Archive for Vampires!

Friday Night Fights: Vamp Violence!

We’ll keep it short and simple tonight, not ’cause we’re short of time, but just because I need the weekend too badly to bother coming up with anything clever for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from October 2010’s Spitfire #1 by Paul Cornell and Elena Casagrande. The British aristocratic vampiresque speedster has been sent to eliminate a vampire who aided the Nazis during World War II. Things definitely don’t end well for the rival vampire.



We’ll see you guys back here on Monday — ’til then, have a great weekend!

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Cemetery Dance

Bite Me: Big Easy Nights by Marion G. Harmon

Technically, this is actually the third book from Marion G. Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series, but it takes place between the first book (previously reviewed) and the second (not reviewed yet), so it’s not out of place here. Besides, it’s just two weeks ’til Halloween, and the whole book is jammed full of vampires. So let’s hit it.

Set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras — a long, long way from the superhero-filled Chicago where the first novel is set — we’re completely focused on Jacky Bouchard, reluctant vampire and the equally reluctant superhero Artemis. She’s in town to meet the grandmother she never knew she had — she’s apparently the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and she’s pretty handy to have around — and she’s also doing some freelance work for the police, keeping an eye on the local vampires. See, there are a lot of vamps in N’Awlins, mostly because of Anne Rice — when someone who’s obsessed with romantic vampires has their metahuman breakthrough, they’ll often kick the bucket and rise from the dead as a vampire. And once they do, they usually head for New Orleans.

They’re even fairly accepted within the city. As long as they don’t kill people and limit their feeding to willing victims (and there are a lot of vampire fans in New Orleans eager to get snacked on), the police usually leave them alone. The cops don’t even have to worry about a vampire plague — in the “Wearing the Cape” universe, vampires aren’t able to turn their victims into vampires. However, Jacky herself owes her own undead resurrection to one of the exceptions to that rule, who was able to kill her and turn her with his own powers — and there are indications that another of those rare exceptions may be trying to build his own vampire army, which leaves Jacky with some serious problems on her hands, especially when she gets targeted for assassination by both vampires and humans.

Can Jacky track down the master vampire, survive the cutthroat vampire politics of New Orleans, redeem a fellow vampire, and keep her police contact (who has powers of his own) and her grandmother safe from harm, all without getting a stake through the chest or her head lopped off her shoulders?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really fun book, like the other “Wearing the Cape” books (and I’ll eventually get around the reviewing the third novel, too), with excellent characters, fun dialogue, excellent action, settings, and mood, and a fast-moving plot. Half the fun of this one is Jacky’s down-to-earth reactions to the general craziness of her surroundings, particularly the fashion-obsessed vampires she has to blend in with. She’s a bit too hard-edged to fit in particularly well with the superhero crowd, and she doesn’t fit in well with the vampires because… well, she just doesn’t like vampires very much.

It’s a good, fast read. I had a seriously busy week — couple of weeks, really — and worried it’d take me a month to find enough time to finish this. But the story and characters grab you and draw you in quickly — I ended up taking extra time away from other duties just to spend more time reading. It was colossal fun, and, while it may not be a perfect Halloween book (you’d have a hard time bumping books by Ray Bradbury or M.R. James out of that spot), it still makes for a great late-October read.

“Bite Me: Big Easy Nights” is available for the Kindle. Go pick it up.

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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.

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The Sun Never Sets on the British Vampire


Captain Britain and MI-13 #15

Siiiigh. Yet another outstanding comic book gets cancelled.

The final issue of this series also concludes the “Vampire State” storyline. Though Count Dracula and his vampire army have been thrown into disarray, they haven’t been beaten yet… but they’re a lot closer to defeat than they really expected. See, Pete Wisdom has been thinking about a dozen moves ahead of Dracula, most importantly about one little, important piece of misdirection — when Dracula destroyed the skull of Quincy Harker, the relic that kept all vampires out of England… he’d really only destroyed a fake. With Captain Britain battling Dracula’s pet necromancer, and Meggan showing up to sow dissent among the vampiric army, Dracula is completely unprepared when all his vampires start bursting into flame. He retreats to what he thinks is a safe position, only to get attacked by the S.A.S. and a whole bunch of guest stars. And it all comes down to Faiza Hussain, physician, superhero fangirl, and wielder of Excalibur, to take on Dracula in the final showdown.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Man alive, am I going to miss this comic. As always, beautifully created characters, fantastic plotting, so much wonder and excitement. The last three pages of this issue are the best farewell to the readers that I can imagine. Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk created an awfully fine comic — I wish they could’ve kept it going for much, much longer.


Power Girl #3

Power Girl ends up settling Ultra-Humanite’s hash pretty quickly in this issue — in fact, she accidentally roasts him like a hot dog. After that, she and Terra have to figure out how to set Manhattan back down without wrecking everything, and then PeeGee has to try to get Ultra’s ship down safely, without either wrecking New York or dropping into the ocean and causing catastrophic waves.

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up, though the biggest feat is performed by Terra, a guest star… and I’m still a bit irritated that Ultra-Humanite is depicted as an over-the-top sexist. His best-known host, other than the giant albino gorilla, has been Dolores Winters, the fictional film star he transplanted his brain into during the Golden Age. And he’s always struck me as a villain whose primary prejudice was that he thought he was superior to everyone, and that only he had what it took to rule the world. He may hate women — but in fact, he hates them just as much as he hates men. Still, pretty good action and as always, excellent artwork by Amanda Conner.

