Comicsphere: Dhampire – Stillborn by Nancy A Collins & Paul Lee

stillborn This book has wonderful art and a really involving story. You look at the cover and you might be in danger as writing it off as being some emo bullshit with fake pain and no real soul but you’d be throwing away the chance to read something that has a really interesting take on the whole vampire/dhampire idea. It’s hard to go somewhere with the sub-genre that hasn’t already been hammered to death. This seems fresh, and I’m writing that sat here knowing that i bought this book a while ago, and that it is probably old news for a lot of people, but shit, I re-read it so there we go — it remains vital. The art creates a real film in your head; the spirit of the characters, given the subject, breathing and walking around in a world that doesn’t seem flat. I think that is one of the real strengths of comic books — that you have the visual read of a film without having to suspend disbelief because you have a recognisable actor in the role, and having it mesh so perfectly with the text, in the way subtitles become almost invisible when you have learned the language of films, is a testament to the writing and the art. You could say, if you were judging this on how much vampire action you get, that this is not much of a vampire book, and it is true — this is more of scene-setter than anything else, but damn, if you have solid foundations then that is half the battle won. I can’t wait to pick up the later trades in this series, given what i like about this one, so if they suck ass I will be seriously disappointed. It’s  slim volume but it has weight — it has impact on both an emotional and an ideas level; and lastly and definitely not least on an aesthetic level. A piece of art: a grounded, fluid piece of story-telling.

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