Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece (amazon)
Vampire Clerks. I figure most reviews of this graphic novel are going to use this phrase, so I thought I’d get it out of the way as soon as possible. Dave Miller works the night shift at the Last Stop convenience store. He wakes up every day at 6:30 pm, staggers past his roommate, chugs some V8, watches Spanish language soap operas, and rides his bike to work. Once he gets to work, he has to rotate the hot dogs, deal with an insane customer who dislikes beef jerky, and take a phone call from his boss, “Lord Arisztidescu.” The high point of Dave’s night is watching “The Running of the Goths”, as closing time at the nearby juice bar prompts a long line of wannabe vampires to pass by the store. Dave is occasionally joined by a fellow wage slave named Jerome. Dave and Jerome are fledgling vampires, bitten by their Romanian vampire masters in order to ensure that they have obedient night managers working at their businesses. Dave has a huge crush on Rosa, one of the goths that passes by his store.
As a vampire, Dave is a failure since he refuses to drink human blood. Dave is foiled in his romantic ambitions by one of Rosa’s fellow goths and by the former night manager at the Last Stop, a vampire surfer named Wes. Life Sucks ends up exploring the old story – will the nice guy finish last? There are plenty of details that help bring this world of vampires working in dead-end jobs to life – Dave’s roommate is always shown eating cereal on the couch, the vampire masters get together for a poker game, and some of the convenience foods in the Last Stop are formulated for the undead. The ending of the book left me feeling a little ambivalent. I’m not sure if I was hoping for more of a traditional happy ending where the nice guy got rewarded, but maybe the point is that there’s little satisfaction to be found in a minimum wage job even if you’ve been gifted with immortal life. Life Sucks is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy off-kilter vampire fiction.
Review copy provided by First Second