Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vampire Boy

Written by Carlos Trillo
Art by Eduardo Risso

Dark Horse's complete edition of Trillo and Risso's Vampire Boy is one nice, big, satisfying chunk of comics goodness.  I'd previously read the first volume in the SAF edition, and while I liked the larger pages, there is a real aesthetic pleasure to reading a nicely put-together 475 page graphic novel.  Especially one this good.

The vampire boy of the title is a nameless Egyptian child, the son of the great Pharoah Khufu, who was strangely transformed into an immortal at the age of ten, when a mysterious plague struck down his father and everyone else he was with.  Except for one other person, an ambitious and manipulative priestess named Ahmasi.  The two of them have nurtured their hatred for one another over the millennia.

When the book opens, the child awakens after hiding himself in a New York sewer for some fifty years.  Unlike traditional vampires, these two are restored by sunlight, and don't need to feed on blood alone; in fact, the boy eats just about anything he can find.  As the book progresses, our vampire boy meets a kind old Oglala Sioux man who helps him, but also draws Ahmasi's attention.  From there, the two immortals scheme to murder one another once and for all, and many of the boy's new friends become victims of Ahmasi's excesses.

This book is touching, sexy, and violent in about equal measures.  Trilllo provides plenty of information of the child's life over the years, and develops him into an interesting character - someone with the wisdom of many ages, but the impulses and reactions of a prepubescent boy.  There are times when the writing is perhaps a little too precious, but a character like a nameless vampire child would be difficult to humanize without resorting to sentiment from time to time.  Ahmasi, on the other hand, works very well as a heartless villain.

Risso's artwork is always brilliant, and he really cuts loose with some of the scenes here, as the setting shifts from the ancient world (Egypt, Greece, Rome) and the modern (NYC, New Orleans, and London).  I found this book to be very enjoyable reading ,and recommend it heartily.

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