Bram Stoker's Dracula was published in 1897 and in the hundred-plus years since countless vampire tales have been told. By now, it's essentially a genre in its own right, spanning across film, television, comics, novels... and pretty much any form of media you can consume. That's why Blood Stained Teeth found itself in an uphill battle since it was announced, a cloud of worry around getting eyes on its ongoing story. Surely, we've seen all we can see when it comes to vampires nowadays, no?
If that's your mindset going into the latest from Christian Ward and Patric Reynolds, you're very mistaken. Blood Stained Teeth is an incredibly fresh take on the world of vampires and horror as a whole, giving readers a delightful new tale to behold. At the root of the story are two separate types of vampires—the First Born kind, or those born vampiric, and Sips, humans turned into vampires. An interesting aspect here is Sips can't turn others after they themselves have been turned. No, only First Born vampires can turn humans into Sips.
From the jump, Blood Stained Teeth reads like a neon-soaked noir tale as it follows protagonist Atticus Sloane as he sells his "biting" to make a living. Right out of the gates, we see him bite a social media influencer who wants to be able to say she's a vampire across her social media.
The social commentary runs deep, with class warfare and the obsession with digital media at the forefront as First Borns eventually beginning to punish even some of their own kind for helping the "lower" Sip class or even humans with certain things.
While Ward's script and concept is dynamite in its own right, Blood Stained Teeth wouldn't be the comic it is without an artist like Reynolds in place. His edgy lineart quickly sets the mood and drags you into this dark, grim world. That, of course, is accentuated by Heather Moore's aforementioned neon-soaked colors and the combination is an impeccable result. Think Vegas at night, but with vampires, and just a slight injection from Blade Runner, or even that bright yet dingy neon decor found on the walls at your local Target story in the 1990s.
Blood Stained Teeth #1 is as tense as it is welcoming, and it really does feel exceptionally fresh. There's a protagonist you quickly align with, and an antagonist you love to hate. Ward's world-building in one issue alone makes for one hell of a story, and that's not even factoring in some of the best art you'll see this week. This introductory issue provides a great launch, and it's exciting to think of where this creative team can take the story next.
Published by Image Comics
On April 27, 2022
Written by Christian Ward
Art by Patric Reynolds
Colors by Heather Moore
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover by Christian Ward