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Life Sucks Hardcover – 6 Jun 2008


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Hardcover, 6 Jun 2008
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; Collector's ed edition (6 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596433647
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596433649
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,381,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

""Life Sucks" takes that old tired vampire idea, places it under ugly fluorescent lights and their dead end jobs and somehow the combination is electric. For even the most vamped out amongst us, "Life Sucks" offers something fresh and new. . . . a fascinating, thoughtful read."--"School Library Journal" Blog"This hilarious tale strikes perilously close to the reality of the slacker twenty-something life. Abel and Soria hit their mark with plenty of attitude and just enough snark to let their characters come to life. Warren Pleece's art marvelously captures the humor of the mundane that lend the book's crew of late-night wage-slave vamps believability and energy. A really fun read!"--"Booklist""Perfectly appropriate for older teens and adults, this book will appeal to fans of vampires, of coming of age stories, as well as those who love Kevin Smith's movie Clerks."--Five Star Review in ICv2 Graphic Novel Guide "There's plenty of humor with Dave's friend Jerome acting as a Clerks-like foil. . . . Abel and Soria's light approach, combined with Pleece's bright, Technicolor art, gives the book an entertaining Joss Whedon gloss to its Gen-Y bloodsucking melodrama."--"Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Life Sucks was written by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria, with art by Warren Pleece. Jessica Abel is one of the foremost female comics creators in the industry. She and her husband teach courses on creating comics at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and have co-written the textbook based on their classes, "Drawing Words and Writing Pictures," also out this season from First Second. Gabe Soria is a Brooklyn-based music journalist and has written "Batman Adventures." Warren Pleece is a British comics artist who has worked on numerous projects, including "The Invisibles" and "Hellblazer."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Barnes on 14 July 2008
Format: Paperback
As a poor shmuck with a love for comics I face a common dilemma, one you all are no doubt used to: what do I spend my hard earned cash on? With great titles coming out on a monthly (or so) basis, and years of back catalogue of comic greats to buy your way through, each purchase can cause quite a bit of indecision.

I think you'll know where I'm going with this (five stars), but I'm going to say it anyway, if not only to drive home the fact that this is a great little book.

Not for a long time have I read a book that revels in the medium of comics such as this. Where some comics rely on the medium for effect, it seems to me that the creators of this book are genuinely having fun with the parameters that comics demand. (Just one panel of the look on Lord Radu's face was enough to leave me in stitches).

Each of the characters is well defined and developed over the course of the story. You'll find yourself really caring for for even Lord Radu. The dialogue is sharp, witty, and overall, very, very funny.

And last but not least, the artwork is a dream. Pleece manages to convey emotions with a mix of subtlety and fun. The dark black and red backgrounds that provide the backdrop for a lot of the book are excellently juxtaposed with the bright colourful characters.

So I implore you; if you're stuck on that decision of what to spend your dough on this week, make it easy on yourself, buy this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I grabbed this from the library when I was looking for something I could start and finish during my 45-minute lunch break, and it pretty much hit the spot. Don't get me wrong, it's not the kind of amazing graphic novel you go out and buy as a birthday gift for your hipster friends, it's more of a fluffy sugary treat, quick and fairly fun. The story is probably best described as Clerks meets '80s John Hughes teen flicks -- with vampires. Basically, the authors are taking the popular image of vampires as sexy eternal lords who live well, and satirizing it with a cast of scrub vampires whose finances revolve around convenience stores and coffee shops, and generally look like shlubs.

Dave is one such shlub, a relatively newly minted vampire relegated to working the night shift at his vampire lord's Los Angeles convenience store. In a direct nod to Clerks, his best friend works next door at a copy shop (the 2008 version of a video store). Dave is pretty lame vampire, unwilling to drink real human blood, and thus perpetually run down due to his subsistence plasma diet. Naturally enough, he has a crush on a beautiful (non-vampire) goth chick whom he sees around. Also naturally enough, just as he gears himself up to approach her, a rival emerges in the form of a more traditionally virile and ruthless vampire (here in the form of handsome, macho surfer dude).

This love plotline goes pretty much as expected, although the writers do a nice trying to show how the goth chick's fantasy of being a vampire clashes with the reality as experienced by Dave and others. There are some pretty good gags, and nice deadpan humor (like Dave's roommate, a regular slightly nerdy human who seems entirely unfazed by Dave's transformation and vampire friends.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KittyCatOrange on 10 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been looking for this for a while, and my progress was hindered at first because I vaguely remembered reading it but forgot the name of the book! So funny, and intriguing, and the vibe of a sarcastic social commentary. I would recommend it to anyone!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Marxist take on vampirism? 30 Jun 2008
By Joseph D. Henry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First things first: I'm a friend of Jessica Abel's husband Matt Madden, and more recently a friend of Jessica, too. Take this review with a grain of salt if you must, but I'm not trying to do any log-rolling here.

