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Murderer’s Row of creators sink their teeth into ‘American Vampire Anthology’

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While American Vampire is currently on hiatus, creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have killed time until its return by releasing various specials. Earlier this summer we saw The Long Road to Hell, and this past Wednesday brought the American Vampire Anthology, featuring vampire tales by Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Jason Aaron, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Jeff Lemire, John Paul Leon, Declan Shalvey and many more.

Anthologies can be hit or miss from story to story, but how did this one do? Here are a few reviews from around the web:

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Benjamin Bailey, IGN: “The world and mythology of American Vampire lends itself well to the anthology model. At its heart, this is a classic vampire tale; one about love, darkness, power, and violence. The stories we get in the first collection capture that incredibly well. American Vampire has always been filled with a reverence for history, which is probably why a scattershot anthology that covers centuries of time works so well. This series has been gone for too long and left us with a fang-sized hole in our heart, so any time spent back in this bloody world is time well spent.” (8.6/10)

Dean Stell, Weekly Comic Book Review: “The historical stories are interesting too as we see how the Native Americans learned about vampires the hard way … and also how to fight them from Jason Aaron. Or how some of those nighttime bandits might have been more than they appeared. Or how some of the vampires settled in Canada. These stories are a nice little back-story for the vampires themselves. It shows how they came to America just like everyone else (in boats) and how they had to build housing and find food just like everyone else – or almost like everyone else.” (A)

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “This hefty 70-page comic book opens the only way an anthology of “American Vampire” possibly could: with a new adventure of Skinner Sweet by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque. It’s only four pages, but Snyder and Albuquerque lean on one another’s skill to remind everyone how raw, brutal and wonderful this title is, especially with the two of them collaborating around the life and times of Sweet. The stories in this issue all have their moments, but when Snyder, Albuquerque, colorist Dave McCaig and letterer Steve Wands come together, American Vampire is in its glory. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the issue closes out with Sweet as well.” (4.5/5)

Jorge Solis, Bloody Disgusting: “A majority of these tales have something to say about the trials and tribulations of making it in Hollywood. In Becky Cloonan’s ‘Greed,’ Skinner basks in Hollywood Land while stumbling onto a film set. Cloonan balances dark humor and suspense as Skinner deals with stunt work and actors, while looking at the entire film crew as lunch. In ‘Essence of Life,’ Gail Simone brings in such sadness and desperation as Hattie narrates her downward spiral from being in the spotlight. Simone and Cloonan’s depiction of the old Hollywood system stands out as the best in the collection.” (4.5/5)

Brandon Borzelli, Geek Goggle Reviews: “I’ve read this series from the beginning so this anthology is outstanding on every level. I would think that any one of these stories could be expanded into a mini-series or an arc and they would be fantastic. However, this book probably doesn’t read that well for the curious reader. The A-list creators will draw in a broader audience and I fear that a lot of these stories read as simply vampire versus man. I’m not sure a casual reader is going to get how great this series is by simply picking this up. They should have made them more accessible if at all possible.” (4/5)

Cody Ferrell, Comic Book Therapy: “This anthology is the ultimate sampler platter. Each story is an independent look at the world Snyder has created, but each one could be expanded into its own miniseries and still feel perfectly natural. It’s rare that every story in an anthology is strong, but American Vampire pulls it off. There isn’t a run in the bunch, and each artists is perfectly paired with a writer to top it all off. The styles vary drastically from story to story, but each seems to fit flawlessly with the story being told.” (5/5)

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Damn right it’s good. Can’t hardly wait for it to start back up. Pearl has actually brought me to tears with her actions.

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