Written and art by Sarah Andersen. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Best known for her popular webcomic Sarah’s Scribbles, cartoonist Sarah Andersen has branched out into new avenues with her new book Fangs. In this release, which collects strips from the webcomic of the same name, readers follow the relationship of a vampire and werewolf through a series of gags strips.
With that previous sentence, you’re Twilight alarm bell might’ve started ringing. Don’t worry, Fangs isn’t a young adult romance of unrealistic expectations. It’s not even the kind of romance that’s about grand gestures or racing to the airport.
Just like Philippa Rice’s Soppy, it focuses on the small moments. It’s the domestic variety of romance that’s all about the times on the couch, walks in the park (or graveyard), coffee in the morning, and more. The real kind of romance everyday couples experience. Or as real as it can be with vampires and werewolves.
Each page is a self-contained gag strip. A lot of the jokes take advantage of the books premise, finding humorous takes on romantic situations through the lens of the paranormal. This includes jokes like Elsie the vampire getting dressed for a date in the mirror but unable to see her reflection. Other times, we get gags that are just about vampires or werewolves, focusing on lusts for blood or the full moon.
The strips can be read in isolation but if you read them in succession you get a full picture of the couple. Each strip is a building block in their relationship, with readers getting to track the path of this new romance over the space of months as it blossoms. Usually, humour strips reset to the status quo after the punchline is served, so it’s nice to see this one include some growth.
Andersen takes a different approach to her art when compared to Sarah’s Scribbles. It’s less chaotic, with more deliberate fine lines. Characters have more detail to them, showing off unique character traits through subtle expression, fashion choices, and backgrounds. At the same time, readers are never bogged down in this detail, with the cartoonist only giving us a much as we need. The use of grey also helps, by softening backgrounds and giving additional depth so it doesn’t blend into the foreground.
You can tell that Andersen is having fun with this style. She likes to dress Elsie up in dramatically intricate outfits. Sometimes it’s played for gags, but other times it’s simply a simply a pin-up illustration that shows she like to draw the character in different ways.
Overall, Fangs is a charming and funny take on the domestic elements of relationships. Andersen finds the light side of the horror characters while taking a look at the more domestic side of relationships that readers will find some parallels in their own life. It will certainly leave you with a warm heart and a smile on your face.