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30 Days of Night Vol 1 – Review

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’30 Days of Night’ by Steve Miles and Ben Templesmith is a horror comic series that was first published in 2002. The year is noteworthy, because the story is about how a group of vampires find a cold region where the sun doesn’t come up for weeks, so that they can easily prey on people. Sound familiar? Reminds one of the super-popular book/movie series ‘The Twilight Saga’ by Stephenie Meyer. Although Meyer’s work wasn’t published until 2005 and she has never cited ’30 Days of Night’ as inspiration. She has mentioned ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ though, but how these classics inspired her to write about a sad young girl finding herself torn between a blood-sucking vampire and werewolf, is beyond logic.

Okay, maybe we are transgressing too much. Let’s talk about ’30 Days of Night’, which is actually nothing like Meyer’s work. The story is set in a fictional town called ‘Barrow’ in the freezing Alaska, which is an obscure little place unknown to most. But when an ambitious vampire learns about how the sun doesn’t come up in Barrow for at least 30 days between November and December, his pack decides that it would serve as the perfect place to openly feed upon its small population without fear of being burned to ashes. For the townsfolk, it’s all about survival from these human-eating unexpected invaders.

What will stand out the most to avid comic-book readers is the artwork, and not because it’s impressive. The art panels are very digitally drawn, but come across as awkward and incomplete, as if the artist just morphed or photo-shopped pictures of real people. It has a jarring effect, almost unsettling, which in some ways works well for the horror genre, but also kind of dilutes the joy of reading a comic.

The main protagonist is a cop called Eben Oleson, who some readers might confuse with another cop in the story, or maybe it was just me. The features of the main characters are not distinctive enough, so it’s hard to like anybody in particular. However, it’s the interesting fast-paced story that keep you intrigued enough till the last. Steve Miles spices up the plot with a lot of blood, violence, fear and despair, which will have you hooked to every page.

Towards the climax, the story becomes a little underwhelming. You have a very old-school Hollywood type heroic ending and it makes sense, because this was originally pitched as a movie script, but did not find any takers. It was only after the comic became a hit with horror enthusiasts and vampire-fiction gained popularity that ’30 Days of Night’ was adapted for the screen.

If it hadn’t been for the mediocre artwork, this might have scored more points, but it’s a 3.5/5 from me. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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