One of the gifts I received for Christmas was a copy of the Drain TPB (trade paperback), which I’d been dying to get my hands on for the past year and a half.
Released in late 2008, it was one of those Image titles that had slipped past my geek radar, and when I’d finally resolved to track it down, I’d discovered, too late, that the handful of copies actually available in Singapore had been sold out.
Why did I want Drain so bad? Considering how 2009 (and by association 2010) was the year of vampire movies (including, but not amounting to those about vampires that sparkled in the sun), I was seriously craving a solid vampire fix. One that had a proper narrative, and didn’t, for want of a better word, suck.
Drain is a hauntingly beautiful work, written by Marvel’s C. B. Cebulski and painted by Sana Takeda, a Japanese illustrator with several American comic book credits.
It tells the tale of Chinatsu, a Japanese vampire with a centuries old blood feud against her maker. It’s a revenge story, but it’s also got lesbian vampires (and you can’t go wrong with lesbian vampires) and strong cultural underpinnings.
Drain’s filled with the requisite gore and violence I’d come to expect of the genre, and it’s elegant gore, splashed across ephemeral, watercolored landscapes with dashes of flying cherry blossoms, water features, and freshly fallen snow.
In other words, it’s stylish, and where vampires are concerned, you can’t really argue with style.
Character designs are dark, fleeting and sensual, embodying both danger and mystique. The paneling, story flow, and action sequences are boldly reminiscent of wuxia (Chinese martial arts) comics, especially in the use of dynamic poses, strong lines, and lettering.
I was also impressed by the decision to use multiple full page spreads (again very wuxia style) to convey action and dramatic tension, as well as the artist’s attention to detail. You know an artist is putting in lots of effort when you can count each individual drop of blood in a frame, or study the intricate lacework on a character’s stockings.
It’s arguably the best Christmas present ever. XD