Tuesday, November 8, 2011

American Vampire, Chew and Penguin: Pain and Prejudice


With getting a job comes cash, and that can mean only one thing. What’s that? Fiscal responsibility. Hell no, it means picking up some trades. The two trades I thought I would get are Chew and American Vampire. I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about these two books and upon reading them I knew that I needed to write a blog post about them. Also to add some depressing flavour I’m looking at the first issue of the Penguin mini series Pain and Prejudice.

American Vampire Vol 1 by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque

Taking a monster such as the vampire, which is well known by many people and changing it, can be a tricky thing. Some attempts seem ridiculous (yes I’m looking at you Twilight with your god damn sparkly vampires), others just change without any respect to the tradition of the vampire. However American Vampire manages to not only be something different, but to also pay homage to the tradition of the vampire. Skinner Sweet is an American cowboy who has been turned into a vampire, but he’s something different, a new species of vampire.

The writing of both Scott Snyder and Stephen King is absolutely awesome and grabbed me from the balls from the out set. Swapping between Skinner Sweets origin story and Pearl Jones story set in the 1920’s, it’s an interesting look at this young America and its various historic periods. Rafael Albuquerque’s art also aptly captures both time periods and really helps define both stories. Highly recommend this trade for people.

Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory

In the last week I’ve purchased the first three trades, I love this series that much. It’s such a warped fun world to read. Basically 23 million Americans were killed by the bird flu, as such chicken and any other bird have been deemed illegal. Tony Chu is a detective for the FDA who tracks down black market chicken rings and murders surrounding such things. Tony Chu also as a power that helps him, he’s a Cibopath which gives him a psychic impression of any object he eats. There are also other people out in the world with taste related powers and it all leads to some unique situations.

This book is not just a fun action adventure tale, but also smart in how it constructs each issue. The layout and the playing around with time conventions always keeps the tale fresh. The characters are also really well developed and even those who seem to be one dimensional bastards, get fleshed out to show the inner workings. Comics like Chew are the reason why I keep reading. They take the art form and really show the possibilities. Another big recommendation for people out there.

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice 1# by Gregg Hurwitz and Szymon Kudranski

I picked this up not expecting much at all. Penguin is one of my favourite Batman villains and this was me getting it for the sake of having a Penguin story in my collection. What I got was a very mean, nasty comic that is absolutely brilliant. You probably not going to read this more than once, but wow is this a fascinating take on the character. It’s actually not that far removed from what we know, instead the story takes a darker approach that is both sad, depressing and gives the Penguin such a strong foundation as a villain.

This is a mini series and I can’t wait to see where the story goes, but the tone has already been set and I’m sure it’s not going to anywhere happy. This first issue reminds me of a show like OZ or Shield, where it’s an indepth look at people who aren’t heroes, yet sympathy is created even in the darkest of characters. If you are a fan of the character I would say get out there and get it.

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