By Adam Cadwell
This Life with vampires. It was a lazy comparison when I made it with issue 1, but for anyone who knows what I’m talking about it’s such an easy and obvious and right comparison when you’re talking about Cadwell’s slacker vamp soap-opera.
What Cadwell’s doing here is quite effortlessly enjoyable, and the confidence in his storytelling and artwork is just so impressive. The mix is spot on as well; relaxed mixing of comedy, relationship stuff, plot, even time to throw a little vamp history in AND set up not just one but two very different complications to the story. Impressive. There’s less of the out and out comedy here that was so enjoyable in #2, but that’s okay, there’s warmth and smiles in the banter that makes a nice change down in tone.
Thus far we’ve met young Vince, university drop-out, in the middle of a miserable 20-something funk, crap job, girlfriend on the verge of dumping him. And even though he reckons it’s about as bad as it can get, life does have a way of turning round and sinking two very undead, batty fangs into your neck when you least expect it. It’s normal to wake up after New Years and feel godawful, it’s not normal to feel godawful, surrounded by vampires and wearing a dress Dorothy Gale would be proud of.
We’ve also met the trio of vamps Vince is about to enter into an enforced house-share with; Mike, Arianna and Douglas, imagine that trio in the BT ads but way less annoying. We’ve seen them rescue Vince from the crematorium, busing it home (“stag night”), and that’s about where we’re at with this third issue, with Vince waking up, just a little bit confused…
This is the settling down and establishing the new status quo episode, as we watch Vince struggle to come to terms with his new life, discover the ins and outs of a modern vamp lifestyle and settle down for a quiet night in watching vids.
A sleepless day in a cupboard follows (again, perfect touch from Cadwell – coffins being difficult to explain, cupboards laid flat not so hard) and Vince is wired, ready to bolt…
But bloody hell, what a dynamic and impressive double page to really start the issue off. That’s how to announce an issue.
But the best is yet to come, as we settle down to a life of vampiric domesticity, where Vince learns what he is, what he can and can’t do, with some modern twists on vamp lore giving this a modern, knowing feel, and then there’s the little matter of that bat that turned Vince. According to his new housemates, that’s not meant to happen, and we’ve got a big dangling plotline for the future right there. But there’s time for that later on, because there’s much more fun to be had taking the new gang down the pub, where the vamps file in after human last orders is called, and the easy-going, ever so natural banter that Cadwell’s populated Blood Blokes with so far is allowed to flow.
Sod the big plot, I’d be reading this just as a student sitcom with fangs. Don’t need to have a big bad, no threat, I just want to see the lives of tthe undead delivered sitcom style by Cadwell.
But if we are going to have plot, I’ve confidence that Cadwell’s taking us in the right direction, with not only the bat thing hovering over them, but also the little matter of the problems he cause when he goes to pick up some of his stuff from his flat. Things are moving forward here, but not too fast, that would spoil the fun to be had from the day-to-day stuff that’s the real draw here for me. It’s clever, understated stuff, and long may it continue.
Oh, and the backup illustrations from Tula Lotay, Priscilla Tramontano, Josceline Fenton and Sammy Borras are lovely too!
Blood Blokes is available from the Great Beast webstore.