Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives: Volume 1

Review by Leroy Douresseaux
September 17, 2007

Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives is the third manga series created from the joint publishing venture between American manga publisher, TOKYOPOP, and book publishing giant, HarperCollins. The other two are Warriors: The Last Warrior and Avalon: Coronation. Like these two title, Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives is based upon a popular "Young Adult" novel series, in this case, Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber. A side story to the main book series, Blood Relatives is written by Ellen Schreiber and adapted for comics by Diana McKeon Charkalis, with art by rem (aka Priscilla Hamby).

Vampire Kisses is set in the town of Dullsville where goth girl Raven Madison just doesn't fit in with anyone or anywhere, especially at conservative Dullsville High. Raven gets her fondest wish when she meets teen vampire, Alexander Sterling. A sensitive artist, Alexander finds true love with Raven, but the duo can only date at night, obviously because Alexander can only come out at night.

Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives, Vol. 1 introduces another hitch in Raven and Alexander's relationship. While spending a romantic night in Dullsville's lonely graveyard, the couple discovers four freshly dug graves with empty coffins. Soon, Alexander learns that these are the nighttime homes of his cousin, Claude Sterling as his gang of punk vampires. Claude and his crew are half-breed vampires, which means they can live out in the sunlight, but they want to be pure bloods (who can't live in the sunlight). Claude, who was always jealous of the pureblood Alexander, is back, and he's looking to settle scores. When Raven gets caught in the middle of this feud, she finds herself on the precipice of betrayal.

[This book also includes an excerpt of the juvenile novel, Vampire Kisses 4: Dance with a Vampire by Ellen Schreiber.]

THE LOWDOWN: With its sweet-natured, easy-going teen romance and PG-13-rated horror, Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives is pitch-perfect as a sort of "Young Adult" graphic novel. Ellen Schreiber has basically put her book series in a nutshell, and Diana McKeon Charkalis has done a fine job scripting it into a graphic narrative.

The surprise star here is the artist, rem, a former winner of TOKYOPOP's "Rising Stars of Manga" contest. She is an unexpectedly strong storyteller for her lack of experience, and her drawing skills are mature -- not to mention the fact that she is much better than many veteran American artists when it comes to drawing black and white comics. rem is a star in the making. Now, she just needs audiences to be informed of her talent, but for right now, Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives will do the talking.

POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: This is a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comic for the "Young Adult" reader, but anyone who likes dark fantasy comics may also like this.

Fanged Films


USA, 1972

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?