Friday, October 24, 2008

Honourable Mention: Vampire Free Style issue 1 -3

Story and Artwork: Jenika Ioffreda

Contains spoilers

Vampire Free Style is a series of comic books, currently up to issue 3 and destined to be 6 issues in length. The books are a gothic fairytale in which we meet a cast of characters but our story proper surrounds Micia, a sweet black cat who can speak with the stars.

She is linked to Padroncino, a witch boy who is trying to learn how to fly (with little success) and is searching for his girlfriend who has vanished without a trace. Through the comics we see flashbacks to memories of Padroncino from Micia.

There is also Edward a man whose path keeps crossing that of Micia. When near the cat he sees a vision of a girl clad in black, surely Padroncino’s missing girlfriend. As I mentioned this is a gothic fairytale and the story ties these characters in deeply together, with hints of a history going back 300 years. The story itself is complex and interesting, though the dialogue can be a little off at times. However, this is a minor criticism and, if anything, adds a formality to the dialogue that works in the setting.

Where this really succeeds is with the illustrations, worked in black and grey they carry a cuteness within that is underscored with a sumptuousness, which merges the gothic element with a magical mischievousness. This mischievousness is complimented by story asides, such as a little clay idol that teases Micia in a magic shop. The shop, incidentally, is owned by Auntie Margherita a character whose face we never see but who has a perchance for dressing the long suffering cat in costumes – to comic effect. It is, again, the visual aspects of such impish humour that really works.

Now, to this point I have not mentioned vampires and this is the reason I have looked at these 3 issues in the form of an honourable mention. It is at the very end of the third volume that our vampiric activity begins – literally over the last three pages when Edward is reawakened as a vampire. Obviously in the fourth volume the vampire aspects will come more into play.

A beautiful trip into a dark fable, with enough story revealed and questions raised within the reader’s mind to both intrigue and bring them back into the beautifully drawn world.

The comic’s homepage is here.

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