Ghoul Next Door: Should You Be Reading ‘Patrik the Vampire’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
What would you do if you found out your neighbor was a vampire? Would you shriek in terror, or invite him over for tea and conversation? If your neighbor were Patrik, you might do both --- especially once you find out what a good chef he is!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The comic follows the life of Patrik Dokiychuk, a charming but awkward guy who likes to knit, bake cookies, and play with his cat. He’s often found visiting his friend Becky at the local coffee shop, or watching reality TV with his roommate Cyril.
Patrik also likes to drink blood and occasionally struggles with the desire to kill, but really, who doesn't?
WHO’S IT BY?
Patrik the Vampire is written and illustrated by Bree Paulsen, who attended the Laguna College of Art and Design, earning a BFA in Animation, and has illustrated children’s books for Xist Publishing.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Patrik the Vampire is both hilarious and heartbreaking. It’s a slice of life comic, and it’s more than that. Patrik goes through his daily life --- fighting with his roommate, struggling with work, getting mauled by his surprisingly aggressive cat Fifi --- while dealing with the realities of being a vampire.
That in itself is entertaining enough, but the comic really gets great once it picks up more of an ongoing plotline. It flashes back to the late 1920s, when Patrik was living next door to a young woman named Lara and her grandmother Rose.
The modern day content is quite funny and charming, while the flashbacks are much more earnest and sombre. A present day comic might focus on a cute and unexpected solution to Patrik’s biting problem (a chew toy, of course!), whereas a flashback episode will deal with Lara’s healthy fear of the vampire. It could be a difficult balance, but Paulsen manages it with ease.
The art is excellent, and Paulsen’s facial expressions are phenomenal. She’s not afraid to let those faces carry a panel, or several, with no dialogue. With just small changes to their eyes or their mouths, you can see Patrik wrestle with his bloodlust, or Lara waver between her terror of Patrik and her desire to help people.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Anyone who loves a good vampire joke or appreciates a nice handknit sweater. There is some violence and gore, so it’s not recommended for children.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?