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Everybody's favorite vampire hunter Travis Kidd—the one who likes to “bite them back”— is making a return in a new "American Vampire" one shot this June from Vertigo.

Co-written by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque with art and cover by series artist Rafael Albuquerque, "American Vampire: The Long Road To Hell" #1 hits stores this June as a deliciously oversized issue. Tony Moore (of "Walking Dead" fame) provides the variant cover. Read More...


Without any GIGANTIC, WORLD-SHAKING EVENTS this week, we’re going to lead off with some big releases from DC/Vertigo, starting with culinary superstar Anthony Bourdain’s new graphic novel GET JIRO. The hyper-violent, food heavy story of a future society ruled by warring chefs is funny, satirical, and gorgeously drawn. Plus, we like food comics, so leave us alone.

The Publisher also has BATMAN INCORPORATED #2, picking up on Grant Morrison’s face-shooting cliffhanger from the last issue; FLASH #10, another beautifully drawn comic; and AMERICAN VAMPIRE #28, which writer Scott Snyder promises is the big summer event for the fangy title. Read More...

Hey, are there any big comics coming out this week? Probably not, except for, oh, say...

That’s right, little indie comics darling AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 finally releases its first issue after months of build-up, and as we’ve gotten a little sneak peak at it, we can say it does live up to the hype. Spoiler time: there are Avengers; there are X-Men; there’s some fighting. And while we don’t know whether it will pan out in the long run, hey, this book is blockbuster comics done right, with a script by Brian Michael Bendis, and art by John Romita, Jr. Is it two weeks from now yet, so we can read issue two? Read More...

This week, new comics include vampires, demons, and two women stretching the limits of the Bechdel test, so let’s get into it:

First up, over at DC/Vertigo, there’s a new issue of the always excellent AMERICAN VAMPIRE #24, which is in the middle of one of its strongest arcs yet. The biggest “problem” with the book has been the lack of competent enemy for uber-bad vamp Skinner Sweet. We’ve finally gotten one, in the ‘50s no less, and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Read More...

Writer Scott Snyder has been having a pretty good year at DC and Vertigo. As the co-creator of American Vampire he’s been getting a lot of attention for his spin on the evolution of the vampire mythos, and he’s currently at the helm of DC’s second-longest running title, scripting the adventures of Dick Grayson in Detective Comics.

Over at Detective Snyder has set up the goal of trying to give the Gotham underworld a rethink with Dick under the cowl. To Snyder’s mind, Batman’s villains are reflections of his psyche—Joker, Two-Face, and the Riddler are all somehow mirror reflections of who Bruce is as a character. “We’re focusing on a story about the way that Gotham, now that Dick Grayson is Batman, is sort of changing itself to be a better enemy for him. It’s almost like anyone who takes on the cowl Gotham will throw their worst nightmares at them.” This current storyline is in its 4th part, with the fifth and final issue of the arc occurring in issue #875 which hits shelves on March 30th.

Issue 875 also has a standalone story by Snyder with art by Francesco Francavilla (Scalped, Fear Agent, Black Beetle) featuring the return on Jim Gordon’s son, James. Apparently the character hasn’t been seen in comics since he was a small child and Snyder hints that his return will have ramifications for the Detective cast, with everyone—from the Commissioner, to Barbara, to Dick—harboring an intense fear of the now-adult James. Read More...

Midtown Comics in NYC's Times Square was buzzing and packed at 6pm on a Friday night, as I headed in for the very first Midtown Comics Book Club. The retailer was featuring newly hot American Vampire scribe Scott Snyder, with a focus on the recently published first collection of his Vertigo series. The Book Club wouldn’t start until 6:30pm though, so I spent a little time browsing, figuring I could pick up some recommendations from friends, and then set up early to cover the event.

At about 6:15pm, I decided it was enough dilly-dallying, bought the books in my hand, and asked he guy behind the counter where the Book Club would be held. He paused for a second, and then said, “Downtown.”

Oops.

You see friends; Midtown Comics has three locations in Manhattan, including a recently opened downtown space with an alcove for events like the Book Club. But on auto, I had headed to Times Square, and now had fifteen minutes to travel the equivalent of half the island. Thank goodness for the MTA actually running on time for once, as I only missed the introduction, and was all set up by the time hosts Thor Parker and Zoe welcomed Snyder up in front of the packed crowd.

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’re aware of the fact that there's been a bit of a "vampire renaissance" going on.  To put it mildly, the blood suckers are everywhere and overkill has officially been reached.  And now that the cinematic geniuses behind such masterpieces as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc. have given us Vampires Suck, it is apparent that the fad has reached market saturation.  (Parody tends to be pop culture's way of letting us know that the well has run dry.)

So what made me bother to pick up Vertigo's AMERICAN VAMPIRE?  Firstly, it had "Master of Horror" Stephen King's name on the cover.  And there is no denying that King's novels from the 70's and 80's are some of best and most horrific works of fiction ever put to paper.  To this day his own vampire tale 'Salem's Lot’ still gives me chills just thinking about it.  Surprisingly, AMERICAN VAMPIRE is the first time his name has ever graced the cover of a comic book as a writer.

While Uncle Stevie's name above the title was an initial selling point for me, Rafael Albuquerque's slick illustrations were the clincher.  Standing in the comic store flipping though the first issue of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, my eyes had barely grazed a few panels and I knew my wallet would be $3.99 lighter on the way out.

But the pretty pictures are just eye candy if there's no story to back it up.  Happily, this isn't the case with AMVAMP.  Created and co-written by Scott Snyder, this book takes an exhausted vampire mythos and breathes new life into it.  A relative newcomer to the comics industry, there's no denying Snyder was wise to join forces with King for the first 5 issue arc of the series.  An equally savvy idea was setting the story in an era and location virtually untapped in any other vampire story to date:  The American "Old West" at the turn of the century.

An intriguing element about AMVAMP is that it literally hops back and forth between the 1880's and the 1920's as we witness the creation and evolution of a new kind of creature, the "American Vampire".  This new species has unique characteristics, strengths and weaknesses unlike all their Eastern European ancestors.  And it's only fitting that at a time when America as a nation was still trying to figure out its own identity, we've got the pleasure of watching this new breed of vampire go through their own troubling self discovery.

The initial 5 issues introduce us to the first of the two new American Vampires: Skinner Sweet, a Billy the Kid-esque outlaw in the 1880's and Pearl Jones, a young actress in the 1920's.  As the stories jump between their disturbing origins, Snyder and King begin laying the groundwork for what I hope will be a truly rich and long running series.  The detailed cast, graphic violence and gallows humor of the first few issues were delightfully delicious.  These aren't the 90210 vampires of the Twilight saga.  These are hauntingly human, yet frighteningly dark and compelling characters.  Sadly, King was only contracted through issue 5, so Snyder takes up the reigns himself as of issue 6.  But if he's able to continue evolving the story with even half as much freshness and creativity as the series has been blessed with so far, there just may be some bite left in the otherwise tired vampire genre.  (Pun intended, of course.)

AMERICAN VAMPIRE is published monthly by DC's Vertigo comics.  A hardcover collection of the first five issues was released on October 5, 2010.


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