My Top Five Vamper Novels…

As promised last week, I’m going to take a hot minute to list my top five vampire books. Mind you, these are novels, so I’m not including vampire movies or comics or television shows. I read these books once every couple of years and I’m always finding different reasons to love them. I think readers are hard pressed to find better bloodsucker fiction out there. The five listed here have influenced my love of vampires and still do, and since I want you to read them (if you haven’t), I’m going to give a very brief “this is why I loved it” paragraph about each one and I’m going to list them in reverse order, from 5 to 1.

5. Vampire$ by John Steakley

vampire$Where do I start here? Vampire hunters who work for the church and are paid well for it. Deals well with the religious aspect of vampirism (being on hallowed ground hurts, which speaks to the existence of God), as well as the toll hunting the undead might take on a person. They kill hard, drink hard, and die hard. The vampires are mean, they have an agenda, and this novel is good on so many levels it’d take two or three blog posts to cover them all. If you’ve only seen John Carpenter’s film based on the book, do your brain a favor and get the real deal. Read the book.

4. Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson

midnightmassF. Paul Wilson is one of my favorite authors. With this book, Wilson also deals with religion in vampirism, but he does it differently than Steakley does. You see, the main character is a rabbi and he doesn’t like the implications of vampires fearing the cross and holy water sizzling on their skin. Along with that, we have an interesting cast of characters, which stick out to me still for their diversity: the rabbi, a drunked out and blacklisted priest, a lesbian, and a nun. Plus, the vampires are mean as hell, and it’s one of the first books I remember reading where vampires have human lackeys working for them. The last battle for these characters takes place in the church of the blacklisted priest, and it’s a fight that will restore hope to the human race. If the humans can win, that is.

3. I am Legend by Richard Matheson

iamlegendcoverI’m not sure if this book even needs more words written about it, as it’s a classic in every sense of the word. However, like any book, it’s impact on readers vary and I’m not excluded from that. I’m sure what I loved about it, another person may have hated. For me, it was always Neville’s loneliness, and how he took to Cortman in the novel. It didn’t humanize the vampires (as a whole) that showed up at Neville’s door, but it illustrated how a man can humanize a single entity in the group, can empathize and have sympathy for something that’s perceived evil. This book is one of the main reasons why I believe reading makes us better humans, better able to relate to people who aren’t quite like us. If you’re that rare vampire fan (meaning you’re probably very young) who hasn’t read this book, then do it. Today.

2‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

salemslotcoverAnother classic vampire tale that doesn’t need an in depth discussion from the likes of me. I’ll cut right to the chase and what made this book stand out for me was King’s willingness to turn kids into vampires. It was one of the first books I’d read that killed kids without really a second thought. That, of course leads into King’s quiet destruction of the entire town, where even good people end up dying and, really, for what? There’s a certain amount of hope that’s stripped out of the world when you read this book at a young age, simply because King shows us that small and tranquil doesn’t mean shit-all for safety. Everything (and everybody) hides something from the world, and usually that something is heinous.

1. They Thirst by Robert McCammon

theythirstcoverAnd we’re to my top vampire novel. The reason is simple, which is that They Thirst encapsulates the best elements of the other books on my list. McCammon’s novel is a larger version of King’s novel, insofar as the vampires are after Los Angeles as opposed to a small town in Maine. McCammon addresses the religious aspect of vampirism, but takes it to the next level, he pits an odd mix of humans against the seemingly unstoppable force of vampires, and there’s a sense of isolation despite the large L.A. setting. And beyond that, there was something beautiful about McCammon’s descriptions in this book that turned L.A. into a character, and this is the first book where I really noticed the setting as character. They Thirst, in my opinion, stands as one of the seminal vampire novels of the last 50 years. There you have it, my top five vampire novels.

Next week, I’ll range into my top five vampire movies…

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The BEST Deadpool Costume Contest…

werewolfmommaAs you may or may not know, when I do a convention where people cosplay, I like to take pictures. Personally, I can’t cosplay for shit (unless you count maybe John Candy or, more accurately, Chris Farley), but my wife can and I have numerous friends who are also very good at it. Plus, I think it’s neat as hell to see the costumes, the gender reversals in the characters, and, in some cases, the interpretations of costumes and characters. You know, Little Red Riding Hood where she’s a lover to a werewolf, and yes, they’ve had a baby… as you can see by the picture there. As a storyteller, I’m very interested in the alternate versions of fairytales and stories. Hell, even Guns n’ Roses wrote two sets of lyrics to “Don’t Cry” and they’re both badass tunes.

At GRASP, the star of the show was Deadpool. We had lots of Deadpool merch going on, several people dressed up as the iconic, unkillable smart ass, and even more people wearing him. We made this weekend Deadpool weekend, and everyone was Deadpool (whether they knew it or not), and the contest was born. It was written in the stars, especially after we caught this dancin’ Deadpool in front of our table…

Now, we’re down to the nitty gritty… the contest. It’s very much like that show “Whose Line is It Anyway” where everybody gets to play and the points don’t matter, so no one actually wins. That said, hop over the GRASP Comic Expo photo gallery (it’ll open in a new window), check out all the pictures (they’re all Deadpool, trust me), then vote in the poll below for your FAVORITE DEADPOOL!

Who has the best Deadpool costume?

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