REQUIEM: VAMPIRE CHEVALIER
by Pat Mills and Olivier Ledroit
What can I say about Pat Mills? He’s practically the British Stan Lee. He founded the UK’s #1 long-running comic magazine 2000AD back in 1976 and it’s still going strong today. One of his greatest creations is SLAINE, who I’ve talked about in a previous review (SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD). Pat has authored many long-running 2000AD characters, but he also has been telling the story of “vampires in hell” in the pages of HEAVY METAL magazine for the past few years.
REQUIEM: VAMPIRE CHEVALIER is the fantastic creation of Mills and French artist extraordinaire Oliver Ledroit. It was released over time in 10 volumes of 50 pages each. Yes, that’s a 500-PAGE GRAPHIC NOVEL. The art is, in a word, spectacular. Each panel is fully painted, and Ledroit has some of the coolest designs and otherworldly landscapes in the history of graphic novels. You don’t have to be a vampire fan to enjoy REQUIEM; there are plenty of different monsters, spectres, werewolves, and demonic entities to go around. (FYI: “Chevalier” is the French word for “Knight.”)
Here’s how Wiki describes the basic plot: “The story is set in a world called Resurrection [where] people are re-incarnated into monsters according to the sins of their life. Vampires form the elite of the society and the ruling class. The more cruel one was in life, the better he is rewarded on Resurrection…[where] everything appears to be the opposite way around than on Earth. Land has replaced the oceans, while seas of perpetual fire occupy our known continents and time flows backwards. People do not get older but rejuvenate until they become a foetus and ultimately are forgotten; their memory follows the same cycle and is ‘lost’ as people get younger.”
That only scratches the surface. What we have in REQUIEM is one of the most beautifully-drawn horror tales every created. A true odyssey of macabre adventure. There’s really no describing in words what Ledroit’s eye-popping, jaw-dropping art does on the page. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how beautiful he makes this horrible world seem. The vampires are vicious, gorgeous, and sadistic, waging an eternal war against the “Gods of Limbo” and their undead servants. But all of this spectacular art would be beside the point if the story wasn’t so well told. Pat Mills is a master storyteller, and REQUIEM: VAMPIRE CHEVALIER is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Currently HeavyMetal.com offers this story in a number of different packages: You can order the REQUIEM Collection, Volumes 1 and 2, which includes the first 6 chapters of the 10-chapter story. Each volume will set you back about $20 before shipping. Chapters 7-10 are not yet available in print in the USA.
HOWEVER—if you have a Kindle or E-Reader—you’re in luck! You can download ALL TEN CHAPTERS for $4 each. Finally, the best possible deal—the one I chose—gets you the ENTIRE 10-chapter, 500-page graphic novel for a measly $20!!! This kind of rare deal, folks, is the reason I bought a Kindle Fire in the first place.
I’ve read the first 3 volumes and am currely on the 4th. I’ve never been more grateful to have an e-reader. The painted panels look gorgeous on my hi-def Kindle Fire. One caveat: The story of REQUIEM does feature a lot of violence, blood, and sadistic behavior. But what would you expect? It’s about vampires fighting an eternal war for control of a hellish afterlife!
For fans of fully-painted, non-superhero graphic novels, it just doens’t get any better than REQUIEM: VAMPIRE CHEVALIER. But don’t take my word for it, go to www.heavymetal.com and look at the free samples from each volume. Your eyes will pop, your blood will race, and your mind will be blown. Mine certainly was—and continues to be every time I dive into a new chapter.
Could REQUIEM: VAMPIRE CHEVALIER be the greatest vampire epic ever written? I say “Yes, it very well could be.” If you’re not offended by violence and nudity, you must check out this book.
THE SPECTRAL LINK
by Thomas Ligotti
Getting any new material from the great Tom Ligotti is always a special treat. A dark treat, of course, with an edge of insanity and super weirdness. Ligotti is one of the greatest living horror writers, but the last decade hasn’t been a prolific one for him. He only writes when he’s inspired to write, and thankfully he’s getting inspired again.
THE SPECTRAL LINK is a small hardcover containing one short story (“Metaphysica Morum”) and a novella (“The Small People”). It’s metaphysical horror firmly in the “weird fiction” tradition. As I expected, both stories are brilliant examples of what Ligotti does best.
What’s different about this volume, compared to his other works, is a dark sense of humor that penetrates both stories. The humor never distracts from the dread and horror of the tales, but adds a new facet to the gleaming diamond of Ligotti’s talent.
Instead of describing the plot and contents of each story, let me just say that any horror fan—or any fan of weird fiction—should get this book immediately. It’s delightfully creepy and completely original, just like all of Ligotti’s work.
Here’s piece I posted here back in March about Ligotti: