Cowboys, Vampires, and Stephen King

American Vampire #1

Listen, man, I need good horror stories in my life. I need an occasional Western, too. And I got this entirely unnatural fondness for stuff from the 1920s. Co-written by Stephen King? That’s a bonus. Art by Rafael Albuquerque, who aside from having an awesome name, also provided art for my fondly-remembered “Blue Beetle” series? Another bonus. So yeah, you bet I picked this one up.

We get two different stories in this one. We start out in Hollywood in 1925, where Pearl Jones and her roommate Hattie are living their silver screen dreams — well, not really dreams. They’re just extras in a silent costume drama, and Pearl also works extra jobs as a cigarette girl in a fancy club and as a waitress in a diner to make ends meet. Things finally start looking up when she catches the eye of the handsome star of the movie, who invites her to a ritzy party being thrown by the film’s producer. And it turns out the producer and his friends have a — how shall we say this — a bit of a drinking problem, if you catch my drift.

Our second story is set in Sidewinder, Colorado, back in 1880, where notorious murderer and bank robber Skinner Sweet has finally been captured and is being taken by train to New Mexico, where he’ll be hanged. Riding with him are James Book, the Pinkerton agent who captured him, William Bunting, a writer looking for a story, and Mr. Percy, the wealthy financier who helped pay Agent Book’s salary. But even chained up, Sweet’s a dangerous outlaw — and that’s without his gang looking for a way to derail the train. And once the lead’s started flying at the end, it turns out that someone on the train has an even sweeter tooth than Skinner Sweet…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Loves me a good vampire story. Pearl and Skinner both make very enjoyable protagonists, and we’re treated to a lot of fun characterization for both of them — probably more for Pearl, since she’s likely to be a much nicer and less murder-y protagonist than Skinner is. But all told? I like it. A lot.

Daytripper #4

Brás de Oliva Domingos is now in his 40s, and his wife is gonna have a baby any time now. After they race to the hospital, Brás learns that his father, a famous novelist, has just died. So he has to go through the stress of losing his father, the stress of the high-profile funeral, the stress of waiting for his baby to be born, and the stress of meeting, for only the second time, the half-sister he never knew. And then something unexpected happens.

Verdict: Thumbs up. For something that has basically the same ending every time, this one is a story that never fails to entertain me. The art and writing by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon are just really wonderful. If you aren’t reading this, I really do hope you’ll start soon — it’s something special.

No Comments

  1. Maxo Said,

    March 19, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Gah – the Albuquerque art was already making it hard to wait for the trade, but if the writing is that good, too …

  2. Scott Slemmons Said,

    March 19, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Well, again, I’m a sucker for Westerns and the ’20s. Never hurts to check out the first issue in the store and decide whether to buy it.

    I was really a bit surprised this issue didn’t get tagged at a dollar, like a lot of the other Vertigo first issues…