How is it already October?
This feels like a heavy month already.
We swallow tragedy with our morning coffees, both brand new and ongoing. And feel powerless in the face of it.
And just before Halloween all of my retesting will net me a hopefully new diagnosis. I'll hear my own personal fate not long before my favorite holiday.
The only thing I can think of to make things feel lighter is to celebrate the season, and that means celebrating the scary and the mystifying.
This is and always will be my favorite time of year-when dark stories are growing out of the ground right alongside pumpkins. The imaginary horror acts like an inoculation against the actual frightening things. It's both a form of escape and one of purpose because most horror fiction reminds readers that bravery and heroism are important.
I can't speak for everyone, I know dark fiction is an acquired taste, but if you could use a good story then I recommend Dark Horse's "Mister Quinlan: Vampire Hunter" series. It's a short read at only five installments and deals with the origin of one of my favorite vampire half-breeds.
The Strain just recently finished airing the four seasons of its television series, and this is one of those rare times when I would highly recommend both the television series AND the books to any fan of horror.
Obviously, the books pack a harder wallop. It's a tough story to tell, one of a violent species overthrowing humanity, and if at some point you don't find tears in your eyes, you might not have read it correctly.
But the television series is by no means bad, it's just different. And the actors were amazing. So you could go with either or both.
And the comics are gorgeous, too, if you aren't in the mood for a novel series. Once you've dabbled in that, you are going to have questions about some characters, and Quinlan will be at the top of your list.
That's where this specific series set comes in.
Mister Quinlan is a pivotal character, and he most certainly deserves this set of short comics devoted just to the circumstances of his rather tough life.
The images are wonderful, but the narration is accurate enough that you'll be able to read it in his voice. That alone is worth the price of admission because this character is an immortal vampire fighting for the humans.
This isn't the first time that story has been done (Blade and Vampire Hunter D are two of my other favorite heroes) but something about the characters born of dark circumstances and them turning that around is incredibly appealing. I think it's even more powerful as a narrative if you yourself have come from terrible circumstances. These characters are symbols, reminders that you can be related to monsters and not one of them.
It's as poetic as it is fascinating, though it's definitely dipped in several layers of blood and gore-that's a hallmark of The Strain. There aren't any moments of looking away-not in the book, the television series, or the comics.
So if you are a vampire fan or a fan of the series, go ahead and grab all five of these. I ordered mine digitally and it read well on my Kindle-the illustrations are vivid, so don't let worrying about that deter you.
Vampire halflings make for some kick-ass horror fiction.
Credit to the photographer for the background for the sketch