Review: FVZA: Federal Vampire Zombie Agency
Courtesy of the Graphic Novels Blog.
FVZA: Federal Vampire Zombie Agency by David Hine
May's Review: First, let's clear up any misconceptions you might have about me. Yes, I have read Meyer's Twilight as well as watched the movie in a theatre and read the graphic novel. Yes, I do read the occasional paranormal romance involving vampires. And yes, I enjoyed watching Buffy on TV. But no, I don't think Robert Pattinson is cute. Nor do I spend all of my downtime fawning over how cute vampires are, how misunderstood they are, etc. As far as I'm concerned, vampires are meant to be vicious bloodthirsty creatures of the night meant to horrify not arouse you.
With this sentiment in mind, Hine portrays his vampires in FVZA as cruel ferocious killers with little to no regard for humanity. Unlike what you see on TV, Hine's vampires are deliberately ugly. My favorite line in this book was when the head vampire points out once a vampire is turned, he or she loses his/her physical beauty--meaning that the hair falls out, the skin turns ashen, the head starts to shrivel, etc. Gross!
Aside from the scary portrayal of vampires which is aided immensely by the terrific artwork, this graphic novel is also strengthen by a well-thought out storyline. The book opens with a FVZA (Federal Vampire Zombie Agency) agent named Landra Pecos ready to shoot her grandfather who has just been turned. In a series of flashbacks, we see her upbringing, her training and subsequent entry into the field, and the tragic deaths of both her brother and her lover which have brought her to this point. Intermingled with these scenes is the return of the vampires who were nearly wiped out by the FVZA in the 60s. This new wave of vampires is now plotting to utilize a zombie plague to bring society's to its knees by unleashing the virus into a small town. Ah, nothing like a little mayhem and chaos thrown in to amp up the adrenaline.
The story is obviously well-paced with a number of terrific plot twists at the very end. I won't reveal what happens with Landra and her grandfather but suffice it to say, you will be surprised. This was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Since there doesn't appear to be a sequel, if you enjoy FVZA, you might also want to check out Scott Snyder's American Vampire and Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night for the mere fact that their vampires are equally scary, vicious and just a tad bit crazy as well. Enjoy!
Review: The Fall
The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
May's Review: In the follow-up sequel to Del Toro's and Hogan's The Strain, The Fall chronicles the aftermath of the vampiric infection as nations slowly crumble and the Master sets his nefarious plans for world domination into motion. Amid this backdrop of suspended disbelief and gradual decay, our heroes led by vampire hunter Blade tries...Whoops! Sorry, wrong hero. What I means to say is that our heroes led by vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian and his band of followers, including former CDC member Eph Goodweather and exterminator Vasiliy Fet, struggle to save mankind only to find themselves drawn into a deadly war between two deadly vampire factions.
What I like about sequels is that the reader doesn't have to wait around for the main characters to catch up. None of this, "I wonder why my supposedly dead husband is now walking around and seems to be fixated on my neck" business. Instead, the reader is plunged right into the storyline that is filled with break-neck action sequences and plenty of suspense. The interludes are probably my favorite portions of the book because they reveal more of Setrakian's character, especially his all-consuming drive to kill the Master. I particularly liked Vasiliy's character in this book, especially when he reveals his hidden heritage and why he is helping Setrakian.
Overall this is a good vampire book with some moderate scare scenes. Enough to make me want to read the third and final book in the series which should be coming out this month.
Looking for a Vampire Story???
Looking for something to read prior to the football game this weekend? In the mood for a vampire story or two? Check out this new anthology...
The Vampire Archives edited by Otto Penzler
Summary: The Vampire Archives is the biggest, hungriest, undeadliest collection of vampire stories, as well as the most comprehensive bibliography of vampire fiction ever assembled. Dark, stormy, and delicious, once it sinks its teeth into you there’s no escape. Vampires! Whether imagined by Bram Stoker or Anne Rice, they are part of the human lexicon and as old as blood itself. They are your neighbors, your friends, and they are always lurking. Now Otto Penzler—editor of the bestselling Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps—has compiled the darkest, the scariest, and by far the most evil collection of vampire stories ever. With over eighty stories, including the works of Stephen King and D. H. Lawrence, alongside Lord Byron and Tanith Lee, not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and Harlan Ellison, The Vampire Archives will drive a stake through the heart of any other collection out there.
Review: The Strain
The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Summary: They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone...
May's Review: There is a reason why Del Toro is such a great fantasy director. He has a certain visual style that immediately captures your imagination and manages to hold your interest throughout even if the story isn't quite up to par. In the case of the book, fans of Del Toro wonder wonder if he can translate his unique visual style without using images or illustrations but rather, with words? I am happy to report that yes, he can. Maybe it's just me but I definitely tell it was patented Del Toro.
His vampires are eerily reminiscent of the über vampires in Blade II--entirely grotesque and frightening but at the same time, strangely compelling. It certainly helps that both author take their time to build up a credible back story for the characters so the audience gets to know them, especially Abraham Setrakian whose has a history with the vampires. The pacing of the book is actually quite fast-paced, almost as if he originally envisioned the story as a movie. If you enjoy reading vampire books, you can't go wrong with this one. In fact, The Strain is the first book in the trilogy so if you really like this storyline, then you will have two more books to look forward to in the next year or so.
2 horror classics get the graphic novel treatment
Richard Matheson has long been recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern horror. Stephen King has called Matheson: "the author who influenced me most as a writer."
