Making Curriculum Pop

Being a vampire would appear to be one of the most romantic or exciting things ever. Popular images that appear in works like Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Lestat, and even traditional works like Dracula highlight the sexy, hypnotic, and savage side of those mythic creatures. Life Sucks tells a different kind of vampire story. It centers around Dave, a young man who was turned into a vampire in order to work the graveyard shift at a 24-hour convenient store. His master, Radu, is not about conquering the world but for getting someone to mind his store so he can play cards with other vamps.

Little things complicate Dave's life, such as having to adjust to living off blood in contrast to his human life where he was a vegetarian. On a day to day basis, he also has to deal with late night poseurs who play at being vampires, and the inconsiderate day shift guy coming to work late and causing him to have to hurry home to beat the sunrise. This last instance puts him into contact with Rosa, a girl who he has a crush on, and he convinces her to give him a quick ride home. As a cover, he mentions having to get home to watch his favorite telenovela, and the seeds for a friendship (and maybe more) are planted.

Life Sucks was written by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria and illustrated by Warren Pleece. Abel has been active in publishing graphic works for almost two decades, and her most famous works are Artbabe and La Perdida. Soria is a fiction writer and music journalist who has done some work on Batman Adventures. Pleece has been a published artist for more than two decades now, with work appearing in 2000 AD, Hellblazer, and the graphic novel Incognegro.

This interview between Soria and Kurt Amacker sheds some light into the genesis of this tale. Abel adds her own details about the book in this interview with Brian Heater.

Reviews of this work are mostly positive. Johanna Draper Carlson wrote a lukewarm review about it here, pointing out how it borrows elements from the movie Clerks as well as noting Pleece's low-key art style. This review from Bookshelves of Doom called the book "lots and lots of fun." Elizabeth Bird called it a "fascinating, thoughtful read."

A sizable preview is available from the book's publisher, First Second. An additional 11 page preview is available from New York Magazine.

More resources about other graphic novels available at

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