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Life Sucks: 04/17/09
1596431075?Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria with art by Warren Pleece is another of the graphic novels short listed for the Cybils earlier this year. Life Sucks is about a baby-faced geek stuck working the night shift at a convenience store. All he wants is a normal life and perhaps a better job. The only problems: he's a vampire and his boss is also his master.
Apparently there are only two places in the United States for vampires: Louisiana and California. If you're in the Anne Rice club, it's Louisiana. If you're in the Joss Wheadon club, then it's California. Life Sucks is clearly aiming for the Wheadon club. I suppose the Twilight crowd will spark a new club of vampires up in the Pacific Northwest someday given the series popularity but right now Vampires still seem fall into two parties.
As much as I enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the film and most of the series) and most of Angel, I'm truly tired of teenager wangsty vampires speaking pseudo-California slang. In fact, I'm plain bored with vampires. Life Sucks plays with many of the same themes already done to death in Buffy and even more so in Angel. It doesn't bring many new ideas to the table. If you want a fairly conventional teenage vampire story set in California, Life Sucks delivers.
There are a few things I chuckled at in Life Sucks. First of all, there is the protagonist's addiction to Mexican novellas. That's a cute detail. I liked the practicality of keeping vampires on the graveyard shift since they probably won't be killed during a conventional hold-up. I liked Warren Pleece's artwork. He makes the neighborhoods and towns in and around Los Angeles recognizable. Nice illustrations though were not enough to keep me turning the pages with enthusiasm.
Comment #1: Saturday, April, 18, 2009 at 01:57:48
I'm tired of the vampire craze too, but only because 1) Twilight started and...well, I'm really tired of hearing about Twilight, and 2) 98% of vampire-lit written to cash in on the craze is absolute crap. Like these Vampire Kisses books about this girl named Raven who's sooo edgy and goth and has to tell us on, I swear, every other page about the black, gothy clothes she's wearing and how much she loves black and...yeah. I've read bad fanfic that's exactly like that.
Which doesn't mean there aren't some very, very good vampire books out there. I can only think of two at the moment, both of which I need to review on my site, but they're excellent Those Who Hunt the Night, by Barbara Hambly, takes place in Victorian London and involves a philologist (and former spy, actually) who gets shanghaied into helping a vampire figure out who's been murdering other vampires. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, is more or less in modern times, but it's very much a different world magic and magical beings are a fact of life and usually an unpleasant one, especially after the semi-recent war with vampires that devastated practically the whole planet. In that setting, which comes across as very believable, Sunshine manages to get tangled up in the affairs of vampires very unwillingly when she takes a few hours off from the bakery where she works.
Comment #2: Wedesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:55:34
Thank you for the two book recommendations. I think I will like them! I enjoyed Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley. If you're looking for another vampire story that breaks with the more recent conventions, check out Sister Margaret by Rhonda Parrish.