TITLE: Vampires Everywhere
WRITER: George Lennox
ARTIST: Thomas Crielly
PUBLISHER: Cult Empire Comics (no relation!)
FORMAT: American comic sized. Full colour. Square Bound. 47 comic strip pages.
PRICE: UK £7.99 US $10.99 CAN $12.99
VE is like Bram Stoker's Dracula on speed. Set in the late nineteenth century and beginning very much like that novel, a ship runs aground from the North Sea at a small coastal town in Britain (Scotland this time rather than Northern England.) With the ship come vampires. Only this time it's more like Dracula's three brides than the Count himself. Soon the townsfolk are being slaughtered and they must call upon the services of a team of vampire hunters to save the day.
What follows is a breathless and bloodly battle with wall-to-wall undead monsters. What makes VE work well is two-fold. Firstly Lennox's lean script which keeps the pace at such a breakneck tempo and Crielly's clear and clever pictorial storytelling. Lennox keeps the text at a minimum with no wordy captions or trendy internal monologues. Crielly helps him out by always making it easy to follow the action without the need for endless descriptive passages. It is very much in the style of my favourite form of comic storytelling.
Crielly does a fantastic job turning his hand to some spectacular establishing shots, both interior and exteriors. There's a belting ship-wreck on the first page and he follows it up with some impressive manor houses, studies and ruined castles. He's no less smooth when it comes to the human figures and I found myself wondering if they all had been modelled on real people.
This has action, gore and inventive deaths aplenty and as such may not be for everyone. It's the type of story where you can't be sure who will survive to the end no matter how sympathetic or heroic a character. I was reminded of Hammer's Captain Kronos and I can't help thinking with that film studio back making movies they really aught to send them a copy of this book!
The only minor quibble I could level is that the odd line doesn't ring very true to the period, but perhaps this is deliberate (as if the characters have had their Victorian speech translated for a modern audience?)
We can't have too many takes on the noserafu myth as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of vampire fiction, so do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this rip-roaring splatter-fest. Pour yourself a glass of holy water, order a pizza with extra garlic and settle down for the great B-movie-in-a-comic-experience.
Review by John A. Short