Written by Gayle Middleton & Dave Dwonch
Art by Amanda Coronado with Bill Blankenship
Review by Joey Braccino
Action Lab Entertainment proudly presents yet another excellent All-Ages graphic novel with a fascinating concept and quick-witted female lead! Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of reading and reviewing an advance copy of Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger graphic novel and marveled at its humor, its All-Ages accessibility, and its novel treatment of traditional superhero tropes. This week, I had the distinct pleasure of reading and reviewing a comic about baby vampyres and the teenage girl thrust into the arduous task of babysitting the little bloodsuckers. Vamplets is a fun, visually stunning graphic novel that blends coming-of-age and horror a la films like Paranorman and Beetlejuice.
Vamplets, like a lot of the new creator-driven comics coming out, garnered a lot of attention via a successful Kickstarter campaign. What makes this story of baby creatures of the night so novel, however, is that the concepts behind the comic are actually derived from a line of plush toys featuring the tiny creatures of Gloomvania. Gayle Middleton, co-writer for this graphic novel and former designer for My Little Pony, created the line of plush toys a few years ago and launched the Kickstarter to help fund a new selection of paraphernalia, including a Vamplets comic.
The action of Vamplets starts in Gloomvania, where a baby boom of Vampyre vamplets worries the powers that be. It turns out that the Vampyres aren’t interested in taking the 777 years necessary to raise a little vamplet, so the Nightmare Nursery is looking for a sitter. Of course, no sane zombie or werewolf would be willing to take the job, Mr. G sends an emissary to “The Outworld” to search for a suitable sitter. Enter unpopular wallflower, works-at-the-Dogsicle-stand-at-the-mall Destiny Harper. In a subversive, gloom-and-doom version of Alice In Wonderland meets the Matrix, Destiny is tumbles down the zombified-rabbit-hole of Vamplet-sitting and hilarity ensues!
Amanda Coronado’s artwork mixes manga and pop-horror into an incredibly dynamic, visually-engaging comic experience. Bill Blankenship’s color palette—rich with purples, heavy shadows, and soft pinks—balances the fairy tale and monster-mash influences of Coronado’s (and probably Middleton’s) designs.
Vamplets is another fantastic All-Ages experience from Action Lab Entertainment. While the trouble-teen female lead trope might be a little worn out, the rest of the conceptual backbone of the book more than makes up for it. And the little vamplets are adorable. Definitely worth a look when it’s released later this Fall!!!