The Horror Honeys: A Comics Honey Review of 'Vampire Guardian Angels'

A Comics Honey Review of 'Vampire Guardian Angels'

Vampire Guardian Angels 1 & 2

Author: Lia Scott Price
Artist: Andrew Setter (Artwork) Chad 
Hammontree (Colourist/Letterer)
Publisher: Lia Scott Price Productions
Released: 2012

Artwork 4/5
Layout 2/5
Writing 1/5
Characters 2/5
Re-Readability 1/5
Total: 2 out of 5

While reading through my comic feeds on twitter, I often find posts about the indie comic series Vampire Guardian Angels. While the title is a bit corny, the concept and artwork was interesting enough to do a review about this little known title.

The summary of the comic reads: Guardian Angels from Heaven have become Vampires who kill people who pray for help to them, and both humans and “good” angels have to work to stop them. Gabriel, sick of answering prayers and protecting humans, targets and kills them instead. 

Artwork

The first thing that pops into mind is the artwork. Stark black and white illustrations by artist Andrew Setter, creates a gothic Sin City like setting with splashing of blood red for effect. He has a good hand with rendering shadows and texture through uses of spot blacks, hatching, and stippling techniques. Not to mention his character designs of the vampires look pretty freaky, with a set of teeth a piranha would be envious of. At this point, this is the highlight of the review: everything else however...

Layout

This is where things start to go downhill for the comic, for the layout of the comic pages is really really difficult to read, which is Comic Creation 101. You’re not hundred percent sure whether you should jump to this panel or to that panel. Some of the pages are pretty straight forward but others combined with the lettering, can really confuse the reader. While reading a few of the pages, I had to read through more than once to get the narrative. Also the lettering made this book hard to get through; this might be due to the issues in the layout of the artwork, making the job difficult for the letterer. Chad Hammontree manages to make the dialogue bubbles and SFX legible and clear to read, but the arrangement of the lettering makes reading the comic a chore, instead of an enjoyable hobby.

Writing

This comic was adapted from Lia Scott Price’s novels of the same name. I can’t comment on the source material but I think that there was some issue with translating the novels to the comic script. The writing and the plot jumps all over the place and the interesting details that are mentioned in dialogue, are not illustrated in the comic, which is a real shame.

Vampire Guardian Angels didn't seem to know the rule of “Show or Tell”: certain details or plot ideas might be better explained with artwork, rather than told by a character. The same thing works in reverse: less important details don’t need to be fleshed out in a sequence.

The biggest disappointment to me so far was that there was little to no detail about how or why the change of the angels occurred in the first place. While some may say, “It will be explained later!,” it would help your story to have some foreshadowing early in the book. Otherwise, this plot is going way too fast before the audience can get a grasp on what is going on.

Characters

The same problems that exist with the writing also can be said for the characters: due to the issues with the plot and writing it is hard to get a grasp on the characters and their motivations. So many questions are asked: Why did Gabriel fall? Who is Janos? Why is he angry at the world? What’s his background? Then there is his girlfriend Leah, who is completely useless other than a plot device, and to provide red colour to the pages. There are also other Angels who are equally useless, providing redundant narration to their actions. Overall, this comic fails to prove the WHO as well as the WHY and gives no reason why we should care, and even over the two volumes I was sent, those questions weren’t really answered.

The sad thing is, the most interesting part of the book, is the scene with a random group of vampires (a cameo of death metal band, Enthraller) in which they provide exposition about the story, which we could have used near the BEGINNING OF THE DAMN COMIC!

Re-Readability

I couldn’t rate this very high: because of the poor comic layouts and pacing of story and bad writing, it really makes it difficult to read more than once.

Conclusion

While the initial concept is interesting and the artwork is pretty good, I couldn't overlook the poor production of the comic. It makes a lot of novice mistakes for an independent series, which can make or break a comic, especially when competing against hundreds of other indie studios vying for the Internet’s attention.

Overall, if I were a comic publisher looking for submissions, I would pass on this one. Vampire Guardian Angels would been better kept as a novel series, or for future comic issues, the team should spring for the services of an editor.

Read Vampire Guardian Angels


Lia Scott Price Productions