Series: Baltimore #1
Published by Spectra on August 28th 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Horror, Occult & Supernatural, Supernatural
Source: Personal Copy
Reviewed by: Kim
From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal—and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.
“Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?” Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. “It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves…. You killers. You berserkers…. You will never be rid of us now.”
When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed—a plague that even death cannot end.
Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn—men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.
As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore’s timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague—and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis—once and for all.
This gorgeous illustrated novel is one of the scarier things I have read. A framed collection of short stories, the tale is told by three strangers around the table of an inn. BALTIMORE is about war, plague, human weakness and vampires.
These vampires are original and disgusting. The translation that the horrors of the Great War awoke literal monsters is very effective. Both authors are veteran fantasy and horror writers. They create a slew of amazing monsters, each more terrifying than the last, sometimes simply by being benign in initial appearance.
If you’re not a fan of short stories, you may find the format a bit repetitive. Each man tells two stories: why he believes in magic and monsters, and how he met Baltimore. The frame around these stories is expanded at the end, when Baltimore actually shows up and takes the men hunting.
Mike Migonla's dark, silhouetted illustrations hint at the horror without showing it, which is perfect. You’re hearing stories of monsters without truly seeing them. The shadowy, imperfect images perfectly represent the faulty nature of memory and imagination.
A perfect blend of Gothic imagery and twisted history, BALTIMORE, OR, THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER AND THE VAMPIRE is a beautiful book to treat yourself or any horror, fantasy or graphic novel fans in your entourage.Series Titles:
- A series of graphic novels comes after this novel, which chronicle the previous/further adventures of Baltimore.
- For more spooky, Gothic graphic novels and books, try We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse, by Ben Templesmith, or the rest of Mike Mignola's work, mainly Hellboy and BPRD.