Years ago I saw this graphic novel at the comic book shop. I flipped through it a few times, but never did read it. The title, 30 Days of Night, and the image on the cover kept drawing me to it, but I just couldn’t find enough gumption to actually purchase it.
Now it’s been made in to a major motion picture and this slightly piqued my interest, yet still not enough to purchase the book.
A few days ago a coworker stopped by my desk and handed me his newly purchased copy. He warned me that it only took him 15 minutes to read, but it had a great concept.
After reading this book I can understand why it was made in to a movie, but I simply can’t see what all the adulation heaped upon Steve Niles is for.
The concept is definitely an interesting and somewhat unique one. Alaska has 30 days in which the sun does not rise, so what better place for vampires to gather and feast upon the blood of the living?
The execution of this is concept however is horrible.
30 Days of Night lends itself well to a movie format. But therein lies the problem. It feels as though it was made simply to become a movie. In fact, I felt as though I was looking at the movie’s storyboard with word balloons thrown in for fun.
The dialogue is contrived at best, the characters have no soul, and the art, while edgy, simply servers to further obscure the identities of the characters, making them that much easier to translate to the big screen, and that much harder to relate to.
Being disconnected from the characters is never a good thing in a comic book. Psychotic vampires who storm around town and kill everyone in sight isn’t frightening, it’s just gory without a point.
The plot, like the characters, feels empty and there are many unanswered holes in it.
For instance, why did the main vampire, Vincent, seem to support the group meeting in Alaska if he thought it was a terrible idea, only to show up later and shut the whole thing down? Why did the guy from New Orleans risk his life to send vampire photos back to his mother? And who was his mother anyway?
This was all just a vague attempt at setting up sequels, of which there are plenty.
Then there were outright mistakes made. Why on Earth did the main character, Ebb, claim that the only way he had seen a vampire killed was by another vampire, when seconds prior to that statement he and the others in his group killed a vampire? Steve Niles must take the reader for a complete dolt.
Whole chunks of the story felt like they were missing. But why fill in the blanks when the movie writers can do that for you?
30 Days of Night is a lazily written graphic novel. It’s a piss poor excuse for a comic book and gives independent writers a bad name. It was however, a successful attempt at getting an idea in to main stream hollywood and making a lot of money for Mr. Niles. And if the movie is a success, it will also help to generate interest in comic books in general, so I guess it’s not all bad… just mostly bad.