“They have feasted on the men, women and children of Barrow without mercy and without pause. This is the world of which they have only dreamed. Endless night and an endless supply of blood and meat. This is how it is meant to be: Humans, like bottles, waiting for their caps to be popped.”
Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost city of the United States. It experiences a polar night where the sun sets for an extended period of time. This is the setting for 30 Days of Night. The 2002 three issue series is written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. It follows the residents of Barrow as they are attacked by a group of Vampires during their polar night. The concept of the comic book is interesting in itself. Vampire myth focuses on how the creatures need the dark of night and can not survive in the day. Setting their story in a place where night is constant for awhile is a brilliant move by Niles and Templesmith. Although the vampires are feasting on a majority of the Barrow residents, the vampire elder decides the secrecy of vampires must be preserved so he orders the entire town to be burned and every human to be massacred.
The simple story of this comic is very effective and paced well. With only three issues in this initial comic, the story flows well from panel to panel – page to page. Several sequels were spawned from these three issues all of which were collected in trade paperbacks and hardcovers. A feature length film was also created. Much like a classic horror movie, the comic flows vivaciously and is a chilling representation of facing an enemy you no little of in a place isolated from everything. There is nothing scarier then the monsters in the dark. 30 Days of Night nails that concept.
Artwork can completely transform a comic. Gray, black, and white paint a fascinating picture of the horrors going on in Barrow. Accompanied by splashes of red and orange, the art is really beautiful albeit difficult to tell what is going on during a few panels. Nontraditional comic art is always the most appealing, personally. There are hundreds of comics all with similar styles of art so those that think outside of that box are zebras in a field of horses. Templesmith’s work is perfect for the story that is being told. It paints an emotional picture of darkness and isolation in a snowy, harsh climate.
30 Days of Night is a good story with wonderful art. It is also quite scary playing on basic fears and amplifying them ten fold.