Tony's Reviews > Life Sucks

Life Sucks by Jessica Abel
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May 05, 10

bookshelves: graphic-storytelling
Read in January, 2010, read count: 1

I grabbed this from the library when I was looking for something I could start and finish during my 45-minute lunch break, and it pretty much hit the spot. Don't get me wrong, it's not the kind of amazing graphic novel you go out and buy as a birthday gift for your hipster friends, it's more of a fluffy sugary treat, quick and fairly fun. The story is probably best described as Clerks meets '80s John Hughes teen flicks -- with vampires. Basically, the authors are taking the popular image of vampires as sexy eternal lords who live well, and satirizing it with a cast of scrub vampires whose finances revolve around convenience stores and coffee shops, and generally look like shlubs.

Dave is one such shlub, a relatively newly minted vampire relegated to working the night shift at his vampire lord's Los Angeles convenience store. In a direct nod to Clerks, his best friend works next door at a copy shop (the 2008 version of a video store). Dave is pretty lame vampire, unwilling to drink real human blood, and thus perpetually run down due to his subsistence plasma diet. Naturally enough, he has a crush on a beautiful (non-vampire) goth chick whom he sees around. Also naturally enough, just as he gears himself up to approach her, a rival emerges in the form of a more traditionally virile and ruthless vampire (here in the form of handsome, macho surfer dude).

This love plotline goes pretty much as expected, although the writers do a nice trying to show how the goth chick's fantasy of being a vampire clashes with the reality as experienced by Dave and others. There are some pretty good gags, and nice deadpan humor (like Dave's roommate, a regular slightly nerdy human who seems entirely unfazed by Dave's transformation and vampire friends.), but ultimately, the characters are all "types" rather than fully realized people, and as such, sometime act in ways that don't really make sense, simply to drive the plot forward. It also doesn't help that the ending is poorly handled, with a major resolution taking place off-page and the whole thing kind of just petering out (perhaps in a nod to real life?). On the whole, a diverting enough read but not a book to go out of your way for, unless you're a vampire fanperson and want to see a different take.

Oh yes, I should note that as with everything this publisher puts out, the artwork is above average and the colorwork and production is top notch.
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