Writer: Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, Simon Dark and F.E.A.R 3 )
Artist: Ben Templesmith (Fell, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, Singularity 7, Welcome to Hoxford)
What initially turned me on to the cover?
Nothing turned me on about the cover. I wanted to research the horror genre for my webcomic ‘The Rift’ and I googled the top ten horror comics and this came up.
Is the style a representation of the story?
Yes the style definitely represents the grim, dark bloody style of the story. It would appeal to those attracted to horror.
First Impressions ‘Flick Thru’
First flick thru, the comic doesn’t feel heavily laden with dialogue as so many of the American comics (i.e not too many talking heads). It feels action driven although some of the artwork is hard to decipher. I think in an interview Ben the artist did mention that some of his work was ‘undefined’. I suppose when I get down to read the story then I will be able to make sense of the artwork.
The colour plattees is limited to blacks, blues and yellows. Ben Templesmith changes the location through the use of colour for example Barrow is black and blue in tone whereas the location for New Orleans in Louisiana is dark browns. The colours selected definitely helps with the mood. Personally it can be a bit difficult to decipher what is happening within the scenes. Having the panels placed on a black page just reinforces the darkness of the subject.
The panelling is simple cinematic feel panels, it follows the normal Z pattern of reading left to right. None of this try and be clever in trying to tell a story. IT’s good in a way because it again focus’ on the story and nothing else.
You will notice that the details in the background is faint. This helps makes reading the story to flow much faster. From my research I think Steve Niles asked for something ‘murky, mysterious and hard to look‘.
The artist uses water colour washes and pencil sketches it help to keep the artwork interesting. Careful consideration went into the concept art behind each character. The artist Ben took inspiration from nature when he wanted to recreate the vampires to be eating food machines by giving them razor sharp shark’s teeth. In an interview Steve Niles described the vampires as ‘Land Sharks’.
What’s the story about?
For 30 days of the year, a small town called Barrow experiences total darkness this gives the Vampires the full reign to feast off the citizens of the town.
Why does the story exist?
The interesting fact was that the story was initially pitched as comic pitch to other like Vertigo and the like then he pitched it as film idea. This could explain the cinematic feel of the comic and the restrictive use of panelling size and layout. It would also explain why the dialogue is feels like its written for film or radio medium.
Steve Niles said that it was a back lash to all the romantic stories about vampires e.g. Twilight and that he wanted to make a vampire movie with a twist.
The natural theme is about fear. Fear of invasion, fear of extinction. The Steve Niles stated that ‘vampires represents our fear of disease and of something invading our family.’
Who does this comic appeal to?
Yet again this writer, Steve Niles, also came from the Big 2 route. He would bring people who are fans of his work as wells a IDW fans. I think the biggest people who would buy this comic would be fans of vampire horror.
The all-important indexed figures.