“They have always been here.” The opening page offers hauntingly. “VAMPIRES.”

They have always been here, haven’t they? For us special fans of darkness and night. We grew up with them stalking in the back of our minds. Vampires from all different generations, be they silent and mesmerizing in their grayscale or modern and lusting for our blood and most carnal souls in their full technicolor glory.

 

No corner of our lives is safe from them, not even our cereals.

They are in many ways perhaps our most cherished and accepted monster, commonplace often to the point of outright abuse. So why have they survived so long? Why are they even in our children’s educational puppet shows?

The answer is simple, because when done right vampires show us ourselves in our most terrifying form. What we could be if we let ourselves forget all of our humanity and simply exist as a creature of pure will and instinct. No heart, no soul, just an unending hunger and the occasional plaguing thought as the centuries roll by. (And perhaps the need to count them, ah-ah-ah.)

When vampires are done right, the images of their dripping mouths and cold eyes stay with us forever. As does their occasional profound loneliness should they find a chance to allow themselves to feel it and wonder at the true and horrifying monster that they’ve become. They are not meant for this world, and so often the best and most horrifying worlds you can find a vampire in, are the ones meant just for them.

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan invite us to cross the dangerous threshold into such a world perfectly.

Based off Hogan and Del Toro famous novel saga, Dark Horse Comics’ “The Strain” takes this acclaimed tale of vampire horror to a new dimension in the way only the comics medium can.  Stories such as The Strain are beyond haunting and captivating in prose, however in their translation to the screen something (often a great many somethings) is always lost. The Strain comic, however, can translate this through David Lapham’s script while allowing Mike Huddleson’s Art and Dan Jackson’s Coloring bring Del Toro and Hogan’s world to life, death, and undeath.

There is something massively intoxicating about seeing such a universe come to life, the colors of an eerie night and the dripping of a freshly brewed soup. The terror in a character’s eyes and the mixed reds of fresh blood and life spilled out across the snow. The bright glow of a fire, or a city. All these things help to drive home on a new level that this could be real, this could happen to you, to all of us, and now we have an even clearer picture of what it would look like.

So be prepared to enjoy The Strain, dear readers, but more importantly, be prepared to be haunted by it. To feel that soft eerie tingling crawl up your spine as Dark Horse helps to bring Del Toro and Hogan’s world further out of the dark of our minds eye and into our physical world. Into our lives, our homes, our bedrooms. Oh yes, dear reader, and when you feel that familiar tingling sensation crawling its way up your spine as you try and curl your toes up safe and warm under the blanket on December 14th… Don’t forget to look behind you. – N