Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau & Cathon’s lighthearted graphic novel about returning to an old summer getaway is just the thing to get you in the spooky spirit this Halloween.
Vampire Cousins is a 2015 graphic novel published by Pow Pow Press that made its English debut at this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival back in May. It tells the story of Camille, a cheery, S Club 7 loving girl who decides to visit her cousin Frédérique in the old village where she once spent the best summer of her childhood. Upon arrival, Camille realizes things don’t exactly line up with how she remembered them: the old manor is run down and infested with bats, the villagers are deathly afraid of the night, and oh – Frédérique just might be a vampire.
The graphic novel never takes itself too seriously, and more often than not aims for laughs over frights. Camille’s oblivious inability to pick up on the telltale signs of Frédérique’s vampire-isms provide a lot of humour, as do the well written exchanges between characters, especially those of Camille and Frédérique.
The artwork and shading in Vampire Cousins manages to keep characters and vistas expressive and vibrant despite the book not using any colouring. Rousseau & Cathon’s decision to keep the comic black and white as opposed to coloured helps Vampire Cousins feel more like an old monster movie – and that’s wonderful.
Vampire Cousins is not a heavy read. It doesn’t require much analysis and can be finished in under an hour, but it manages to tell its story well. It’s a lovely, humorous graphic novel homegrown in Montreal (Canada!) which serves as a reminder that the monster genre and Halloween season should be just as much about cracking a smile as they are about having a good fright.