I'm not an avid comics reader, naturally. I'll occasionally buy one here or there if it looks interesting, but I'm no comics geek. Still, LIFE SUCKS has a lot of interesting thought put into it, and one of the phrases that comes to mind reading it is "blood-sucking capitalists", or "getting rich on the blood of the proletariat" (I guess that's two phrases, actually). LIFE SUCKS takes an economic view -- though one that is not heavy-handed -- on life, and applies it to vampirism, where the vampire "haves" prey on the "have-nots." Which is not to say it's a dense political screed, because it's definitely not. It is, by turns, funny, romantic, violent, noble, ignoble, and a study of characters. It's also about the compromises people make as they grow up, even if they will never grow old and die. I might even say that it offers the perspective that mortality is a benefit, in that one doesn't have to compromise whatever integrity a person has for an infinite amount of time, until there's no integrity left; a mortal can still die with pride intact.

Which is to say that there's more to LIFE SUCKS than meets the eye. It works wonderfully well as entertainment, but it works on a more philosophical level, too -- it's thought-provoking!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
anti-climactic conclusion 3 Sep 2008
By Steven E. Higgins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In Life Sucks, writers Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria present an inventive take on the established vampire mythos we've become accustomed to via popular culture. This story takes the vampires out of the world of Anne Rice and transposes them into the world of Clerks. All the "rules" generally associated with vampires are still in place (sunlight and mirrors are bad; drinking blood is good), but Abel and Soria have removed the romanticized trappings of most vampire tales and moved the undead to a more realistic world that readers will be familiar with.

The story hinges on the idea that vampires are just like us and, despite being immortal, would still have to work menial jobs to earn money for rent. The main character Dave is slave to his master Radu, the vampire who turned him when he applied for a job at his convenience store. Radu is a vampire from the old country, but when he meets with his fellow immortals in his elaborate castle, they hang out in the wood-paneled basement smoking cigars and playing poker. By a similar token, Dave's best friends are two vampires who work in a copy shop and a diner, as well as his human roommate.

This exploration of the humdrum reality of everlasting life is an interesting concept, but beyond that there isn't much to the book. All of these details are really just the world the story is set in, while the plot itself is a rather typical "teen movie" romance and thus is never that particularly interesting. The story follows two guys who are going after the same girl; the twist is that it just so happens the two guys are vampires.

The characters are relatable but rather familiar tropes. Wes, a psychotic vampire surfer dude, is the antagonist, tormenting Dave and standing in the way of Dave making a move on Rosa, the cute goth girl that Dave has his eye on. But Wes's attraction to Rosa is more because he can't stand to see Dave happy than out of general interest. Imagine the stereotypical "bully" from any teen comedy, add in super-strength and a thirst for blood, and that's Wes. No effort is ever made to make him dynamic beyond the stereotype, and the same is true of Dave (slacker loser type) and Rosa (goth girl type) as well.

At other times both Dave and Rosa act in manners that are logically inconsistent with their established characters, simply because they must act that way in order for the plot to continue. Rosa's initial interest in the uncouth surfer Wes doesn't make any sense, but because it is necessary move the story forward, she goes out on a few dates with him. Similarly, Dave puts up with Wes's rude comments throughout the entire book for no reason other than that it artificially creates conflict.

The art is also decent enough but not outstanding. Pleece's skills as an artist were recently highlighted to great effect in Incognegro, but here the work is just bland. It was most likely a purposeful choice for the art to be stiff rather than energetic, as that is fitting with the atmosphere the story is creating. But the plodding page layouts packed with panel after panel of talking heads do little to engage the audience. There are a few moments of excitement where Pleece is allowed to shine, such as a full-page gag illustration early on in the story, showing the aftermath of Dave's run-in at the convenience store with a thief. Sadly, however, the story doesn't allow him much material to work with.

Perhaps worst of all, in the end the story just sort of stops. After Rosa and Dave all-too-coincidentally bump into Wes while he is out on a date with two other girls, Rosa calls it quits with him. Then, when she discovers that Dave is a vampire, she angrily confronts him about keeping this secret from her. The climax comes when both characters attend a party thrown by Wes, each with a different agenda. The party seems to be where things will finally come to a head, but what actually happens just changes the shape of the conflict. Then after the party ends, the final five pages are set two months later, and the conflict between Wes and Dave has been resolved off-panel by Dave's boss Radu, as is explained to us in some clunky expositional dialogue. Wes himself, the antagonist of the story, doesn't even appear in these final five pages, and Rosa and Dave don't interact with each other at all.

Life Sucks, then, is a book that had a promising idea but didn't do enough with it to set it apart from other vampire fare, instead miring down the interesting setting by attaching it to a typical teen romance. The book could work very well for young adult audiences, but more mature readers are sure to be disappointed in the illogical character developments and anti-climactic conclusion. In the end, it is engaging enough while you're actually reading it but utterly forgettable once you've finished.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A nice addition to vampire lit, not just for YA 26 Aug 2008
By R. Kelly Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't read all the graphic novels out there - I'm older generation, and still mostly like my books to be mostly words - but I do try to read all the vampire books I come across, and so I read this from the perspective of a vampire fan, rather than as a graphic-novel fan. And what I found was, this is a pretty good vampire story, a fun addition to the vampire subgenre, and not only for young adults.

