Sunday, September 03, 2017

Life Sucks – review

Authors: Jessica Abel & Gabriel Soria

Illustrator: Warren Pleece

First published: 2008

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Life sucks for Dave Marshall.

The girl he's in love with doesn't know he exists, he hates his job, and ever since his boss turned him into a vampire, he can't go out in daylight without starting to charbroil.

Undead life in its uncoolest incarnation yet is on display in this cinematic, supernatural drama told with gallons of humor and hemoglobin. In striking, colorful, B-movie style artwork and light-hearted, intelligent writing by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria, and Warren Pleece, Dave Marshall's story comes alive – in a vampiric kind of way.

The review: This is a neat little graphic novel that follows the trials and tribulations of Dave Marshall, vampire. Dave went for a job at a local convenience store and the owner, Lord Radu Arisztidescu, took the young man into the back of the store and turned him into the undead.

Where the graphic novel triumphed was in the deglamorization of vampirism. Dave, forced to obey his maker, has to work the night shift of the 7/11 store for six days a week on poverty pay. Yes the vampires in this have a full range of supernatural powers including mesmerism, turning into mist, fast healing but also that annoying burning allergy to sunlight. However they live in the same drudgery as any working stiff.

Dave’s life is made more difficult as he seems to have a pathological fear of blood. A vegetarian in life he can only really manage plasma and this weakens him, robbing him of the supernatural gifts his contemporaries have and leaving him with all the weaknesses.

The graphic juxtaposes this through the character Rosa. A Latino Goth who Dave crushes on, who is obsessed with vampires. To make matters more difficult, when it comes to getting her attention, is the fact that his predecessor at the store, Wes, takes a liking to her. Cut adrift by Radu as he was useless in the store, Wes came from wealthy parents and embodies financial and white privilege – a subject the novel touches on as well as looking at minimum wage employment and worker exploitation.

When I started reading the novel I was unsure about the art. Technically competent it seemed too utilitarian to me. However the style fit the tone of the book perfectly, aiding in the deglamorization of the vampire, and very quickly I was convinced it was the right choice. Worth your time. 7 out of 10.

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