Categorized | Comics

Anita Blake: The First Death Graphic Novel Review

Posted on July 9, 2008 by Monica Valentinelli

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In this hardcover edition of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death, fans will get both issues in the series, as well as the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Handbook. Published by Marvel with a retail price of $19.99, the book is a prequel to Laurell K Hamilton’s best-selling novel Guilty Pleasures, which is the first in the Anita Blake series.

Adapting a comic book from a novel series isn’t an easy thing to do, because of the novel’s rich format, rife with details and setting descriptions. Additionally, the Anita Blake series is told from the first person point-of-view, which can be challenging to display visually in a graphic novel. Stray too far from the point-of-view, and you may encounter oddities–things that the main character (Anita Blake) may be describing but hasn’t seen yet. A nod to the writing team of Laurell K Hamilton and Jonathon Green, each scene was pointed and specific to Anita’s character.

The story begins with a crime scene; from the first page we realize that this is a world not unlike our own, fraught with vampires and who knows what else. As a prequel to Guilty Pleasures, the story was written for a purpose: here we first come to understand her involvement with the police through a serial killer case that targets children. Through her investigation, we learn that Anita has a unique ability–she has the “gift” of re-animating the dead. Clues lead her to her first meeting with the sexy vampire Jean Claude at the strip club named “Guilty Pleasures.” One thing leads to another, and we see a more vulnerable side to Anita as she works with Manny–the guy risking life and limb to teach her how to be a vampire hunter–and Edward “one of the most dangerous human beings I’d ever met.”

While she is investigating the child serial killer, Anita continues working her day job as a “reanimator,” or someone who brings back the dead–for a fee. When she finds out that her case intersects with Edward and the child serial killings, the action quickly heats up.

The interior artwork by Wellington Aves has a different feel to it; when you couple the style with the coloring performed by Color Dojo, you have a style that shows off the Anita Blake universe in 3D due to the intense coloring technique. I thought it was a nice touch that the overall product that the cover art, produced by Brett Booth and Ron Lim, and the interior artwork are very similar.

Brett Booth also produced the interior artwork for the Guilt Pleasures Handbook packaged with this product. This addition to the graphic novel makes the product a “must-have” for fans because here you can see the visual adaptation of the setting, along with a detailed description. From Animators, Inc to Zachary, everything you’ve read about in the novel Guilty Pleasures is there, in full color print.

If you’re curious about the Anita Blake series, this is a good place to see if you would like to invest the time in the best-selling novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. Please note that this is a graphic novel intended for adults; there is a warning label to that effect on the back cover.

Whether you’re new to the series or just curious, this is a neat addition to the graphic novel format produced by Marvel. I hope that we will see more adaptations of novels to this format in the years to come.

Feel free to read our other content related to Anita Blake like the Blood Noir Review or our interview with Laurell K Hamilton.

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