Now that the Harry Potter books have come to their inevitable conclusion, an entire legion of readers is no doubt searching for the next great piece of contemporary fantasy literature to fill the nagging void in their lives. And odds are, it’s probably not going to be the comic book adaptation of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.
It will, however, be The Chronicles of Solomon Stone, but that’s not really the point. What matters tonight is that during the inexplicable hiatus of the twelve-issue adaptation of Guilty Pleasures, Marvel and Dabel Brothers are releasing an all-new two-issue mini-series that fills in some of the gaps in the popular character’s backstory.
As for me, well, I was shocked to find out that Anita even had a backstory, but that doesn’t mean that The First Death is any less worthy of the
mockery and scorn scholarly examination that you’ve no doubt come to expect, which means that it’s time once again for another round of Annotations for everyone’s fifth-favorite vampire hunter!
Grab your own copy and follow along!
1.1: Unlike Guilty Pleasures which is pencilled by Bret Booth, The First Death features the art of newcomer Wellington Alves. You know, I never thought I’d say it, but without a head of hair that looks like a brain-devouring Metroid and the thighs of a dromedary camel, Anita just looks weird.
1.3: Hey Anita! Staring Contest!
Damn! You win again, Anita. You always do.
2.1: According to Officer Zebrowski, who made his first comics appearance in the pages of the Anita Blake Hardcover, the sight of a grisly murder scene has made Anita “a little pale around the edges.” Anita? Pale? That’s funny, I hadn’t noticed.
Huh. Never thought I’d read that in a Marvel comic.
6.2-6.4: Unlike Guilty Pleasures, which is an adaptation of existing material, The First Death is actually a new story for comics written by Laurell K. Hamilton and Jonothon Green. So for those of you wondering what kind of chops it takes to succeed in the world of the written word, allow me to present the following:
10.4: And now, another testament to the accute observational talents of the police in Anita’s world:
Gee, Dolph, I don’t know. Maybe, just maybe it’s the guy who looks like James Marsters in the jacket from Beat It.
11.4: In this panel, five of the Keystone Kops–sorry, St. Louis Police–have their pistols aimed at one vampire who is standing nonchalantly with his hands in his pockets, having made no threatening move whatsoever. This may seem extreme, but keep in mind that in the world of Anita Blake, Vampires are super-strong, sexually overpowering, have the ability to control minds, and, to quote Hamilton herself, “are as powerful as ten Voldemorts.” Seriously, it’s in the handbook.
Oh great. A vampire stripper.
… Okay, that tears it. I have got to stop reading these things.
13.4: Were I a lesser academic, I’d be tempted to point out the amazing potential of the following panel, as well as suggesting that those of you with popular image-editing software could put it to more hilarious uses:
But that, of course, would be beneath us here at the ISB.
18.1: Vampire Strippers? This is madness!
18.2: At last, it can be told: This panel features the historic first meeting of Anita and Jean-Claude:
As those of you who were here for our little chats on the previous installments of the series know, Jean-Claude–whose interests include both protecting the world from devastation and uniting all peoples within our nation–will go on to become a major player in the series, giving Anita super-powers, punching out a little girl, and generally making a nuisance of himself.
22.7: While trying to figure out how she can continue her investigation without tipping her hand to the vampires, Anita’s internal monologue informs us that, as she says, “I don’t do subtle.” Considering that she’s sitting in the champagne room of a vampire strip club on a couch next to a vampire in leather pants and a poet shirt who is so egregiously French that he ends his sentences with Claremontean pet names, I’m pretty sure “subtlety” was the last thing anybody was expecting here.
25.3: No, friends, your eyes do not decieve you: This scene involves Anita Blake using her martial arts skills to wrestle a grieving mother to the pavement. Our Heroine, ladies and gentlemen.
25.6: Useful Facts About Vampires #138:
After living among the source of the Spice, their eyes too will take on the blue-within-blue cast of the Fremen.
29.4: Sweet Christmas, this comic is long.
33.4: Seriously, Anita? Seriously?
And here I thought that a Kiss was the name for a group of moderately talented musicians who desperately cling to fame long after they’ve worn out their welcome from all but an extremely gullible core of die-hard fans. Oh well, you find out something new every day, I guess.
No. Not really.