While the figure of the vampire has been rehashed and reshaped for many years from cinema to books, the medium of comics certainly is no exception. From Marvel’s take on Dracula, as he engages in different encounters with different heroes in the Marvel Universe, his mythology in the comic books certainly is no exception to the ever-changing and ever-evolving concept of the vampire. In this maiden issue of Vampire State Building from a new comic book company called Ablaze comics, this incarnation of the vampire so far veers away from its celluloid counterpart and harkens back to the basics. That the vampire is not a romantic creature of literature but one that is brutal, savage and unrelenting.
The comic opens at atop the Empire State Building where a tour of the historic 1930’s building is in progress for tourists and where a group of friends have gathered to wish Terry, a member of their group, goodbye for he has decided to move out of the city to begin a new life.
The next panel shifts to a pair of workers on the 75th floor of the building where they uncover a pillar with an iron door. Entering the space within they find that the walls are beset with glyphs and symbols that they mistook for tribal paintings. One of the pair, took it upon himself to inspect the ceiling. As he opens one of the panels and much to their horror and surprise, a hand belonging to a dead body sticks out. Soon thereafter the ceiling comes crashing down. Unbeknownst to them and much of the New York populace, this act of opening the pillar has attracted the vampire populace of the city and prompted those who were in closest proximity to the building to start flocking to the entrance and storm the building in order to feast on its inhabitants.
The succeeding panels showed the vampires attacking every human that they encounter as they gorge themselves on blood, all amassing in the building and ravaging everyone, unchecked and unhampered. The police could not get in as all access to the building have been sealed on several floors and suspect they could even be booby-trapped. For them, it was like dealing with terrorists and harkens back to the events of 9-11.
No one knows what is going on inside the building.
Soon bodies start dropping on the ground below and by the time the comic ends, five bodies have already been dumped on the street, prompting the police to look for an expert who can give them details of the building in order to get inside. And once inside, they hope to find an answer to their lingering question, that is, if the victims themselves jumped or perhaps have been pushed.
Terry and his friends managed to get away from the balcony but got separated when a vampire burst through the ceiling and attacked. Lucky for him, he and his ex got called into another room on the 82nd floor by a woman named Gabrielle. She was one of the many people who worked in the building and in that moment, Terry and his ex-girlfriend, Mary, became the latest addition to a room full of survivors who started to barricade themselves in.
As the feeding frenzy continued throughout the entire building, and while blueprints of the building have been requested, no schematics can certainly explain the presence of a being that soon loomed out of the opened pillar on the 75th floor. Partially hidden by the shadow, the creature was tall, grey-skinned, with red eyes and had several mouths that bore fangs across its torso. One of the vampires soon utter words of supplication addressed to the being that was slowly emerged from the shadows. He is referred to as their god and Master.
Who is this "vampire god" and why was he entombed into the building’s pillar? Was the Empire State Building a site of some prison that sought to keep this creature hidden and forever buried? Most certainly we will be getting more answers to our question when the second issue comes out.
The story written by Ange and Patrick Renault is the maiden offering of Ablaze comics. This new independent publisher is cofounded by Rich Young and this vampiric tale will be a 4-issue mini-series. Rich Young himself is a veteran comics industry professional who has worked with other publishers like Dynamite Entertainment and Devil’s Due and others.
The art is graphic and plays a lot with tone and shadow which is what every vampire comic book has and should and in this case, captured perfectly and drawn with the right amount of dread (not to mention, gore) by Charlie Adlard. If the name sounds familiar that’s because he has worked with Image Comics on The Walking Dead comic series.
Ablaze has plans to release 10 titles in 2019 and as many as 50 titles by the time the new year rolls in for 2020. They also plan to publish a list of periodical comics, reprints, original graphic novels and art books. Young said his new firm will initially target direct market comics shops, but eventually intends to market its titles to the book trade as well.
It’s always a treat for consumers and readers to have new content to digest and enjoy but as the case usually is in a brand new business, no matter how solid or seemingly lucrative the business is or how well presented the product is, only time will tell if the idea will sell. In this case, let’s wait and see if their vampire can flex his wings and fly and propel sales for another installment of a potential gripping storyline.
If you ask me, I think this one will.