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Words by Howard Chaykin, David Tischman - Art by David Hahn - Published by DC Comics (US), Titan Books (UK) - First published 2005 - Originally published as Bite Club 1-6
Howard Chaykin's comics are infamous for their adult themes, often marrying sex, violence and amoral characters. Bite Club is no exception. In the alternate world of Bite Club, vampires are not only real but a recognised ethnic minority, particularly prevalent in the US city of Miami where the book is set. It follows the power struggle that occurs in a mob-like family of vampires when the ultra-successful patriarch is seen off, leaving his wife and grown-up children vying for control of the barely-legit family business. Murder, incest and quite a lot of biting ensues, leaving little to the imagination.
Chaykin and Tischman have created an interesting collection of characters that eschew the problematic vampire clichés like not being able to survive daylight, but still like a drop of the old red stuff. Having been spoilt and made dysfunctional by the patriarch's money, and arrogant enough to each feel they deserve to take his place, a power struggle of epic proportions is initiated.
Hahn's ultra clean lines keep the story pumping along, while Brian Miller's wonderful colouring uses a rainbow of colours throughout the book, but only shades of one on each page. A shift in colour usually signifies a change in location and works superbly, adding instant navigation to help the reader through the story as well as looking great.
Bite Club brings the concept of the vampire out of the realm of the pale and moribund, and literally drags it out into the open, losing the gothic horror and transmogrifying it into a story of family succession and dysfunction to rival the likes of The Godfather and The Sopranos. Short, sweet and entertaining, this adult story collected in this conveniently packaged format is something of a treat, especially if vampire mobsters sounds like your sort of thing.
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