American Vampire Art by Rafael Albequerque
Movies, novels, novellas, short stories, non-fiction, essays, reviews, blogs... what has famed author Stephen King NOT written?
Well, that's all about to change, as Vertigo announces that "American Vampires" launches in March of 2010. Based on a character from "Voodoo Heart", a short story collection by the comic's co-writer Scott Synder, King will be penning one story while Snyder pens the other in dual story arcs currently slated to run simultaneously for five month issues.
Bringing the vampire legend from the creepy castles of Eastern Europe into the dusty deserts of the American Old west, King's part of the story revolves around the origins of Skinner Sweet, a sociopathic outlaw in the Wild West who becomes the first American vampire. Unlike European vamps, Skinner is powered by the sun and, true to his native environment, has rattlesnake fangs. Snyder's companion story tells of Skinner's first descendant, Pearl, an aspiring starlet in glamorous and decadent 1920s Hollywood who gets turned into a vampire by Skinner. Starting in March, Vertigo will release five monthly double-issues, 16 pages of Pearl’s story penned by Snyder and 16 pages of Skinner’s story penned by King, with Rafael Albuquerque doing the artwork. Issue six will pick up with a new cycle set in the 1930s and penned by Snyder.
Karen Berger, senior vice president at Vertigo, said it was a pleasant surprise to get a writer like Stephen King involved in "American Vampire." "Stephen King is the master of modern horror," she said. "He put modern horror on the map. The fact that the first comic story that he's actually written, and the fact that he's choosing to write his first comic based on the strength and the power of Scott's concept, and the fact that it's for us, is just a huge, huge thing."
King, who will be doing his own round of press closer to the comic’s March release, released a statement through Vertigo, saying "I love vampire stories, and the idea of following the dark exploits of a uniquely American vampire really lit up my imagination. The chance to do the origin story—to be ‘present at the creation’—was a thrill.”
The admiration, needless to say, is mutual. Of his writing partner, Snyder says, “People think of Steve as this story master, and he is. He’s just this master of story, plot, and horror, and that’s just amazing to watch, but one of the things that was also interesting to watch is how layered and rich he makes a story from a literary standpoint. He worked along these themes in his cycle, of fact versus fiction, and legend versus history.”
Berger is confident that Snyder and King’s novel-writing prowess will translate to the illustrated page. “As novelists, they really just got it, which is great because not all novelists do,” she says. “Comics writing is such a different way of thinking, you really have to be able to wrap your head around a visual component, and there’s a real streamlining component as well. Both Snyder and Stephen took to it perfectly. Vertigo's roots are in horror," Berger explained. "It makes sense for us to do a vampire series. But if we do it, we have to do it in a fresh and exciting way. And that's exactly what 'American Vampire' is all about."
American Vampires launches in March 2010. Check your local comic shop for details.