Who’s on for a classic vampire horror story? Who said yes for historical fiction? Comics anyone? What about then a historical horror vampire fiction in webcomic format?
Out of nostalgia I decided to log in again to my Smackjeeves account, where its artist has been updating this brilliant webcomic consistently for almost four years! Daniel started back in 2015, created by Sarah Nelson, this sweet piece of vampire horror webcomic has been updating consistently twice a month and by 2019 it has over 300 pages divided in 11 chapters.
First of all, what’s a webcomic?
For those who are not familiar with the term, webcomics are graphic novels published online, under a one page or one chapter per post format. Some author’s follow a fixed schedule, some others prefer to keep them loose. Considering most webcomic artists draw for the love of art, thus making the webcomics access free, readers cannot complain about an inconsistent schedule.
Daniel is not the case, it has been published on Sarah Nelson’s website on a weekly basis for years. You can also find the comic in her DeviantArt account but the site is less than ideal for reading webcomics, since the format makes it difficult for creators to keep a clean reading flow.
However, just because the authors are publishing for free it doesn’t mean they don’t need the money. You can support Daniel: A Grave Tale Of Horror by donating on this vampire horror webcomic via Patreon, donations come with rewards such as faster updates and free wallpapers. You can donate to get access to more macabre stories like Succubus too.
If you want to familiarize yourself with the webcomic scene, there are great websites for starting with reading them, such as Smackjeeves, Webtoons and Tapas. It is also possible to find good stories in DeviantArt, or check at the source, the top webcomic list website.
A grave tale of horror
Daniel Groth is a timid man living a not so lucky life in Illinois in the year 1934. He’s what we could call the omega wolf in the pack. He has a crush on her best friend Christine, who has herself some interest in him. But, by the social laws of the time, she expects him to give the first step into a formal relationship. Of course, there’s a Gaston between them, who makes things harder for poor Daniel.
At first glance, the plot may sound dull, like a carbon copy of beauty and the beast. Nothing further from the horrific fate prepared for these characters.
Without giving away too much of the plot, suffice to say that if you like old school vampires, the ones that are actually scary and not too sexy at all, you will definitely have to give this comic a read.
Things take a darker tone when Daniel mysteriously disappears after his first day as gravedigger at the local cemetery. Being the sweet girl she is, Christine is worried sick of his absence. But when he finally turns at her door one night, she immediately feels something is off.
Daniel has changed, his allure exudes self-confidence with a twist of madness. Before leaving, he promises nothing bad will happen to her, but it sounds more like a reminder to himself rather than reassurance.
What to expect from this vampire goth fiction?
Let’s not beat around the bush, Daniel has turned into a vampire. But the story is not about him mopping about how he changed (even though we will have an answer about that later in the webcomic). Yet, if you fancy a vampire human love story, this probably will fulfill your expectations, perhaps not in the way you expect but it will give you a refreshing point of view.
Don’t expect a corny love story, this is crude and plausible. The charm in this vampire horror webcomic is to see Christine coming to terms with the fact that her beloved Daniel is not there anymore, he was replaced by a monster. The same goes for the rest of the cast and how they start to put two and two together about what actually happened to him.
The art in this horror webcomic serves justice to the story, with digital grayscales in pages with almost cinematic panels. It’s like watching a good old school black and white movie. There will be blood (but of course), deep open wounds, and demonic eyes, and those will be the only glimpses of red tones available.
Reading Daniel was like watching your first horror movie, some times you yell at the dumb main character: “Don’t go in there!” or you roll your eyes at every Dracula film adaptation where Seward cannot understand what’s happening to Lucy?
In hindsight, it is not that the characters are in denial or that their stupidity numbs their fears, it goes more to the fact they consider vampires hard to believe, and when they start accepting them as a fact, it’s too late.
I sincerely wished she had a larger readership, webcomics that last more than a single year without falling into the dreaded hiatus are rare. After all, a good old school vampire horror fiction is a great breather among the usual romantic and sensual version of the bloodsuckers.