Mar 14, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 18: 30 Days of Night #2, August 2002


Issue 2 of this series does something interesting, something I certainly wasn't expecting. With a title like 30 Days of Night, I suppose I should have expected it would give us all 30 days (more or less), but since it's only a 3-issue series, I figured we'd get a few of the days, but not the whole month. Issue 2 drops us into a Barlow, Alaska that's very different from the end of last issue, where the vampires were making their way across the tundra toward the town. The Barlow of issue 2 has streets that run red with blood and ice, heads on pikes, and screaming, uncomprehending townsfolk being eaten by vampires. The 30 days have begun.

I don't have too much more to say about the art and the story that I did yesterday. Both Niles and Templesmith maintain the atmosphere expertly. Of particular note, both here and in yesterday's issue, is the differences of colour wash we see on panels taking place in Barlow and panels taking place in Louisiana. It's a small thing, but the warmth of the southern state versus the dark chill of the northern is nicely depicted through the respective tones of brown and blue.

A nice touch is that our human protagonists haven't all turned into action heroes. In fact, they're, for most of the issue, cowering in a basement hoping they won't be found and won't starve to death. Even when the sheriff scouts for food, he skulks, hiding in alleys like vermin, in some ways playing into the stereotype the vampires in the book proclaim of humans.

I should point out that I don't have issue #3, so I won't be able to comment on how the story wraps up. The introduction at the end of this issue of a vampire who thinks that the whole slaughter a town idea is a bad one throws an interesting narrative wrench into what could have been a straight ahead horror story. This twist also manages to place 30 Days of Night a little more firmly in our own world. This vampire, Vincente, asks "How many centuries has it taken for us to mesh with the living world? To make humans no longer believe we exist?" His point is that the slaughter of Barlow reveals the existence of these monsters (who are fictional, right?), and paves the way for their slaughter. Is this fictionalizing a trick that we, too, in the real world, have fallen for. Probably not.

But you never can tell....

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