Title30 Days Of Night
Artist:Ben Templesmith – Inside Art
Ashley Wood – Covers
Robbie Robbins – Letters and Design
Content:30 Days Of Night contains graphic violence, language, and is for mature readers.
Introduction:This short three issue comic series is one of the fairy tales of the comic book industry. It quickly rocketed in popularity with its gritty content, gripping story, and artwork that was much different from what was out there at the time. These things caused the comic to go into many printings and made a star of Niles and Templesmith. The stunning news that one million dollars had been paid to option the work only added to achievement, like a cherry on a sundae, this cemented 30 Days Of Night into comic book legend.
Story:The story revolves around the small town of Barrow, Alaska, located in the northernmost part of the state. The temperatures average below freezing, and from November 18th to December 17th the sun does not rise. Sheriff Eben Olemaun and his wife Stella start to discover that something is amiss on the eve of their thirty days of night. Cell phones have been stolen and destroyed, crime is on the rise, and a mysterious stranger appears, asking for raw meat.
When they discover that it is Vampires who have laid siege to their town, it is too late to run. The long night has begun and they have not connection to the outside world. They only hope to outlast the Vampires who have turned the town of Barrow into a feast, killing openly and feeding on all they can find. Eben discovers a way to save his town and wife, but the cost may be more than he can bear.
Review:I remember getting this comic book, right about five years ago. I had heard about the concept and was able to snag on of them, fresh off the comic racks. I remember hearing about the accolades that Niles and Templesmith received, as well as the huge amount of money that came their way. Now, five years later, the feature film is about to open, and I dug back through my collection to pull out the three issue mini-series. Three issues is a hard thing to pull off, especially with a story the size and scope of 30 Days Of Night. There are many characters and even a side location/story in New Orleans. To accomplish this, there is a lot of details left out between issues, and what we see are just glimpses of the main action. The three issues could easily be divided into beginning, middle, and end. I was often wishing for a bit more to the story, but Niles couldn’t have known how big of a hit he was holding onto when they first launched the series with IDW Publishing, as I’m sure he would have expanded it.
This series really is a complete package. The covers are stark, with a lot of contrast in the white and black colors. Little bits of red drops are splattered here and there, which really draws the eye to them. While the first two covers are mostly white, the third issue is just the opposite, mostly black with a white vampire skull on it. Wood really did a nice job on them, making them an attention getter. Even going through my back issues, the covers really stood out from the rest of my comics.
The story itself is exceptionally well written, and is one of those things were other writers were thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that!” The topic of vampires using the long winter nights in the north to enable them to feast unfettered without the fear of the light driving them to sleep is one that is greatly executed.
Conclusion:Fans of the horror genre really can’t go wrong with this series, which is easily available in graphic novel format. You can still shell out around a hundred and fifty bucks for the original series though, if you have the cash.
Even though there are some small holes in the story, such as how Eben saved Stella when they were still unsure of how to kill the vampires, and the amount of story that is missed is a shame, this series is a great read. Templesmith’s art can be a love it or leave it thing, but it is certainly very different from the rest of comics out there, and it works very well for this story indeed. It’s easy to see how it became the subject of a bidding war from Hollywood, and is now a major motion picture from Sony Pictures. Before you see the film, check out the real 30 Days Of Night.