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 Laughing Corpse, Volume 1: Animator (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton, Ron Lim (Illustrator)

Anita Blake is back in the second volume of Marvel’s comic adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton’s bestselling series of novels. What would you do for a million dollars? Would you resurrect a two-and-one-half-century old corpse? Harold Gaynor poses just that question to Animator and part-time vampire hunter, Anita Blake… Plus, some crime scenes are even too horrible for a vampire slayer, and the worse they are, the more questions they raise.

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse – Book One #1-5  Hardcover, Graphic Novel, 120 pages Published May 13th 2009 by Marvel Comics (first published January 1st 2008)

ISBN  0785136320 (ISBN13: 9780785136323)


In one of her more intense and gory stories, The Laughing Corpse, Anita Blake is offered millions of dollars to raise a very old zombie from the dead. She (being her stubborn self) turns down the job. By in doing so, she puts into motion several different events that eventually lead to a tough choice; give in and accept the job, or lose her life. The longer the person is dead, the more blood it takes to awaken them. As the person in question here is 283 years dead, she must sacrifice a human to be able to raise the zombie. This she refuses to do. Although she has killed humans before, it has always been in self defense. She sticks to her decision and is rather adamant and threatening when pushed.

After refusing the job, she begins to have unwelcome visitors at her house. Not only that, but as she is on retainer with the local police department, she’s pulled into an unusual murder that has taken place not far from town. There is a creature killing innocent people and a 3 year old has gone missing.

This series of books (The Laughing Corpse, Animator, Executioner, Necromancer) is more gory and intense than others in the series. Anita is pushed to her limits with no sign of a vacation in sight. With a full time job raising zombies for clients through Animator’s Inc, and her investigative work finding the creatures killing innocent people for the police, she rarely sleeps or eats. We don’t seen her in any type of type of normal relationship. It’s all business with her.

After turning down another offer from the Vodun priestess, Anita gets in deeper than ever and she starts sleeping with a gun by her side. Anita seems to have so much on her plate already, then the new master of the city (Vampire master, that is!) Jean-Claude, enters. Anita and Jean-Claude have a history together. He has marked her twice already and is planning on making her his human slave. They have a deep connection from the previous bites and Anita is bitter and incredibly anxious to disconnect their newly made mind bond. She tries to escape him and his games but no matter how hard she tries, he will not let her.

The graphic novels maintain a good balance between dialogue and illustrations and the story keeps up an intense pace.


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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