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House of Dracula


Captain Britain and MI-13 #14

Last issue, Dracula killed everyone. This issue, he realized that it was just too blasted easy — he’d been trapped in the demon Plotka’s magical room of wishes that gives the illusion of the perfect life. So MI-13 is still alive, and the vampires haven’t achieved their victory yet. In fact, they’re way, way far off from victory, because the Brits now know Dracula’s plans, they’ve got ringers aboard the vampires’ ships, and Spitfire hasn’t actually been mentally dominated. British forces wreck the vampires’ ships and deal some heavy losses, but the vampires aren’t finished yet. Dracula still has Faiza Hussein’s father, and Dr. Doom has just given him Meggan, Captain Britain’s ex-wife, who now calls herself Gloriana.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great characterizations, a great resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger. Just one more issue of this series left, so hold on to yer hats.


JSA vs. Kobra #1

The international nihilistic terrorism organization Kobra makes a few first strikes against the Justice Society and against Checkmate, the international espionage outfit. Unhappy with Kobra’s continuing existence, the JSA decides to strike back, capturing and interrogating a number of Kobra agents. Kobra makes an attack on a church that draws out the Justice Society, but it may have all been a false-flag attack.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno. Doesn’t seem that bad, but is this really something we need a miniseries for? I’ll reserve judgment for an issue or two.

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Robots and Monsters and Vampires, Oh My!

Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time #1

Atomic Robo, the wiseacre, action-packed atomic-powered robot created by Nikola Tesla, is back for another pulp-flavored adventure, this time set in 1926. Robo is studying for his physics doctorate when he gets some unwelcome visitors — fantasy/sci-fi/horror author H.P. Lovecraft and weird-phenomena researcher Charles Fort. Many years ago, Lovecraft, Fort, and Lovecraft’s father worked with Tesla to banish a cosmic horror from Earth, but it’s coming back — or it’s been here all along… With Tesla unavailable, can Robo help Fort and Lovecraft before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. First, anything that teams a snarky robot with Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft is guaranteed to appeal to me. And though this issue is extremely talky, it’s also a great deal of fun. The first few pages, with Lovecraft gibbering along with his over-the-top pseudo-racism about Robo’s pygmy ancestry, is extraordinarily funny. If the rest of the story is as good as the first issue, I’ll be glad to come along for the ride.

Fin Fang 4 Return! #1

This has its genesis in a story a few years ago where a bunch of giant monsters from Marvel’s ’50s era, Fin Fang Foom, Googam, Elektro, and Gorgilla, decide to reform, are reduced to human size, and take up jobs in the human world. So here we’ve got this short anthology of stories — first, the Hulk’s pal Doc Samson tries to psychoanalyze the quartet of monsters. Next, Fin Fang Foom’s job as a chef at a Chinese restaurant leads to an unexpected cure for baldness and an equally unexpected loss of the cure for baldness. After that, Gorgilla goes time-traveling and save Abraham Lincoln from assassination; Googam tries to get adopted by a Hollywood starlet to fund his quest for world domination; and the robotic Elektro gets mistaken for a completely different Electro. Finally, there’s a reprint of a Christmas story as Fin reluctantly teams up with Dr. Strange’s assistant Wong to stop Hydra’s giant evil Santa Claus robot.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, it’s silly and inconsequential. I like stuff that’s silly and inconsequential.

Captain Britain and MI-13 #12

Dracula and his army of vampires are continuing their war on England and MI-13. Spitfire, because of her vampiric heritage, is helpless to resist Dracula’s orders and is forced to kill a civilian in Dracula’s castle on the moon. The rest of the team, meanwhile, is trying to track down a magical artifact — the skull of Blade’s old friend Quincy Harker, enchanted to prevent vampires from entering Britain unless they’re specifically and individually invited. Unfortunately, Dracula’s centuries of unlife have made him one of the greatest military minds ever, and he’s thinking several steps ahead of MI-13.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good bloodsucking fun. My only regret about this one is that Dracula isn’t nearly as pompous or long-winded as he was in the classic ’70s series “Tomb of Dracula.”

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Attack of the Idiot Vampire Goons


There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for escaping high school.

Boston Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta issued a notice to parents and students yesterday quashing rumors of vampires at the school. An odd move for the head of a historic elite preparatory school, but Teta and Boston public school officials declined to elaborate on what triggered the unusual message.

They did, however, adamantly offer assurances that no one at the school has been hurt, arrested – or bitten.

“The headmaster believes that the outrageous rumors had reached a point where she had to say something to families to ensure that all students felt safe and respected,” said Chris Horan, School Department spokesman.

While the episode sounds like something out of “Twilight,” last year’s hit film about a high school girl who falls in love with a vampire, it may be closer to the movie “Mean Girls.”

Two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the incident said a group of girls at the school had been bullying at least one other student who likes to dress in Goth-style, a vampirish look popularized by musician Marilyn Manson. The officials said the girls began spreading a rumor that the student was a vampire who had cut someone’s neck and sucked the blood.

When Boston police went to the school Wednesday on an unrelated matter, their presence fueled yet another rumor: that a vampire was being arrested, according to one of the law enforcement sources.

Okay, point #1: We really should take every kid between the ages of 13-19, put ’em in their own 50-gallon drum, and seal ’em in ’til they hit 19. By then, all the hormonal teenager crazy-juice should’ve worn off. I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of perfectly nice teenagers out there, but for the most part, they’re all crazier than a herd of emus on acid.

Point #2: Lubbock, please, I’m beggin’ ya, ’cause I know someone out there is thinking it, please don’t do anything like this locally. I know it seems like a good vampire hunt would be a fun way to get the loonier churches dancing around in their happy pants, but really, no no no no no no no no NO.

In semi-related news: This is the best, funniest, and rudest summary of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” book series ever. Go read it so you don’t have to read the books or watch the movies.

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