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Vampires of the Pacific Northwest

Redmond writer releases comic book



When comics were just "funny books" and specifically aimed at kids (young boys to be precise), heroic men punching dastardly villains with a large "WHAM" or "BANG" drawn in was enough. But as the demographic has expanded far beyond young boys—and even grownup boys—and into girls and women, with expectations of more varied and sophisticated artwork and storylines, the comic book industry has changed dramatically over the past decade; namely, the long-form narrative arcs with strong character development and smart dialogue has become increasingly popular.

Really, after all, it is just not as much fun to see a super team save the world if you don't care about its members. For example, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby deserve their accolades for creating the X-Men and the characters of Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, and Angel. But it wasn't until Len Wein (and eventually Chris Claremont) and artist Dave Cockrum introduced Nightcrawler, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Storm, and Banshee and brought in Wolverine, that they were cooking with fire. Not only did characters have the good-versus-evil external conflicts, but added dimensions with their internal struggles and interpersonal lives.

That new protocol sets the framework for Redmond comic book writer Baleriano Gaona Jr. and his small press Mythos Unlimited Comics, who have released the first issue of their first comic, The Nobodies: Requiem. The plot sounds familiar at first: a team of good vampires are searching for a mythic chain that will help them do battle against the bloody and ruthless Northern Vampire Horde, who are getting ready to mount an attack against Salem, Oregon. The macguffin (the chain) is interesting enough to make the mythology pop, while we get just enough character set-up to make us want to learn more about the people involved in saving the world.

The pencils and inks from Samir Simao are strong, adding just enough character detail to make all the white-faced, black-haired males have different personalities. Gaona Jr.'s writing is interesting because he brings some of Claremont's big, operatic hero writing (lines of dialogue like, "So eager to die? Bring it on then," and "Witness my power!" are included, matched with crimson images of vampires torn to shreds) to an adult and bloody story of vampires in the Pacific Northwest. The mash-up feels incongruous at first until the tone settles into something fun and unique.

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