30 Days Of Night

30 Days of Night

Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
IDW Publishing ($17.99)

By S. Clayton Moore

30 Days of Night is set in the long, dark world of Barrow, Alaska, but colors its victims in ghastly shades of red as well, so don't read this slick little volume at night. The unique setting lends this vampire story a novel premise (much in the same manner as Greg Rucka's graphic novel Whiteout, which follows a U.S. Marshall tracking a killer in Antarctica).

See, the sun doesn't rise in Barrow between November 18th and December 17th and a clever vampire named Marlowe has brought his band of undead to town for a feeding frenzy. It's not so much an assault as an all-out obliteration of one town from the face of the earth, captured in the feverish snapshots of artist Steve Templesmith and a razor-sharp script by Steve Niles, who cut his teeth in the same vein on Image Comics' Hellspawn.

"This is the world of which they have only dreamed," Niles writes. "Endless night and an endless supply of blood and meat. This is how it is meant to be: humans, like bottles, waiting for their caps to be popped." In the manner of the best horror stories, only a sole couple—in this case Barrow's husband-and-wife sheriff's team—stands in the way.

Templesmith uses a daring style that combines a bold use of ink and paint with computer manipulation to impart a dreamlike menace. It's not quite real and yet you can almost feel the bitter chill fall as the sun goes down for the last time. 30 Days of Night has been optioned as a film but don't wait until Hollywood has sucked its bones dry—get it now, while it's fresh and juicy.

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Rain Taxi Online Edition, Summer 2003 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2003