Monday, December 5, 2011

House of Night #1

Cover by Jenny Frison, Steve Morris

House of Night #1 (November 9, 2011)
Writer: Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast, Kent Dalian
Penciller: Karl Kerschl, Joëlle Jones
Colorist: Ryan Hill
Letterer: Nate Piekos

So I know the House of Night series is a young adult series that I always assumed was about vampires or ghosts or something supernatural. It’s always in the Paranormal Romance section of the teen department in bookstores so it’s got to be at least vaguely vampire-related. I don’t know, I never read them.

I obviously picked up this comic not really expecting anything one way or another. I figured I’ve never read a comic that was based off of a real novel and this would be a really quick and easy way to find out just what this series are about. Turns out, it is vampires.

Zoey Redbird (hm) was a typical teenager when suddenly she was marked as a vampyre and enrolled in the vampyre academy House of Night. It’s like an inverse Hogwarts: classes are at night, you may not live through the full vampire change and everyone’s American. I think.

Again, I have never read these books so that probably accounts for why I felt rather rushed into understanding a lot of backstory and character arcs. There was an okay job of exposition but it still felt rather jumpy. I also just wasn’t feeling the atmosphere of this issue. It reminded me of something I would’ve written in early high school (I was going through an embarrassing vampire phase then fueled mostly by Anne Rice novels). It was big on contrasting typical teens with ethereal, age-old vampires that preferred speaking like a stereotype of how we perceive gods and goddesses to talk.

I also suspect that the average YA author has no clear understanding of how teenagers talk and interact with out another outside of 1990s teen movies. There was a silly confrontation between Zoey and the cool girl who, of course, had long blond hair, strategically short skirt and a bitchy attitude. I wasn’t feeling it.

Basically, the rest of the comic was a ton of exposition of the House of Night academy and vampyres in general. It did bring in some Norse mythology, which of course appealed to me, in an effort to contextualize the vampire myth with the myths of ancient gods and goddesses. It wasn’t a bad idea and was probably one of the stronger elements of the storyline. Sadly, it was also trying to keep my interest in the contemporary plot of Zoey and her friends and that was frankly boring.

The art also did not appeal to me but it was definitely a personal aversion to this sort of art. I’m not sure what it’s called but it was definitely trying to appeal to young adults and teens. It reminded me of something out of a Disney cartoon or maybe Clone High (which was a spoof so I tolerated the ridiculous art a lot more). All the panels looked slapdash and sloppy and the coloring was big on dark purples and blues because it’s about vampires, of course.

Overall, this comic was nothing exciting or particularly engrossing. I know it’s really written for fans of the series, but it should nonetheless attempt to draw in new and unfamiliar readers.

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