If you follow the site in any capacity then you know that we cover a large amount of independent comics, self-published titles and creator-owned material. The reason we tend to gravitate towards this area of the comic medium is because it’s where you’ll find the most diversity; diversity in genres, in creators, stories and characters. Lately we haven’t had to find the titles they’ve come to us and so we approach the material much like any of you out there would approach it. Instead of us already having dedicated our money towards something and bringing it to your attention because we love it already; instead we look at it and decide if it’s worth the money. DayBlack is worth the money.
There is something familiar and yet new about this book. I racked my brain trying to figure out what about it brought out these familiar vibes and what about it made it fresh at the same time. I still don’t have the answer. That feeling of familiarity and freshness is one of the things that make this series so damn good.
The story follows a man by the name of Merce. Merce is a vampire, but before you roll your eyes and wonder if he’s a modern or classic vampire just forget all that. He’s a vampire and that’s the only thing you need to think about. We meet Merce as he’s picking cotton and right now it’s clear that he is a slave. From there we see a female vampire dance on top of his head and run down his back and suck his blood.
Merce wakes up in his coffin that’s covered in awesome stickers, in the present. His narration runs us through his day-to-day life as a vampire; after his dream he feels like something that connects him to what it was like being human, for him this is food. The interesting thing is that he just chews it and spits it out. After that he heads to work as a tattoo artist and explains why it is that he lives in the city of DayBlack. It’s an interesting story that I’ll leave for you to read. After that Merce explains how he gets his blood, rather than stock and kill his victims he’s customized a tattoo gun that draws blood from the person while giving them a tattoo.
I really like the world this is set in. Merce’s narration comes across very personal especially in the second issue when he talks about his mother more. I do wonder about how realistic it is for ink not to be mixed in with the blood that’s drawn, but the idea was too cool to over analyze. Also his reasoning for drinking blood this way goes way beyond convenience. It actually adds to the vampire lore in a cool way.
Don’t expect a ton to happen in this story. It really is a slice of life story about a man who just so happens to be a vampire. It’s a great tale with a very strong narrative. The dialogue is kept to a minimum, but it too is strong and realistic.
What’s really appealing about both issues is the artwork. For the most part each page is one piece of artwork, but the second issue does have some more panel work during conversations. Usually when a comic only has one piece of art per a page it’s distracting or even amateurish, but here’s it’s more of an artistic choice.
Creator Keef Cross’ style at times resembles tattoos with the thick line work, the cross-stitching lines used for shadowing rather grey scale. The book is in all black, white and red and very cleverly plays into the story as well. Merce explains that vampires are color blind with the exception of red and low and behold that’s how the books is presented. The visuals are the perfect fit for the story and each page comes across as a piece of art.
This is most certainly not just a vampire book. Granted aspects of it are and there’s even a few of the genre’s tropes added to the story, but there’s a spirituality to it that doesn’t exist in other vampire stories. Also the fact that it’s not about white vampires is a plus. It’s sad that the most notable non-white vampire is Blade from Marvel Comics, so for me Merce was a welcomed breath of fresh air. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that digs vampires, but doesn’t want the thought process that’s become associated with them. The first issue is available now, but the second issue won’t be released until March 7th; so check it out at the link below.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Keef Cross Publisher: Rosarium Publishing Price: $1.99 Website