Z2 5

Vampire Cruise (2021)

Another favorite zine from last year is Vampire Cruise (2021) by Amanda Lee Franck. It is pure delight. And also deadly.

The nut of the thing is right there in the name. The zine details a cruise that, while not full of vampires, features them in a high concentration. Everyone that isn’t a vampire is a mummy (there is a whole mummy cult sub-plot) or food. But it is also a cruise, so in addition to hunting monsters and being monster lunch, there are plenty of traditional cruise leisure activities to take part in. I love this contrast. Amanda’s text from the itch.io page captures the feel well: “And then you can’t find your aunt, and you wake up woozy in your cabin clutching a note you don’t remember writing that says ‘deck 13 at noon. bring something sharp.’ On the other hand there’s a ping pong tournament.”

Taken on the merits, this is a romp, especially in our new plague age when things like cruises do kind of feel like potential death traps. I also enjoy the just-barely subtext of political commentary that casts vampires as wealthy parasites in need of culling.

Franck’s art is the perfect pairing for Franck’s prose, too. She is very much her own artist, but you can catch glimpses of Gorey and Addams here and there. The vampire sunning himself under heavy netting is a great example of this. The boat cross section is also delightful. And the purple and black cover? So goth, so good.

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