Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith
30 Days of Night (IDW)
Once upon a time uptight Americans thought gruesome moral tales of things that crept and slithered through the world of comics might bring down society. EC Comics and their Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror and Haunt of Fear titles caused a moral outcry in 50s suburban America and ceased publishing in 1954.
However it’s a sub-genre that has never disappeared, from Marvel’s various Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night titles to DC’s heavily horror-influenced Hellblazer and Swamp Thing. Then, of course, there’s Mike Mignola’s phenomenally popular Hellboy. Not forgetting movie titles with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, Child’s Play and Friday the 13th all supporting various spin-off titles through the years.
But it is perhaps Steve Niles who has most succinctly captured modern horror on the comics page. 30 Days of Night is a fast paced and unsettling ride that, from the first few pages, you can’t help but think, ‘Wow, this would make a great movie’. Fittingly, it is about to hit the big screen (see next issue for review).
30 Days . . . has a frighteningly simple idea at its core: the town of Barrow, Alaska is in darkness for 30 days of the year, so a cabal of vampires gather to wreak havoc uninterrupted by sunlight for a month of mass slaughter.
It’s a slick story that has made Niles the star name in horror comics. Ben Templesmith’s art is the perfect match: spooky, gritty and wonderfully evocative. Niles and Templesmith’s vampires are ugly, raw and animalistic not suave and sophisticated. 30 Days of Night has created a new universe for Niles (and other writers) to leap off from and is one of the most truly exciting horror titles on the market at the moment.