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American Vampire is a comic book from Vertigo Comics.
The comic is written in arcs, each set in a different time period and locale. The first arc follows Pearl Jones, a girl struggling to make it big in Hollywood in the 1920s. The second arc follows Cashell McCorgan, a police officer during The Great Depression. The third arc follows Henry Preston joining a team of Vassals of the Morning Star agents to investigate rumors of vampires in the Japanese islands, against the backdrop of World War II. The fourth arc follows Travis Kidd, a young rockabilly vampire hunter in the 1950s as he crosses paths with the Vassals. The fifth arc beginning in April will follow one of the survivors of the Taipan mission who has now become a vampire. The sixth arc (beginning in June) will reunite Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet in 1950s Hollywood, during the Red Scare.
Thus far, there are also two mini-series, the first following Cashell and Felicia Book in Europe during WW 2, and another upcoming one that follows Felicia some time after.
The book is written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Raphael Albuquerque. Stephen King wrote "Skinner Sweet", a back-up feature for the first arc detailing the origins of the original American vampire.
The series started in May, 2010. Winner of the 2011 Eisner Award for Best new series.
The series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Pearl is no pushover. After being attacked by the Hollywood Coven and being turned by Skinner, she does not hesitate to bring on the pain to those who have wronged her. Abilena also fits this trope.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Rears its head at the ending of Survival of the Fittest, when The Ancients that Pavel had been nurturing back to health wake up and save Felicia and Cash before tearing into the Nazi Vampires and utterly slaughtering them.
- Ax Crazy: Skinner Sweet. Hattie's getting there fast.
- Back From the Dead: Skinner in #23
- Battle Cry: "Semper Fi, Motherfuckers!"
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pearl is a nice girl, until you push her. The Hollywood Coven found this out the hard way.
- The Chosen One: One of the The Ancients in Survival of the Fittest says this to Felicia in its language before she escapes.
- Decapitation Presentation: Skinner does this *shudder*.
- Distressed Damsel: Pearl starts off as one. It didn't work out so well. So she went Action Girl and got revenge.
- Eldritch Abomination: Potentially what the progenitors of the vampire race are.
- Faux Affably Evil: Skinner Sweet again.
- Game Face: The new breed pass for human easily, but when fighting or feeding or angry, they shift to clawed and fanged monsters.
- Glasgow Grin: Hattie now has one of these. She covers it with makeup.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Cashel McCorgan at the end of the Survival of the Fittest arc.
- Hemo-Erotic: Henry and Pearl love to have bite-y, feeder sex with each other.
- Hollywood: Pearl starts out as an actress trying to work her way up in the movie biz... until she gets invited to the wrong party...
- Hollywood History: The earliest parts of the story go back to The Wild West, skips a few decades, then starts again in the Roaring Twenties. So far, every main story arc has taken place around ten years after the last, with the story progressing through The Great Depression and World War II. Judging by some solicitations, the trend will continue at least through The Fifties.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The series has a few:
- Erik Pavel and Cash Mccogan in Survival of the Fittest
- In Ghost War, The Vicar is infected and grabs a string of grenades and rushes into a crowd of Japanese vampires, killing them all and saving Calvin and Henry.
- Killed Off for Real: Skinner Sweet as of the end of the Ghost War arc.
- Kryptonite Factor: Moonless nights and
quite possiblyrecently confirmed, gold.
- Les Yay: Pearl take Hattie's betrayal very badly,as though they'd just had an extremely bad breakup.Hattie is the same way before the betrayal tearfully demanding the doctor take her blood to replace Pearls.
- Lizard Folk: the Japanese Vampires in the Ghost War Arc are eyeless lizard-men with huge fangs.
- May-December Romance: Partially invoked, but mostly subverted with Book and his goddaughter Abilena. Abilena wanted to invoke this trope, but Book is creeped out by the idea. He even tells her he thinks of her as his own daughter. Still, when he wants her to kill him, she agrees to do it if he will impregnate her first.
- Oral Fixation Fixation: Skinner Sweet loves peppermint sticks-- even as a vampire.
"Do you motherfuckers have any candy?"
- Our Vampires Are Different: The new breed has powers that the older vampires lack. (So far, they have elongated finger-claws, rattlesnake fangs, and are powered by sunlight, only becoming vulnerable during the nights of the new moon.) There are also several other types of Vampires. Heck, they have an entire taxonomy for them:
- The types of vampires seen so far have been the European vampires (traditional vampires also known as Carpathian vampires, who believe themselves to be the dominant species), American vampires (jaws like rattle snakes and powered by the sun), Gaelic-Prime vampires, a shape-shifting type that is actually quite nice. Its other form is a pretty vicious looking creature with giant bat-like wings ( Cashell's adoptive father was one before being killed by Sweet ), and the newest vampire that has been shown is the Japanese vampire, a creepy looking thing with giant fucking teeth and no eyes. Yes... their vampires are definitely different.
- The 'Survival of the Fittest' arc also revealed a few minor bloodlines, apparently ancestors of the Carpathian breed, who are vulnerable to different bands of the ultraviolet spectrum. It also revealed ancient vampires, enormous, golem-like creatures who's skin is so tough that it only tarnishes slightly when exposed to direct sunlight.
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: Pearl's out for vengeance on the Hollywood vampire coven, and Skinner's old enemies want to put an end to his depredations. Not to mention what Hattie does to her captor...
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Skinner and Pearl both go on these, against their enemies. Hattie's also started one, against Pearl.
- Roaring Twenties: Pearl's story starts there.
- Slasher Smile: American Vampires do these real well.
- Someone to Remember Him By: When Book wants Abilena to put him out of his misery, she agrees on the terms that he will impregnate her first so she will have this at least.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Played straight with the Euro vamps while the American species have distorted reflections.
- The Wild West: Skinner's story starts there.
- The Great Depression: Cashell's story starts here.
- The Virus: Unlike most depictions, humans can only be turned into vampires by being infected with the blood of a vampire, not just by being bitten.
- Played straight with the Japanese vampires, who are completely feral. A single drop of their blood coming into contact with your skin will turn you almost instantly.
- Undead Child: Cash's son was born a vampire because of Sweet's actions and Cash's wife's death. Cash's attempting to find a cure for him is what his motivation in Survival of the Fittest is.
- Took a Level In Badass: Pearl, of course... and Hattie.
- Unstoppable Rage: Pearl. After the Hollywood Coven does bad things to her, her rage is only stopped when they're corpses.
- Vampires Are Rich: The Hollywood Coven is. The American vampires? Not so much.
- Vampire Hunter: The Vassals of the Morningstar are a secret society of Vampire Hunters dating back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: While Henry's usually able to handle himself, if he's in over his head, particularly against vampires, Pearl's right there and ready to rumble.
- World War II: The third arc of American Vampire takes place in the Pacific theater (Skinner Sweet, Pearl and Henry continue their story here) while the mini-series Survival of the Fittest takes place in Europe (Cashell and Felicia continue their story here).
- Worthy Opponent: Skinner sees Jim Book as this, going so far as to murder an actor that was portraying Book saying that he's not fit to wear the name.
- It seems that Travis Kidd may now be taking that spot, as he seems to impress Skinner a great deal in their fight.