Laurell K. Hamilton (Author), Stacie M. Ritchie (Illustrator), Brett Booth (Illustrator)
Fusing mythology, werewolves, and vampires with a story loaded with mystery, action, and romance, the Anita Blake novels take place in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of nightmare have been declared legal citizens of the United States. Anita Blake is an “animator” – a profession that involves raising the dead for a living. She is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she moonlights by investigating cases that are far too much for “conventional” police. But as Anita gains the attention of the vampire masters in her hometown of St. Louis, she also risks revealing an intriguing secret about herself – the source of her unusual strength and power. Watch as Anita goes up against fierce obstacles and is forced to make tough choices. What price will Anita pay in order to save her friend’s life and solve the Vampire Murders? Will she actually kiss Phillip? How far will Edward go in order to find out where the daytime resting place of the Master Vampires truly is?

Collect Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1-12. Published October 14th 2009 by Marvel Comics (first published 2007)

Anita Blake, 24 years old, is an animator (person who raises zombies) and works for Animator’s Inc. In the Guilty Pleasures editions we follow her as she is hired to investigate why vampires are turning up dead throughout the city. She also works on retainer for the local police department and between the two jobs she barely has time to eat or sleep, let alone have a social life. After a night out at a vampire bar called Guilty Pleasures she ends up getting put in a dungeon with Wererats, She escapes and is brought to the young, childlike and meanest vampire of the all, the current master of the city, Nicolaus.

Anita is a stubborn, hardened fighter. She never gives up information, she’s not afraid to shoot first and ask questions later. In her line of business she is always on call and can run for days off a cup of coffee. There were often times that I could see why the night creatures wanted to murder her, she was an expert at avoiding direct questions and escaping danger.  Anita only gets in deeper when she asks a friend to help her get more information on the inside circle of the vampires to find out who may be behind the murders.

By doing her job, she is always putting herself and others in danger. But when it comes to danger, she knows how to play the role and she’s not always lucky. Covered in scars and lucky to be alive, she has more enemies to deal with than allies.

The full colored glossy pages add to the action and visual enhancement to the story. The mature content leans more towards the gore and bad language than sex, although the insinuations are constantly there. I was surprised to see so much dialogue and content and I found it the closest conversion of a novel to graphic novel that I have seen. This particular complete volume had some of my favorite artwork and vibrant colors. It would be hard enough to convert full length novels to graphic art forms, but to be able to keep all the major characters, plot points and even sub-plots is what these graphic novels do well.

Although Anita never seems to miss a beat, and has a major attitude problem, she is good at what she does. She is smart and more likely somebody you’d rather have close to you than as an enemy. She only has one close friend who we get introduced to, but they would do anything for each other. This is a great way to show Anita’s more human side and sometimes it’s a nice break from all the fighting and raising of the dead.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Graphic Novels 0) by Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathon Green.Her fans have been asking for it – now, Laurell K. Hamilton delivers a look into Anita Blake’s past! Written by Laurell K. Hamilton herself, along with Jonathon Green,

The First Death takes place almost a year before the events being chronicled in Guilty Pleasures. Witness the first meeting of Anita and Jean-Claude, Anita’s first time inside Guilty Pleasures, her first serial-killer case, and an early encounter with Edward. Prepare to be thrilled by this original story produced especially for comics!

Collects Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1-2 and Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures Handbook.(less) Hardcover, 96 pages Published February 27th 2008 by Marvel Comics ISBN

0785129413 (ISBN13: 9780785129417)

This book is a combination of a prequel in graphic novel form and a handbook/guidebook to the Anita Blake graphic novel books. It contains spoilers to the series,so I would suggest that this is the last thing you read, unless of course you don’t mind spoilers and would like a look into the graphic novels.

We get to see a younger Anita going on her first job with the police force to try and identify what type of supernatural creature could have murdered a boy. She is nervous, throws up and is unsteady, never having seen a newly deceased body before. The reader gets to see her interactions with the other policemen and how some of their relationships were formed. Some of the policemen trust her decisions and others are still cynical about her opinions on the deaths. That is, until they see her in action.

She gets in an all out fight with a vampire that does not finish well, is bitten a couple of times and held hostage and tortured.

This particular story has less dialogue than the other books but the guide in it makes up for that. The guide has pages jammed with information about each character we meet in the graphic novels. It contains their photo, some background to the character and what they are most known for in this series. It is very detailed, with small writing while the illustrations are still in full-coloured glossy pages, with lots of  action scenes. Anita is a little less feisty than we are used to but the story gives the reader a good insight into the person she becomes in future storylines.


Anita Blake: Circus of the Damned Book 2: The Ingenue (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Circus of the Damned #2)  by Laurell K. Hamilton

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR LAURELL K. HAMILTON’S HEROINE IS BACK. Morgues, as a rule, are pretty quiet places. But in a world of vamps and the rising dead, they can be positively hopping. Join animator Anita Blake as her search for a serial killer takes her to the most dangerous after-hours joint in St. Louis.

Collecting ANITA BLAKE: CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED – THE INGENUE #1-5. Hardcover, 120 pages  Published September 21st 2011 by Marvel (first published 2011)  ISBN  0785146903 (ISBN13: 9780785146902)

At 24 years old Anita Blake is no stranger to danger. She is a kick ass animator who shoots first and asks questions later. Something has gone awfully wrong in an investigation. Anita did not put the pieces together fast enough and now there is another newborn vampire on the loose. She feels responsible and her and the police team she works with often take off to the morgue to make sure the vampire does the least amount of damage to the unsuspecting bystanders.

From one fight to another, Anita barely makes it back in time to help train the new animator that Animator’s Inc has hired to help with all the incoming work.( Anita has finally stood up to her boss, telling him that she was too overworked with jobs coming from both the Animator’s Inc and her retainer work for the police supernatural force.)

Her new trainee is just out of school. He’s decided to take on his third animation for the night when Anita shows up just in time to help and explain everything that could have gone wrong. He was trying to do too many animations in a row, which drains an animators power and can cause the zombies to rampage if not controlled.

As if Anita does not have enough on her hands already, the new vampire group in town has finally caught up with her and she barely gets away from their attack with her life.

Even though her new partner has only seen the beginning of what the job may entail, he doesn’t change his mind. Anita thinks he’s just too young, but he’s not giving up after just one bad night. He gains her respect and she thinks that they just may be able to work together after all.

Anita keeps getting pulled deeper into vampire politics. Some are fighting for more rights, and others for less. This drives her into the arms of Jean Claude, the master of the city, yet again. Jean Claude is set on making Anita his human slave. Although Anita does have a growing attraction to Jean, she is unsure if it is because of his powers or not. Plus the fact that she absolutely despises the thought of a vampire believing he owns her. She is a very independent and stubborn woman.

Full colored glossy pages and equal amounts of dialogue and visuals, these graphic novels are intense and fun. Lots of action, blood, supernatural creatures, and a main heroine that has a shoot first ask questions later attitude that will get you addicted fast.

 

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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