REVIEW: ‘After Daylight’ Volume #1

After Daylight Volume 1

Created by Sarah Roark

2014

Art has to be constantly changing, constantly becoming something new. The fact that printed comics have been the main mode of distribution for comic books for the last eight decades, while not coming to an end, has already begun to evolve. Digital comics, on sites like Comixology and the major comic company apps, are delivering comics into your devices sooner than they could ever get into your hands off of a spinner rack.

After the launch of the Internet, who can say when the first web comics appeared? Perhaps you’d say one in particular, but you would certainly be rebutted, it’s the nature of the beast. Suffice to say that webcomics have probably been around since close to the inception of the net, and as the years go by and technology gets better, so do the comics.

After Daylight Volume 1 began in the summer of 2012, and now, with the successful funding of it’s Kickstarter project, will publish a 100-page comic. Creator Sarah Roark has been writing and drawing the whole shebang, something not unusual for web series creators, but her dedication to this comic in particular, and her humor and talent, make this a standout book.

The term “daylight” in vampire slang refers to the time when a human discovers a vampire. After Daylight is “Cat” Bernstein’s travails as a sprightly 74-year-old retired folk singer, and despite all of the romanticism inherent in vampire lore, life of the undead is not all hypnotic eyes and blood lust.

In fact, this is a story that shows how little really changes. Cat finds that he is still the same neurotic guy he was before he was turned. He still obsesses about his “mother” (the vampire that changed him) and about his “brother-in-law”. (The guy that took his place.) He worries about his retail job, not very “creature-of-the-night” and his roommate. (A girl he changed, before she found out she like girls herself.) Without the vampiric aspect, this book would be funny. Add in a bunch of undead suckers…and you get something on par True Blood meets Seinfeld.

I’m not ashamed to admit I watched True Blood for a couple of seasons. It was intriguing for a while (until each and every person in that strange little town was a were-something) because it was exploring what might happen if vampires were discovered amongst the population. Despite the comic medium, Roark’s version of events seems to stay on topic better, keeping in mind the discriminatory feelings that “regular” people would have against vamps. It’s odd to think that vampires, as a “secret” society, would suddenly feel strange when they realize that they aren’t secret anymore. But it makes sense. I guess that’s what really stands out in this book for me, that despite the smart humor and sometimes silly (in a good way) jokes, Roark sticks to her premise and sees it through. In a web comic, a medium that is by its’ nature broken up, this shows an intense amount of planning.

The art, also done by Roark, is all done in grey scale, and it works especially well for this subject matter, and recalls classic horror/humor like The Addams Family. Sarah Roark has that same kind of skill that Charles Addams did in making the creepy and often highly detailed drawings really pop on the page. I think this is partly due to the episodic nature of a web comic, allowing Roark to spend the kind of time she deems necessary on each page and therefore ending up with some deep cut detail.

Cat Bernstein is not your average “Vamp-about-town”. He has all of the foibles of a mid-twenties guy who has been artificially preserved against his will. And Sarah Roark is not your average webcomic creator. Her passion for the subject matter and skill at both writing and drawing are evident on page one. After Daylight is the vampire comedy for the 21st century.

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