- Little Vampire
This collection of three short graphic novels, two of which were originally translated as separate volumes in 2003, features Little Vampire, an aptly named young vamp. Throughout the three tales, a complete picture of the luridly gruesome but loving household in which Little Vampire lives emerges, as do complex discussions on death, religion, and identity. In spite of his gray skin, ability to float, and tomato-colored dog, Little Vampire is rather typical, surrounded by a strange but [End Page 493] warm extended family and caught up in everyday events that ultimately play out in significant ways. Although the plots are simple (going to school, learning self defense, and rescuing lab-experiment dogs), there is a richness to these stories, a depth that comes from the interactions between the characters, the sophisticated art, and the author's willingness to embrace weightier topics (in one tale, a bully is actually eaten, though he is successfully brought back to life before morning). French author and artist Sfar offers endless details in his illustrations that will encourage repeat readings as much as the stories themselves. In addition, the vivid colors, occasionally bordering on garish, pair well with the exaggerated expressions and creepy otherworldliness of Little Vampire's home and family. Although Little Vampire does not do any bloodsucking himself, there is plenty of gruesome activity around him to appeal to even the most hardcore horror fans, and the elegant meshing of text and the art that mirrors it, will satisfy readers drawn in exclusively because of the format.