuquerque, Dustin Nguyen

Publisher: Vertigo

Review:

There are two things that make American Vampire unique and the best ongoing story about vampires in any form of media. First of all, the vampires in this series are not all of one species. There are several sects, each with unique powers and weaknesses, yet all draw on the common vampire mythos. Secondly, the story arcs are in the backdrop of US history. Each volume has taken on another decade, starting with the twenties in volume one, thirties in volume two, forties (WWII) in volume three, fifties in volume four…

And in volume five, we are still in the fifties. Early fifties, in fact. I had hopes when picking up this volume that we would now have a story taking place in a hippy-infested America with man striving for the moon. Instead, the setting has stalled in the fifties with two stories that frankly could have been told in any decade.

The first story arc deals with the reawakening of Dracula. He is the definitive vampire with power to control all of his subordinate vampires from miles away. Even humans can be bent by his will. Felicia Book and her song Gus are recruited by Hobbes to stop this lethal force, resulting in devastating consequences.

screen-captureThe second story arc is about Pearl, whose husband is in a comatose critical condition from a vampire attack in the previous volume. She joins the VMS to learn who was behind this attack and gets paired up with none other than Skinner Sweet. As they search to discover the secrets of the evil cult, Pearl is reunited with an old foe.

I was a little disappointed in this volume, but like I said — American Vampire is the best vampire story out there. Even in the less favorable volumes, the series shines with excellent art and storytelling. The characters  are fallible and we see many prominent characters die off like a George R.R. Martin novel.

There are essentially four comic volumes I am following right now — American Vampire, Saga, The Walking Dead, Locke and Key (soon to be completed). Even though the American Vampire time line stagnated in the fifties, the story still has momentum and I still eagerly await the next installment.

Review of American Vampire, Vol. 4

13532244Title: American Vampire, Vol. 4

Author: Scott Snyder

Illustrators: Rafael Albuquerque, Jordi Bernet

Rating: 3 star

Publisher: Vertigo

Review:

The American Vampire comics are probably the best ongoing exploration of the Vampire mythos in any form of media. The premise is that there are many species of vampires spread across the earth, each with different abilities and Achilles’ heels. The American-born species, for example, have long and viscous claws and are immune to sunlight. Each novelization of the comic book series takes place in a subsequent decade — the fourth installment features a story taking place in the 1950’s.

screen-captureThree story arcs are collected in this novel. The first story arc, “Beast in the Cave,” features Skinner Sweet prior to becoming a vampire, fighting in the Indian Wars with Jim Book. The natives solicit the help of an ancient vampire trapped in a cave, which has deadly consequences.

The second and feature story arc is “Death Race,” taking place in the 1950’s. We are introduced to Travis Kidd, a teenage vampire killer. Travis ably fits the persona of a rebellious teenager from the era, with leather jacked, shades, and a cocky attitude to boot. Whether using gold, silver, or wooden fangs that he developed, the fearless hunter works on his own to rid the world of vampires.

The third story arc, “The Nocturnes,” features Calvin Poole, an African American agent working for the secret Vassal organization. After traveling south as part of an investigation, he predictably encounters some racist thugs who have no idea what they are in for.

To be honest, the fourth American Vampire volume was a bit of a disappointment. Largely omitted from the stories was Pearl, who only makes a brief appearance in a pretty major shift to the plot. The first story arc, while featuring some decent artwork from Jordi Bernet, really didn’t bring anything new to any of the characters. The feature story, “Death Race,” was my favorite and I am hoping Travis Kidd makes some future appearances. His battle with Skinner Sweet brought two capable foes against one another in a great car scene. The biggest fault in this story arc was in the format — the very jarring time shifts made a simple story difficult to follow at times.

The next collection should take place in the 1960’s, which I hold high hopes for as Skinner Sweet likely will be dealing with some hippies. I also hope Pearl returns to the pages with a more prominent role. In all likelihood this will happen given what took place in this volume.