As far as basic stuff goes, BunRab's Standard Vampire Classification: (1)the book is romance as well as fantasy and graphic. (2) The vampires have fairly traditional superpowers and weaknesses: strength, ability to hypnotize humans, drink strictly blood, can't eat solid food, harmed by daylight although they can be awake and indoors during the day; long lifespans but can be killed by severing their heads. (3) The vampires have lives that include jobs; they don't exist just as vampires for the sake of being vampires, doing nothing but brooding darkly; they also exist in a milieu that has a presence besides just being a home for the vampires - it's modern day Los Angeles, with weather and beaches and cars, not some un-named place where there are only vampires and victims. I tell you this so that you can compare it to other vampire types that you like, or don't like, and see if this fits in. If you like your vampires deadly serious (pardon the pun) and ancient, then these vampires, who have senses of humor and are mainly young people, wouldn't fit your vampire profile. But if you like Tanya Huff's vampires, for example, who crack jokes, work for a living, and interact with humans a lot, then you should enjoy these vampires.

Our hero works in a convenience store owned by his vampire master, a fairly neat conceit on which to start the story. The convenience store stocks products specifically for vampires as well as the usual run of things, for example, beer made from fermented blood! So vampires can pick up a six-pack for their poker game. And some of this is where the graphic-novel format adds to the story something one might not get just from a text novel: the visual element of seeing four old vampires sitting around in a basement den with a singing bass on the wall, arguing about the actors who played vampires in the movies. Or how Wes the surfer-dude can tart himself up pretty spiffily as Wes the rich man's son.

I like the other characters, too - Merle the biker, who only makes a couple of brief appearances; Dave's roommate, a human who is awesomely comfortable with living with a vampire.

The ending is a bit predictable, but there are a couple of original elements in it, and it was nice to have it not be too sappy or unbelievably happy. Overall, I would say there's as least as much plot and characterization as there is in many of the vampire series novels in plain text, and more than some; although it's not great literature, it is definitely an enjoyable read and a must for the collector of vampire books.
Fun But Somewhat Shallow 5 May 2010
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I grabbed this from the library when I was looking for something I could start and finish during my 45-minute lunch break, and it pretty much hit the spot. Don't get me wrong, it's not the kind of amazing graphic novel you go out and buy as a birthday gift for your hipster friends, it's more of a fluffy sugary treat, quick and fairly fun. The story is probably best described as Clerks meets '80s John Hughes teen movies -- with vampires. Basically, the authors are taking the popular image of vampires as sexy eternal lords who live well, and satirizing it with a cast of scrub vampires whose finances revolve around convenience stores and coffee shops, and generally look like shlubs.

Dave is one such shlub, a relatively newly minted vampire relegated to working the night shift at his vampire lord's convenience Los Angeles store. In a direct nod to Clerks, his best friend works next door at a copy shop (the 2008 version of a video store). Dave is pretty lame vampire, unwilling to drink real human blood, and thus perpetually run down due to his subsistence plasma diet. Naturally enough, he has a crush on a beautiful (non-vampire) goth chick whom he sees around. Also naturally enough, just as he gears himself up to approach her, a rival emerges in the form of a more traditionally virile and ruthless vampire (here in the form of handsome, macho surfer dude).

This love plotline goes pretty much as expected, although the writers do a nice trying to show how the goth chick's fantasy of being a vampire clashes with the reality as experienced by Dave and others. There are some pretty good gags, and nice deadpan humor (like Dave's roommate, a regular slightly nerdy human who seems entirely unfazed by Dave's transformation and vampire friends.), but ultimately, the characters are all "types" rather than fully realized people, and as such, sometime act in ways that don't really make sense, simply to drive the plot forward. It also doesn't help that the ending is poorly handled, with a major resolution taking place off-page and the whole thing kind of just petering out (perhaps in a nod to real life?). On the whole, a diverting enough read but not a book to go out of your way for, unless you're a vampire fanperson and want to see a different take.

Oh yes, I should note that as with everything this publisher puts out, the artwork is above average and the colorwork and production is top notch.
Good writing, mediocre art 1 Jun 2009
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dave Miller is a typical 20-something Angelino in a dead-end job, managing an all-night convenience store for a boss from the Olde Country who lectures him about his work ethic. The difference is, in this generally good graphic novel, Dave is a recently-made vampire, his boss is also his master, and the store is a favorite quick-shop stop for LA's undead community. Dave's apparently doomed to a long, long lifetime of rotating the hot dogs and restocking the Blood Brew. Because, as much as the goth girls at the local juice bar would like to think otherwise, this is the reality of vampirism in the 21st century. Dave, who is cursed with a baby-face and a wimpish personality, has his eye on one of those girls but doesn't quite know what to do about it. His undead buddy, Jerome (who runs a quick-copy shop for another vampire master), tries hard to help out, but Dave's going to need a lot of help -- especially in dealing with the wealthy surfer dude who wants the girl, too. There's a good story here, some effective deadpan humor, and a pretty good grasp of life as it is lived, but the artwork isn't up to the level of the writing. The author should have gotten someone like Adrian Tomine or Michel Rabagliati.
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