30 days of night (graphic novel)

Disappointing.

The art is impressionistic, indistinct, rendered in gray, black, and red…strong visual choices, but often confusing to the point where it’s difficult to tell what’s just happened and to whom.

The story has a clever premise — since the town of Barrow, Alaska is so far north that it annually experiences a month without sunlight, it’s the perfect place for vampires to throw a festival of murder and blood-quaffing. Unfortunately, the slaughter makes almost no impression because we only know three of the town’s inhabitants by name (one of whom dies as soon as we meet him). Also, there’s almost no indication of the passage of time, no sense (other than a single “I’m hungry”) of the agony and fear that comes with holing up and hiding from the prowling vampires waiting out the month; the clever premise is useless, since the action could have occurred over the course of a single night. And the townspeople’s final solution to the problem is the sort of thing only a moron would try, and yet the solution is effective, though we are given almost no reason to believe it should be. Meanwhile, a secondary plot thread involving what I assume is an occult enthusiast from New Orleans seems to have no purpose whatsoever aside from setting up a sequel.

What is it with comics and bad vampire stories? I remember a rash of them in the mid-90s, many unashamed ripoffs of Anne Rice or Salem’s Lot or both; at least this one has a smidgen of originality. I’ll rent the movie when I get a chance; it disappeared quickly, so I’m not optimistic, but it’s hard to imagine it being more moribund than this.

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