Cowboys And Indigenous Vampires: Advance Review Of ‘West Of Sundown’ #1
by Olly MacNamee
West of Sundown #1 is a glorious and gory hybrid of Sergio Leone westerns mixed with the best of Hammer House of Horror. A story of an America emerging from the Civil War and heading towards the 20th century. But, with more than one foot in the past and in the Old World of Europe. A Supernatural spaghetti western from Tim Seeley, Aaron Campbell, Jim Terry, Triona Farrell and Vault Comics.
When you think of classic gothic horror you probably imagine cold, distant castles in dour, dreary and dire isolated European settings. But, Vault Comics newest horror title, West of Sundown #1 takes the trappings of the genre and transports them to the New World of America in the late 19th century, and the much warmer clime of the west coast. A mix of classic Western and classic horror, with plenty of allusions to literary classics along the way too.
Writers Tim Seeley and Aaron Campbell are no strangers to the horror genre and waste little time in introducing the central characters, the vampire Constance Der Abend (surely the surname, German for “the night”, is no coincidence?) and her human consort and servant, Dooley, an Irish immigrant fighting in the American Civil War. And while the backdrop is that of the Western, this is also an America finding itself, finding its identity. A country of immigrants and violence, but also the supernatural. As Seeley himself sums it up in the initial PR, this is a world of “Sergio Leone Westerns and Hammer Horror films.” There are moments of urban refinery and rough and ready cowboy culture in equal measure. A magnificent snapshot of America in the dining decades of the 19th century.
Jim Terry’s artwork reminds me of Francesco Francavilla; an art aesthetic that harkens back to a more pulp fiction era, and very suiting for this particular tale. Triona Farrell’s colours evoke both the gothic and the classic Western, with sunsets that burn through the page, and dreary nights that hint at the horrors that can lurk in the shadows. And it’s this majestic use of colours that is so integral to the success of the story unfolding here. All-in-all its a very cinematic story even though most of the issue is told without the reliance on widescreen panels.
The Western has always been a genre that mythologised America’s past, and with the addition of horror into it West of Sundown #1 is a grand, gun-toting, gory story exploring vampire mythos, American history and the wild, wild west. With the promise of more horror to come.
West of Sundown #1 is out April 6th from Vault Comics