Writer Jay Faerber
Artist Fran Bueno
Letters Ed Dukeshire
Graveyard Shift volume 1 is a very well presented comic. The artwork is stark and yet detailed, the writing more than passable. As a horror fan for life, I will admit the draw of anything vampire themed (especially entitled with the not so original ‘Graveyard Shift’) will always pull me in.
I even watched the first two Twilight films (the second only in the hopes that the werewolves would be cool… how disappointing.) So I am well versed in this subject matter.
From Lost Boys to classic Dracula I grew up devouring vampire stories. I will take any kind of vampire tale so long as the only time they sparkle is when they are exploding in the sun. And this comic certainly looked the part flicking through. A very beautiful graphic novel. The layout is interesting with dynamic angles and poses, it captures the dark atmosphere well, especially with the often sepia toned colours.
However, the whole vampire genre is pretty much done to death and this brings nothing I haven’t seen a million times before to the table.
It is well written regardless, and I enjoyed reading it (Hey, you can’t really disappoint a horror fan with a well delivered monster story, no matter how original it is or isn’t) and so long as you don’t go into this hoping for something new, then you shouldn’t be disappointed with this read. The gore is graphic yet not over the top. The vampires are creepy and it draws on classic Hollywood vampire lore as well as having a more modern feel.
The trouble is, with series such as The Strain and 30 Days of Night out there, it is difficult to make your story really stand out. The last vampire story that really grabbed me was Let the Right One In, and that was because the message and characters were more important than the monsters. It could have easily been werewolves or any other monster befriended by the protagonist.
Graveyard Shift may not have that special something that sets it apart like that, but it is good! I by no means belittle this story when I say it is not original as it is still grabbing and worthy of the genre. Mostly this is achieved by jumping straight into, “I think you are a vampire”, and then running with what we know about vampires from movies and books without all that annoying “Ooooh I have no idea what is happening!” It is quite refreshing for that to play out simply as it does. The characters are practical in assessing the situation and finding solutions to deal with the plight of one of them now being a vampire.
I like that the characters instantly believe what they see, and deal with it, rather than turning into mental wrecks suffering from shock or panic. The use of the couple bickering as a tool to show the tension they actually do feel is quite a nice touch.
What is more, it is a detective story too. All of the occurrences stem from the main character (a cop) investigating a killer that turns out to be a vampire. The nice twist here is that the tragedy of his fiancé becoming a vampire opens up his investigations and they make a rather cracking team. It is like CSI with vampires, or a sanitised version of Criminal Macabre by Steve Niles.