By Adam Cadwell
It’s a vampire series, so you’d expect blood…. except here, in Adam Cadwell’s new 6-issue vampire series, I don’t think it’s going to be about the blood all that much, I think this is going to be a series where the darkness, the gothic overtones, the whole creatures of the night thing will be a secondary thing.
I’m pretty certain at this point it’s going to be more about the blokes than about the blood, more about friendships, dealing with the day to day rubbish that life (or undeath) throws at you, relationships of all kinds.
Because whether you’re human or a blood-sucking undead fiend – relationships are still relationships after all, and even vampires have social lives. This is going to be Being Human in comics, slacker vampire flatshares…. so yes, I’ll stick with the lazy shorthand of This Life with vampires for now and see where it gets me.
(Vince. This is actually Vince in a hurry, with somewhere important to be. Yep, waster. From Blood Blokes #1 by Adam Cadwell)
Here with issue #1 we get the setup; dropping in on a day in the life of young Vince. Actually, dropping in on the last day in the life of young Vince. And although it’s not that much of a life – university drop-out, stuck in his McJob with a nasty, vindictive, jobsworth boss, in love with a girlfriend who can’t see their relationship lasting now he’s left Uni, I figure he’d have liked to have kept hold of it.
But as you’ll have guessed from the title, and that eye-catching cover where a bat silhouette crosses the path of young Vince, all this is about to change……
Vince is typically young; with all the impetuousness, frustration and joy that entails, and we see a little of that early on in his angry reactions to his boss and then his girlfriend. First signs of something unusual come, at least for us the reader, quite early on….. a mysteriously smoking man on the bus, burning up just a little where the sun hits. But typically Vince is completely oblivious to this, passing through, unaware.
(Bad day… bad life? Just a couple of scenes from a really crap New Year’s Eve. Surely it can’t get any worse….. From Blood Blokes #1)
Later on we see an accident prone young goth leaving a nightclub, minus the bat she came in with. There’s an alleyway, an angry, upset Vince, New Year’s Eve going on in the background, flapping of wings, a countdown, then blood.
And all of a sudden, Vince isn’t in Kansas anymore.
No really – that final page as well – what? Why? Really? No idea, but no idea in a “must read issue two to see why”, not a “don’t know, don’t care” sort of no idea.
All in all, this is some debut, on the surface, a complete shift away from what we’ve come to expect from Adam Cadwell. His brilliant Everyday series established him as an artist capable of piecing together entertaining whimsy of the everyday and all around, and few who read that would have picked vampire slacker story as his next series. But it’s a deliberate shift, an attempt to get away from being just another diarist.
It’s a class start; reads nicely, pacing’s all sound, love the ending. Cadwell’s art looks great mostly, super clean lines, simple panel layout, nothing flashy, occasionally just a little too generic, lacking in expression…. but most of the time really smooth. And the ending really is a “huh?” moment.
Blood Blokes lacks the subtlety and wistfullness of previous work perhaps, but I don’t think that’s what Cadwell’s going for here. This is plain and simple, let’s have some fun, here’s my slacker vampire series. Somewhere along the line we might get relaxed, subtle, introspective, but right now this is what it is. And it looks and reads pretty spot on for it.
Blood Blokes came out in a very limited way earlier this year, but Adam Cadwell now has a second, bigger printing. Issue #1 is avaialble from Cadwell’s webstore, issue #2 due sometime in 2012, hopefully fairly early 2012 though.