I haven’t read many comic books, the grand total comes to about 1 after reading 30 Days of Night, but after reading this one I feel like I should read more. I have read mangas before so I’m sort of familiar with the format of comic books, but this one made me wonder if I should stop putting off reading all of the Marvel and DC comic books I’ve been saying I should read for years.
That being said, I will say that I love how much can be conveyed in just pictures with very little written word. I know that is the whole reason behind the format, but it really does impress me. I wondered if I would have trouble connecting to the characters, and while I think there is certainly more distance than there would be in a typical novel format, I never questioned Eben or any of the other character’s desires and motivations.
One of the things that I was a little disappointed with was the level of terror. While the vampires were certainly scary, especially in the beginning when the town had no idea what had hit them, I felt as if the tension and the actual fear in the story was lacking. Most of the focus seemed to be on the gore, as the pictures were able to show that explicitly, instead of trying to strike fear into the readers. We talked about this earlier in the semester- how horror has become more gory than scary. The vampires were ruthless and if I were in Eben or Stella’s shoes I would have been scared out of my mind, but their terror didn’t seem to show on these pages.
I think that the lack of pages with the humans may have contributed to this feeling. At the end, when Eben decided to turn to save the town, I questioned it. I hadn’t even gotten enough pages with him to be able to decide if that would have fit into his character. It definitely took me out of the story. I understood his desire to do so, but I didn’t feel comfortable with how quickly or easily he seemed to make the decision. Also, while I felt like I understood why he did what he did, I felt like the emotion behind that choice just wasn’t there. I wonder if all this is just because of the comic book format, or not. Like I mentioned, I don’t read them very often, so I was unable to decide if all of the pieces that I felt were missing were typical of this type of book.
I did, however, think that the vampires were extremely interesting. I would say that they were the most interesting part of the story. There was definitely a hierarchy among them and I loved that the ring leader in the beginning seemed to come off as lower on the hierarchy, and though it was never stated, I got the feeling that it is ranked by age. There seemed to be very little loyalty among them. It made them even more unpredictable and dangerous for the townspeople.
All in all, I think that while I had a lot of questions about the human aspects of the story, it may have introduced me to the comic book world.