American Vampire, Vol. 1 (American Vampire #1) by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, Rafael Albuquerque (Illustrator)

American Vampire, Vol. 1 - Rafael Albuquerque, Scott Snyder, Stephen King

The first volume of this story moves between the 1880's and the 1920's. It begins in the twenties with the story of Pearl, a young aspiring actress living in Los Angeles.  In between picking up bit parts in movies, Pearl works several odd jobs to make her rent.  When she gets a big break - an invitation to a party by a successful director, Pearl believes that her hard work has finally paid off and that she's going to get her big break.  Pearl's gets a break alright but it leads to the end of her human life.

Volume One then takes a step back to look at the life and death of the infamous outlaw Skinner Sweet.  Just as his last name implies, Sweet, loves candy and he combines this with his love of robbing banks, violence and sleeping with prostitutes.  Sweet is not even remotely at this point an anti-hero, let alone all around good guy.  

Sweet is Pearl's sire but the connection runs a lot deeper than that.  Because they are both a new breed of vampire, the sun has no effect upon them and the old guard, (read:European Vampires) want them gone.  Sweet and Pearl represent a contamination of the blood and if that were not enough, this so-called contamination means that no one knows what they are vulnerable to. Sweet and Pearl absolutely have a target on their backs but the tie that binds them is deeper still even if it is ridiculous.

Volume one is written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King and the difference in the writing is evident from the start.  Clearly, King wanted to step away from vampires that sparkle. One guess as to who?

Houston commercial photography
It's hardly surprising given King's very adamant dislike of Twilight, based in the idea that it's "tweenager porn" and his belief that Stephanie Meyer "can't write worth a darn".  It feels as though Sweet's story is an absolute refutation of the sparkly vampire.  Sweet is most certainly not a vegetarian and he glorifies in violence.  He works his own agenda and simply cannot be tamed.  It's clear that Sweet is not a man to be taken lightly and certainly not a man to run into even casually. He is bound to no one and serves his own end. In fact, the creation of Pearl is about the only good thing that he does in this volume and it's clear an ulterior motive exists for this action.