Hey everyone, after writing last week’s very long review, and prepping for next week’s upcoming retrospective on Scott Snyder’s Undiscovered Country, I was feeling a bit burnt out this week. I considered just doing another quick hits column, but instead, I wanted to throw some attention and support behind a new book from a very small publisher that I feel needs to get some more attention. As I’ve said in previous articles, without our support of the small press market a lot of talent will be wasted and potential will be lost. So what that in mind lets take a minute this week to talk about drugs, vampires, and female protagonists with Source Point Press’ No Heroine.
Comics have a long and complicated history with vampires. Marvel Comics has used the character of Dracula in their books quite a bit, as well as their own modern creations like Morbius and Blade. Vampires have even played a role in Hickman’s new X-Men run, or at least that what I was told. I don’t actually read much Marvel, but others have told me about it, so don’t @ me if I’m wrong about that. DC Comics has its own history with vampires, with titles like I…Vampire being the most well-known. They have also had a vampire Batman, and an entire vampire Earth as part of their multiverse (which is apparently a good world that isn’t part of the dark multiverse…I guess? Eh, I’ll save it for Snyder next week).
But you didn’t read this article to hear about the big two, you tuned in for that really good obscure stuff that all the kids are talking about. Let’s talk about No Heroine! Here’s the blurb:
Drugs. Vampires. Punk rock. Clawing her way to her 90th day sober, Kayla sets out to find her missing friend, Sid – the one person she knows can keep her on the straight and narrow. The only problem? The gang of heroin-dealing vampires that have him. From the writer of 2019’s breakout indie hit Dead End Kids comes a story of a young woman’s recovery journey and one hard truth: not everyone is cut out to be a hero.
No Heroine comes to us from author Frank Gogol and artist team Criss and Shawna Madd with colours from Ahmed Raafat.
I’m going to be real honest right now. Source Point Press is not one of my go-to publishers for books. They are very small press, and as such there are not a lot of their books on the shelves each week. Dead End Kids, written by Gogol, is really my only experience with them and while I read issue one, the book itself wasn’t really my cup of tea. It’s not that it was poorly written, it just didn’t click with my interests and when you already read about 80 titles a week you have got to be sparing with what new books you pick up.
Still, I love me a good vampire book, and I love a female protagonist, so when I saw the hype around this title I figured I’d give it a chance. I was just coming down from the vampire fun of Deep Red (another excellent vampire title that I highly recommend), and was looking for another in the same vein (see what I did there? Vein? Vampires?), so I had to check this one out.
Right off the bat (eh? Bat, get it? I promise no more puns) I have to say that I enjoyed No Heroine a lot. The main character, Kayla, is an interesting and compelling protagonist. She clearly has issues, both mentally and financially, and those issues still exist at the end of the issue. It’s nice to see someone who doesn’t just “get over” their problems in a single book, and you can tell that she is on a longer path to recovery. This kind of character development is one of the things I love in indie books, and I look forward to seeing where this story will go.
I also found this world to be a compelling and interesting one. Vampires exist in this world, but how aware the larger world is of their existence isn’t fully explored yet. Clearly, Kayla knows about them and their weaknesses, but what roll their existence plays in the overall narrative, and what other mythological beings might also exist remains to be seen. I’d love to see other beings mixed into this world, and honestly the thought of a broke, mentally unstable, ex-junkie Buffy The Vampire Slayer just checks so many boxes for me!
Finally, I just really enjoyed the premise of this book, where vampirism is equated to an addiction. One of my favourite shows was Being Human (the British version not the US) where the vampire character was basically a recovering drug addict doing everything in his power to resist “relapsing” by drinking blood again. I think that that is a very interesting way to explore the nature of drug addiction, and I really hope to see more of that in No Heroine moving forward. I’d also be interested in seeing if other monster species would be brought into the story in the same way. Like I said, this premise has a lot of potentials.
Issue one is a solid story with a great main character, a compelling premise, and actually manages to stand on its own while also functioning as a great starting place for an interesting heroes journey moving forward, even if our hero has no interest in playing that role. We need more reluctant heroes in our media!
Source Point has never been a go-to publisher for me before, but if they continue putting out books of the calibre of No Heroine that could very well change. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy!