Check Out DayBlack.
(AfroGamers.com) In keeping with the theme of Black independent comic book creators, here’s DayBlack. Created by Atlanta-area tattoo artist and painter, Keef Cross, DayBlack details the modern life of Merce, a former slave and now vampire living in DayBlack, Georgia.
Merce: Going Through the Motions
Merce currently works as a tattoo artist in the city after trying a variety of jobs between his transformation and becoming a tattoo artist. He moves from job to job because he views being a vampire and being immortal as being fairly boring. He’s really in no risk of being killed since vampire hunters are really just now spreading in the U.S. (we’ll get to that shortly) but his stepson, an adopted Mexican orphan grew into becoming a vampire hunter.
Our protagonist does most of his feeding thanks to Hazel, his tattoo machine. It features two needles, one for the ink and another to draw blood. Once drawn, he warms the blood in a special coffee machine and drinks it. Of course, he’d prefer it the old school way but the government had plans for vampires and this method doesn’t draw suspicion.
The City of DayBlack
Eventually Merce settles down in the city of DayBlack. The city gets its name from an industrial accident that spewed pollution into the air years prior. As a result, the sun is blacked out and the city sits in perpetual night. This makes it the perfect place for Merce to live since he can navigate the world any time of day.
The nature of DayBlack also makes it a possible mecca for vampires–which can definitely be a problem. More vampires in an area means Merce’s food source is being invaded. Since Merce is the sole vampire there, one would figure he establishes what is courtesy in the area but what if these invading vampire start slaughtering people? Vampire killers would show up and pretty much clean house in DayBlack.
A handful of hunters passing through is something Merce can easily handled. An organized front against these creatures of night would likely force Merce to leave DayBlack and the lifestyle he’s gotten familiar with.
Vampire Lore in DayBlack
Keef Cross’ approach to vampire lore is very interesting. The first thing is that really stood out is the effect of symbolism on vampires. A crucifix or cross only works on a vampire who was Christian at the time of their death so it wouldn’t work on a Muslim vampire. Merce wasn’t religious when he turned so religious symbols do nothing to him.
That doesn’t stop him from going to church and taking in the behaviors of everyone around him then noticing the hypocrisy of those same church-going folks. In short, it helps to be dogma-proof as vampire.
There’s also all vampire hunters being of Mexican descent. Now, there isn’t a static timeline in DayBlack to show when this occurred but one Black Panther nicknamed Bolo wanted the Panthers to direct their attention to fighting the vampires. This means they had to be something of a threat at the time or a growing threat. The Panthers weren’t with Bolo’s idea and he was booted from the organization. Bolo traveled to Mexico and became lost in alcohol and skin magazines. Who knows, he probably hunted vampires down there as well. I mean, he had to if he trained all these legendary hunters.
It’s not really explained how it happened but eventually, all vampire hunters were Mexican. Apparently, it works since the hunters who arrive in the U.S. take on labor jobs which give them easy access to tools good for hunting. Merce’s adopted son, Rodamez took the money given to him via a “Feed the Children”-type program and put some towards training under Bolo. The two have an odd relationship where Rodamez looks out for him when it comes to hunters and Merce tries to help Rodamez however he can.
Pull or Pass
Keef Cross’ DayBlack has a great story and the artwork to match. “Trippy” comes to mind when explaining the art style. If you’re into vampire literature but want something way beyond the usual “pale vampires with piercing eyes, love triangles, and a woman main character who makes everything worse but she still has to choose,” pull DayBlack. You can find it on Amazon or PeepGameComix.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.