Shelby: Appropriately enough, I watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula last night. In the movie, Vlad the Impaler becomes a vampire after desecrating a chapel, denouncing God, and drinking the blood that pours from a cross he himself stabbed. That’s why crosses make them recoil and pieces of the Sacrament burn; their powers are derived from the Devil. Despite this connection, American Vampire: Second Cycle finds our blood-thirsty protagonist being hunted by the Devil himself. If you know the world Scott Snyder created with his first cycle of American Vampire, though, it’s not all that surprising. The American vampires have had a rebellious, outlaw streak in them ever since the first one came around.
Scott: Horror is a difficult genre for me. I have a tendency to avoid it because I don’t like gore. It’s to my own detriment, I’ll admit, since I love the tension that only comes from good horror stories. I love that sense of dread, that pervasive fear of the unknown, the idea that something — anything — could emerge from the dark at any moment. That sort of tension is interesting to me, because it doesn’t imply that anything scary is happening, or even will happen, just that it could, at any moment. I swear there’s an episode in the final season of Breaking Bad with a low, ominous tone running through the whole thing, start to finish. It’s almost comical, really, but it made for a damn compelling hour of TV. Tension like that has to be earned, and when it is, it’s the best. American Vampire: Second Cycle 2 is at that level. For my money, this is as good as horror gets.
Jerry Seinfeld, Seinfeld
Drew: I spend a lot of time (maybe too much) thinking about form in narratives. Why do plot points happen when they do? How are they foreshadowed? How are they recalled? For all of my time and energy spent focused on these questions, however, I don’t have a lot of answers — theories for sure, but no solid explanations. Like, why arch forms are so pleasing to us. The return is an important part of the Heroes’ journey, but I’ve always been more satisfied with the more character-based return, like the Seinfeld quote above. It appears both in the series’ pilot and finale, and while the characters have entered a very different status quo by the series’ end, there’s something incredibly pleasing about the same turn of phrase returning verbatim. I’d like to suggest that it’s because it reinforces some fundamental truth about the characters — such that the very final scene of the very final episode is just as good of an introduction to the characters as the very first scene of the very first episode. That kind of consistency is incredibly difficult in any serialized medium, where the characters may need to settle in a bit before truly becoming themselves (and may change a great deal over the course of the narrative), but writer Scott Snyder manages a similarly impressive reintroduction here at the midpoint of American Vampire. Continue reading