American Vampire is a breathtaking blitz of sheer wonder, and a brilliant resurrection of the legend of vampires. In here, you will find savage, primal beasts ripping apart the human heart, guzzling human blood and leaving behind a sordid corpse with bloody entrails splattered about. And, when they are not busy killing, they are busy conniving, luring victims to their gory death, seeking vengeance and planning to take over the world. Its a fascinating tale, the kind that reminds you of the monsters you believed in as a kid.
At the very beginning, you quickly discover what's so special about American Vampires. And, why the comic book series has become so legendary. As you flip through the pages, you follow the trail of madness and mayhem of the first American Vampire, Skinner Sweet, who is nothing short of a lethal killing machine with a huge ego. But then you also see his humane side with Pearl, the second American Vampire, the only creature who Skinner cares about deeply. Skinner and Pearl are kind of like Ying and Yang with a fierce chemistry.
Throughout the many volumes, you travel through eras from 1925 though the 1950's and beyond, capturing a bit of history along the way. The tales blaze a gory path through Hollywood in Los Angeles, the Hoover Dam in Las Vegas, the cold war, the Nazi occupation, Jack the Ripper London, Bram Stoker's Dracula in Romania, the space voyage and several other cult events from history. I loved how the author simply dropped vampires in each of these settings and let the dynamics of their brutal nature create intriguing stories.
One of the many radical things about this series is that it has spawned a whole new bloodline of vampires by introducing the theory of evolution. So, you have the American Vampires that have the iconic power of being able to walk in the sun without burning to ashes, and their weakness remains a mystery to other bloodlines.
You quickly discover the thing that gives this series its power is the utter viciousness wreaked through its pages. Some of the scenes are so chilling especially the one where Pearl Jones, a young aspiring Hollywood actress is invited to meet a bunch of producers at a party, and they turn out to be blood thirsty vampires that drain her, and leave her to die in the desert. This series does not hold back in any way. It unleashes the true meaning of being a monster, and its implications for the world around.
Transmetropolitan is a comic book that is brilliant beyond words. Raw and epic, it packs a fuming, rabid, and an eccentric protagonist wading through the labyrinth of a decrepit world, conspiracies, vile dictatorships and gut wrenching violence. A poetic, anarchic, visionary book perfect for a poetic, anarchic, visionary individual. The book is set in a science fiction world where all kinds of hallucinogenic drugs are the norm, and all kinds of alien creatures walk beside humanity. But mankind is still playing the same old perverse game of power, politics, sex, control, degeneration.
The plot begins with a wild man living in the supreme freedom of the wild, forced to return to civilization by contracts he was legally bound to. As it turns out, this man, our protagonist, is a journalist and grumbling and cussing, he lights a trail through the city's main scoop, exposing the truth brewing under and takes us all into a murky world of radical adventures.
To me, the protagonist is every bit perfect. A classic madman who bleeds cuss words, searing intelligence, a maverick's notions and an innate will to see the truth. The book is poignant, wacky and hilarious. It has an edge to it, an extreme, stark raving nature to it. There are such intriguing, quirky bits in here that you are bound to break out laughing or gasping or ogling as you contemplate the wonder that flows through the pages.
For instance, the crazy iconic eye-wear ensemble that the protagonist wears is because the machine that answers to human command, had been ingesting drugs! Machines on drugs! Super radical and strangely wondrous. The artwork is fantastic: it brings to life the strange and sublime atmosphere of a futuristic era where society has wasted away holistically.
The book amplifies the many vanities of human nature, and plays on them brilliantly to pack a punch. At the core of the story is a group called Transients that is working on transforming themselves into aliens through plastic surgery and while the leader of this pack is a completely inane douche, the group falls prey to a police conspiracy and is being bludgeoned to death, while our cynical and bitter hero descends upon the scene and does a live coverage of the sinister and gory plot, exposing the police and their sordid mess, while the world takes notice, and the riot is stopped.
The end scene of the book is a splash of uncomfortable violence against our hero as an act of vengeance by the cops. When they are done beating him black and blue, our protagonist gets off the street and laughs on endlessly while declaring that once unleashed, he cant be stopped.
And, by the way, our protagonist is called Spider Jerusalem. Who wouldn't want to follow the adventures of a guy with that name?
The love for books & a hunger for stories was programmed into my DNA. And, sooner than later, life experiences sealed the deal. Books have saved me, transformed my life, enlightened me and have shown me the path I must walk. In a way, far too many books have played the role of kindred spirits and guides, leading the seeker in me to answers and paving a way for a new way of life. Books have helped me keep my wits, my sense of wonder, my sense of mystery and curiosity & my sanity in a life that has been anything but predictable and normal.