30 Days of Night

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1thirtydaysofnight

Hello, comic book fans and lovers of horror alike and welcome once again to another thrilling instalment of… “From Behind the Couch”.

This week I’m talking about Steve Niles “30 Days of Night”. I’m only talking about the 3 issue mini-series released by IDW in 2002, at this point, as in my opinion it’s the best of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong there is some other good stuff which I’ll get to another day as the story continues in titles such as “Dark Days” and “Return to Barrow”.

I want to keep it uncomplicated and stick to the original, as “30 Days of Night” is the pinnacle of simple, effective and downright scary story telling.

“HOLY SHIT! ITS THE ATTACK OF EDDIE MUNSTER!!”

The story takes place in Barrow, Alaska, a remote an isolated township where for 30 days during the winter, the sun does not rise. There it is…simplicity itself… the best setting ever for a vampire invasion, love it! Anyway, the police in these parts consists of husband and wife team, Sheriff Eben Olemaun and his wife Stella with whom the story begins.

Eben drives out with the town to find his wife Stella standing looking at a hole in the ground filled with what remains of the burned up, mobile phones the townsfolk had reported missing from the day before…mysterious…but clear that someone is trying to cut off their communication with the outside world.
A menacing stranger is also picked up in the local cafe and starts to warn that something evil this way comes. Meanwhile the vampires are starting to arrive and pick off some of those living on the outskirts and their noose slowly begins to tighten.

We are also introduced to an outsider. A woman who seems to know of the vampires existence and is trying to expose them, who is she and what is her involvement?

The storytelling here is excellent, not a word wasted in my opinion and it builds and then delivers the horror with incredible impact. The artwork by Ben Templesmith is truly something else. Raw, paired back, sketchy but alive with momentum, dark contrasts and vibrant splashes of colour. It’s a joy to behold and exemplifies the animalistic, brutality of the vampires at the same time as conveying the fear, terror and sadness of the few, surviving humans, as they watch their friends and family being ripped apart.

You, know, I quite liked the movie, I think they did a pretty good job, but it just doesn’t quite pack the same punch as the comic. If you haven’t read this for a while or have never read it at all, please do so. It really shows horror comics at their brutal but beautiful best.

You could argue about the oversaturation of zombies and vampires in fiction today. Everywhere you look there are films, TV shows, books and comics giving us yet another take on the living dead?

Is it all just a bit too much?

I think not, that for me is the beauty of the fictional world, it’s infinite. You may not like it but there’s room for “Twilight”, there’s room for “Blade”, there’s a space for “True Blood”. You can have “Lost Boys”, “Near Dark”, “Vampires”, “Dracula”, “Nosferatu” and even “Count Duckula”.
You can never have too much of a good thing!

It’s the same thing regarding people who moan about all the super hero movies coming out, why? If you don’t like them, don’t watch, or read, or listen. There’s not a finite amount of fictional slots, like a Resident Evil storage chest, you won’t use up all the spaces, even if there is another 100 “Twilight” movies (God forbid!).

I guess what I’m saying is try not to switch off when you read about “another” vampire comic coming out or “another” zombie movie being released. You might just miss something awesome like “30 Days of Night”.

Good night, good fright.

(Jordan)

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