An American literary legend, Matheson has not only published some of the most well-known and influential horror novels out there (Hell House; I Am Legend; The Incredible Shrinking Man; Stir of Echoes), he has also written countless short stories, including many teleplays for the original Twilight Zone series. Steven Spielberg's directorial debut, the 1971 made-for-TV Duel was also a Richard Matheson screenplay based on one of his short stories.
Now two of Matheson's most famous novels are available in graphic novel format, in black and white drawings that perfectly capture mood and action. Filled with moments of dreadful anticipation and hair-raising sequences. Whether you know the original Matheson novels or not, you will not want to miss out on these visual treats!
Richard Matheson's I Am Legend
adapted by Steve Niles and illustrated by Elman Brown.
Summary: The tale of the last human on an Earth overrun by the undead - returns to graphic novel format in a single volume collection of four long out-of-print books. A pandemic is unleashed upon the world, the symptoms of which are very similar to vampirism. The lone “survivor” of this apocalypse is Robert Neville and his solitary battles to remain uninfected and fight off numerous nocturnal attacks makes for riveting storytelling. Fantastic in premise yet firmly grounded in reality, I Am Legend is an original "vampire" story unlike any other. Even if vampires aren't your thing, this apocalyptic tale of survival is a must read.
Richard Matheson's Hell House
adapation by Ian Edginton ; illustrated by Simon Fraser
Summary: IDW brings you this lavishly illustrated adaptation of Richard Matheson's tale of newspaper publisher Rudolph Deutsch facing his impending demise. To help Deutsch forestall his death and to learn the secrets of life after death, a team of experts must survive a night in Belasco House, a place known amongst the local townsfolk as "Hell House." The notorious Belasco House starts to exert its dark influence on the group of scientists and spiritualists as they unearth the perverse and wretched secrets from within its walls. Hell House has let them in... but will it ever let them leave?
EW's 20 Greatest Vampires of All Time
Check out last week's (Aug. 7, 2009) issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine for the top 20 list of the greatest vampires of all time.
For those who can't get their hands on the issue, the top 5 vampires are:
1. Lestat (Anne Rice)
2. Christopher Lee's Dracula
3. Bela Lugosi's Dracula
4. Edward Cullen (Stephanie Meyer)
5. Bill and Eric (Charlaine Harris)
In the meantime, click here to read the cover article interviewing best-selling vampire authors--Stephanie Meyer, Melissa de la Cruz, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, P. C. Cast and Anne Rice. Enjoy!
Guillermo Del Toro launches new vampire trilogy!
Get ready for the most anticipated publishing event of the year!
The Strain (2009) Coming Soon!
Book One of The Strain Trilogy
by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Description taken from Amazon.com: The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.
They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.
In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.
In two months--the world
For more information and a video clip featuring Guillermo Del Toro, go to Amazon.com.
Best vampire movie ever?
Let the Right One In (Sweden 2008) New!
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Screenplay by: John Ajvide Lindqvist (based upon his novel)
The Cryptkeeper says: The recent trend in vampires has either been paranormal bodice rippers or star-crossed teen love stories. There have been a few notable exceptions: Steven Niles' 30 Days of Night nasty, vampiric creations, as well as David Wellington's Thirteen Bullets and 99 Coffins (check out the horror blog's previous post: There's a new kind of vampire in town). Now the Swedes are weighing in with their unique and terrifying version of vampires. The protagonists of Lindqvist's dark and disturbing tale may only be twelve, but make no mistake, this is not a children's story -- far from it. Critics are hailing it as the "best vampire movie ever" and "a vampire tale like no other". What do you say?
Plot Summary: Oscar, a 12-year-old fragile and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl he befriends, who moves into his building. When Oscar discovers that Eli is a vampire it does not deter his increasing feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent. When Eli loses the man who protects and provides for her, and as suspicions are mounting from her neighbors and police she must move on to stay alive. However when Oscar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can.
"...a monumental novel of blood, love and terror"
Vlad: The Last Confession (2009)
by C. C. Humphreys
"A chilling masterpiece that weaves fact and fable. Bedtime reading? Only if you don't need much sleep..." --Andrew Taylor Daily Express
Dracula. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality. Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his tale not one of a monster but of a man… and a contradiction. For the one they called ‘The Devil’s Son’ was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer. His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and who he has to… sacrifice. His closest comrade… and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes - ‘The Impaler’. But Vlad’s actions defy such labels. Like the comet that scorched Wallachian skies the summer he took and held his father’s throne, his extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade - and there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his… innumerable sins. Vlad: The Last Confession spins legend and facts and together into a monumental novel of blood, love and terror. This is the true story of Dracula … as it has never been told before.
The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker, edited with a foreword and notes by Leslie S. Klinger
From Publishers Weekly
Klinger brings the same impressive breadth of knowledge that distinguished The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes to this definitive examination of one of the classic horror novels of all time. Adopting the conceit that Stoker's narrative is based on fact, Klinger elucidates the plot and historical context for both Stoker devotees and those more familiar with Count Dracula from countless popular culture versions. Because he had privileged access to the typescript Stoker delivered to his publisher, Klinger is able to note changes between it and the first edition and comment on the reasons for them. Through close reading, Klinger raises questions about such matters as the role of lead vampire-hunter Van Helsing and whether the villainous count is actually dispatched at book's end. An introduction by Neil Gaiman, numerous illustrations, essays on topics ranging from Dracula in the movies to the academic response, and much more enhance the package.
--The Library Technician
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