Vampire’s Christmas

Story by Joseph Michael Linsner
Art by Joseph Michael Linsner and Mike Dubisch
48 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

With the month of December comes a lot of different holidays, among them Christmas. When it comes to Christmas, you can probably find more stories about it than any other holiday (although Halloween certainly comes a close second), most of them cheerful and upbeat. Maybe that’s what Joseph Michael Linsner had in mind when he created The Vampire’s Christmas, a graphic novel that is ultimately anything but upbeat.

Esque the Vampire is not having a good day. If it was up to him, he’d sleep through Christmas entirely. Thanks to the jingling of bells in the subway station he’s wide awake now, though, and that means that he’s hungry. But on Christmas Eve, when the streets and stores are full of bustling people running last minute-errands, is it really that hard to find just one lonely person for Esque to feed on?

When you look at the cover of The Vampire’s Christmas it’s easy to think that this is going to be a light-hearted tale about a vampire learning the meaning of Christmas, with his scowling face as his hands are clasped together in prayer while standing next to a pine tree with bat ornaments all over it. The reality, though, is anything but. Esque is a proper little rotter who stomps his way through The Vampire’s Christmas in a huff. The problem with The Vampire’s Christmas is that it’s difficult to care about what Esque does. Linsner tries to show that Esque has at least some positive points in his encounter with Waldo the pedophile, but his positive points are few and far between. Generally speaking, Esque is portrayed as little more than a savage animal who just happens to single out a bad person in its rampages. It’s hard to say if you as a reader are supposed to be with or against Esque as he sneers and scoffs his way through The Vampire’s Christmas, but I must admit that this reader felt bad for anyone unlucky enough to cross his path. (Well, except for the pedophile, but really, who wouldn’t?)

The art, on the other hand, is a nice treat. I really enjoyed seeing Linsner’s art with Eva Hopkins in Dawn: Three Tiers, and his collaboration here with Mike Dubisch looks just as nice. Linsner’s one of the few artists often referred to as a “bad girl” artist who actually understands how the human body is formed, and it shows in his work. People come in all shapes and sizes here, from skinny to pudgy, from voluptuous to lanky, and all points in-between. The Vampire’s Christmas is very easy on the eyes, and Dubisch’s painted colors are nicely understated here, enhancing but never distracting from the storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, based on Linsner’s cover painting I’d be delighted if he’d painted the entire graphic novel himself… but if Linsner wants to collaborate with Dubisch for future books, I’m not going to complain. Especially if we get more images like the final shot of Esque and the Blood Angel embracing. Wow.

In the end, The Vampire’s Christmas is a must have if you’re a fan of Linsner’s art. At $5.95 for an 8.5×11″ graphic novel on nice paper stock, this is an absolute steal. If you’re a casual buyer, well, if you’ve got a sour outlook on Christmas, this book is probably written especially for you. For those who like Christmas, well, you better take this with a grain of salt (or twelve) and focus more on how gorgeous the book looks. Trust me, it does.

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1 comment to Vampire’s Christmas

  • Joe

    This was an amazing comic/novel. The art was in it’s element and the story wasn’t half bad