Sarah Andersen’s Fangs. Love. Death. All that stuff.
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Sarah Andersen’s simple cover for Fangs has vampire Elsie vamping it up like classic Hollywood actress Theda Bara on a blood-red background. The same clean line and detail powers through this book. It’s a gorgeous affair, funny, witty, cute and there’s even a hint of heartbreak and loneliness to the proceedings.
For Fangs is a book about a vampire and a werewolf who fall in love.
Jimmy (the wolf) and Elsie (the vamp) bond over their respective monstrous natures. Everything from allergies (silver, garlic), the effect of lunar cycles (lycanthropy and menses), to murdering humans – Elsie’s vegan now, but she has a lot of fond memories, and Jimmy doesn’t trust the postman one bit.
Andersen builds on her popular work with her Sarah’s Scribbles books, her art style and execution of themes evolving here quite adeptly. The monsters in a relationship storyline is not only handled with dark humour, but the allegory of supernatural quirks equating to individual hangups works quite well. And Andersen has always had a dash of Sartre fused into her easily shareable autobio comics, which flip from reflections on pets to utter existential panic in the face of adulthood.
In Fangs her monsters are facing down the possibility of a lonely eternity and that makes their love all the more winning. And for all the allusions to horror and fantasy, this is still a book about a dog and a cat. There’s even a truly adorable page of Elsie cuddling Jimmy in his wolf form (don’t call him a husky though, that’s upsetting). I doubt this is what Andersen had in mind, but I was reminded of Eddie Collins and Gale Sondergaard as Tylo and Tylette, a different pair with canine and feline traits in Walter Lang’s Wizard of Oz rival The Blue Bird (1940).
Fangs is also laugh-out-loud funny, with steadily paced jokes such as Elsie making ‘bloodsicles’, Jimmy fantasising about a church exploding during an attempt at a wedding service, his selfies frustration, and an innovative use of mirrors to apply make-up.
There is also a short sequence set over Halloween with the pair separately encountering trick-or-treaters costumed as a werewolf and a vampire that is sublimely sweet.
For fans of romance, or the silly vampire antics of What We Do In The Shadows, Sarah Andersen’s Fangs is a must-buy. Originally available on Tapas, a completed book with previously unreleased material will be out 1 September 2020.