Cartoonist Katie Skelly has made a reputation for herself with her sexy, darkly comedic comics and illustrations, and she’s bringing her talent to Fantagraphics with this week’s My Pretty Vampire, an oversized hardcover graphic novel following a Brigitte Bardot-inspired vampire as she reclaims her agency from men that want to control her. Skelly’s appreciation for 1960s design informs the book’s aesthetic, but she also uses this story to comment on the tumultuous cultural climate of the time, specifically the fear of female independence stoked by second-wave feminism. The eponymous bloodsucker, Clover, is kept under house arrest by her brother, who is trying to keep her safe from vampire hunters, but that’s not his decision to make.
The title itself implies ownership of Clover, and much of her journey involves her becoming the master of her own life. This exclusive preview of My Favorite Vampire has Clover making her escape from her brother’s opulent home, and once she breaks free, her instinctive thirst for blood takes over. This book features some of Skelly’s most refined, lithe artwork; it’s unfussy and very expressive, with dramatic colors that set the tone and create visual contrast. The swirling inks of the first panel create a sense of mercurial motion for the start of a sequence that has Clover on the run, and Skelly creates a lot of intensity on the page with her minimalist linework and coloring. Readers can discover more about My Pretty Vampire when the graphic novel goes on sale tomorrow, but in the meanwhile, here’s an introduction to this chic killer.