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Comics

‘30 Days of Night’ Has Year-Round Horror

By the time this article gets published, Halloween will be over. However, when it comes to comic books, the ghouls, monsters and frights of Halloween are nonstop. For example, within DC Comics’ relaunch, they are presenting new tales of their Frankenstein monster in “Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.,” developing distinct bloodsuckers in “I, Vampire,” and bringing together their magical heroes and anti-heroes in “Justice League Dark.”

Marvel is also having a monster bash with their new miniseries “Legion of Monsters,” which features creatures like Morbius, the Living Vampire and Manphibian uniting with Elsa Bloodstone to deal with the supernatural horrors of their world.

Yet, if there was only one comic that could be picked to keep the Halloween spirit alive in the comic book community, it would have to be “30 Days of Night” from IDW.

Created by writer Steve Niles and artist Ben Templesmith in 2002, “30 Days of Night” was a three issue miniseries that focused on the fictional town of Barrow, Alaska, which experiences a month of darkness every year. However, this year, some unexpected vampires came to town to enjoy a smorgasbord of human blood. While the book offered a strong, original, and terrifying take on the vampire mythos, Niles also helped to reinvent horror comics for a new generation.

However, “30 Days of Night” was not always planned out as a comic book but originally set to be a movie that was continuously turned down (“30 Days of Night” finally become a movie in 2007 with a DVD sequel in 2010). “I pitched it to just blank faces. And they’d say, ‘It sounds like Buffy, it sounds like Buffy.’ And honestly I had just about given up,” Niles told IGN.com in 2007. Things changed, though, when Niles got a call from IDW and he presented them with the “30 Days of Night” story.

Niles continued to tell IGN.com, “And the day the ad for the first issue hit, we started getting calls from every studio, every producer, even people I had pitched before. People to this day deny that they rejected it, and I love it! Even one of the producers on the movie had originally rejected it.”

Since then, IDW has published sequels to “30 Days of Night” to establish a trilogy with “30 Days of Night: Dark Days” and “30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow.” (There was also “30 Days of Night: Eben and Stella,” which continued from “Dark Days”).

In addition to the main storyline, there have also been a number of tie-in tales that further explores this deadly breed of vampires and the humans that encounter them such as “30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales,” “30 Days of Night: Spreading the Disease,” and “30 Days of Night: Dead Space.” Some have returned to the past to look at Barrow’s history with vampires in “30 Days of Night: Beyond Barrow” and “30 Days of Night: Red Snow” (which was set in WWII).

Titles like “Dark Days” and “Eben and Stella” were penned by Niles but other writers and artists have taken a bite (pun intended) to this scary world. One example was “30 Days of Night: 30 Days ‘Til Death” written and drawn by David Lapham. The miniseries focused on a vampire, who tries to evade his own kind and live a normal life despite his condition.

While talking to newsarama.com, Lapham said what it meant for him to work within the world of “30 Days of Night.” Lapham said, “These are not traditional vampires with all the usual vampire rules. They’re just vicious creatures. Writing wise, it’s a no-holds-barred situation. I can be as nasty and vile as I want to be. Horror plays well into what I like to do, which is to manipulate emotions, scare—really hit readers in the gut. It’s very close to noir.”

While IDW has been busy expanding “30 Days of Night,” they aren’t about to stop. First and foremost, the publisher has finally made “30 Days of Night” an ongoing series that will run each month and explore this terrifying world more. Not only that but co-creator, Niles is returning to tell new tales of his carnivorous vampires alongside artist Sam Keith (who also wrote/drew “30 Days of Night: Night, Again”).

However, the fright doesn’t stop with “30 Days of Night’s” new ongoing series as these vampires will go up against zombies in “Infestation 2” alongside series like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Dungeons and Dragons.” “Infestation 2” is a sequel to “Infestation,” which was a cross titled event series where zombies plague characters like the Transformers and the Ghostbusters.

Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief for IDW, spoke to comicbookresources.com at this year’s New York Comic-Con about including “30 Days of Night” into this mega-event and said, “With “30 Days of Night,” we thought, it’s kind of fun to explore the idea of, in the ‘30 Days’ world, the vampires are the bad guys, and what happens when they become not as bad as the main bad guys. Are we actually sympathetic toward them? That sort of stuff.”

So, yes Halloween movie marathons and scary costumes might be done for another year, but when it comes to “30 Days of Night,” the frights can still be found.

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