Thursday, August 29, 2013

American Vampire Anthology #1

Written by Scott Snyder, Jason Aaron, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Gail Simone, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, and Greg Rucka
Art by Rafael Albuquerque, Declan Shalvey, Ivo Milazzo, Ray Fawkes, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Tula Lotay, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, and John Paul Leon

When American Vampire first started a few years ago, despite its coming out in the middle of the vampire-related glut of the post-Twilight world, it really stood out as a well-considered, and excellently-executed new approach to the genre.  I liked how Scott Snyder (and early collaborator, Stephen King) grounded the vampire, and other mythological creatures, in biology and history.  There was a strong emphasis on character, and under Rafael Albuquerque's pencil, the book looked terrific.

As the series continued, as new characters were added to the mix, and as spin-off mini-series became more exciting than the main title, I felt that things needed a bit of a shakeup to keep my interests.  I wasn't all that upset when I learned that the series was going on hiatus for a while, as I was considering dropping it.

Now, though Snyder and Albuquerque have headlined this anthology, which has gotten me excited about the property again.  First off, just look at the talent involved in this book, with names like Cloonan, Bá, Moon, Lemire, Francavilla, Rucka and Leon showing up on the cover.  In their numerous short stories, many of which were too short, they explored other aspects of this world, and I loved it.

Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes took us up to James Bay to see what the Canadian Vampire would look like, while Jason Aaron and Declan Shalvey revisited the early colonial days of the United States in a similar tale.  Regular series artist Albuquerque writes a story about a small town in Kansas, which is painted by the very interesting Ivo Milazzo.

Some of the stories feature characters we've met before, as in Gail Simone and Tula Lotay's 'Hattie' tale, and in Becky Cloonan's exploration of why Skinner Sweet came to Hollywood.  Skinner shows up in Greg Rucka and John Paul Leon's story too, which explains what happened to him after Las Vegas, back in the second or third arc of the series.

Francesco Francavilla looks at the vampires' influence in Hollywood, while Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon take us into a seedy nightclub.

This is a very nice looking book, which has managed to whet my appetite some for the return of the series, which is what it's supposed to do I guess.

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