featurebanner_vamplets_reviewAMBER LOVE 12-AUG-2013 Finally got around to reviewing the first two chapters of the brand new series from Action Lab Entertainment, VAMPLETS based on the popular toy line created by Gayle Middleon.

Vamplets-SDCC-197x300VAMPLETS #1
Written by: Gayle Middleton & Dave Dwonch
Art by: Amanda Coronado
Colors by: Bill Blankenship
Lettered by: Dave Dwonch
Published by: Action Lab Entertainment

When I first saw VAMPLETS at a New York City Toy Fair trade show years ago, I immediately fell in love with the little creatures. Since then, Gayle Middleton has expanded her franchise to include more types of creatures and more media for fans to enjoy. This year I finally got to adopt my very own at the CGS Supershow. Now the first two chapters of the VAMPLETS graphic novel are collected into a hardcover edition by Action Lab Entertainment and includes the team efforts of the Vamplets makers and ALE’s talented roster of writers and artists.

The artwork by Amanda Coronado holds up as well in the comic as it does on their website and with the actual toys as well. Bill Blankenship’s colors are perfectly chosen in a palette of matte violets, greys and pinks. The story by Vamplets’ mother goddess Gayle Middleton and ALE writer Dave Dwonch is about a vampyre nursery in Gloomvania in need of a nanny. If you have visited their official website, you might have already taken the time to act as a nanny to Lily Rose and her fellow baby creatures. There are five core vamplets and Howliss the baby werewolf at the heart of the plot but there’s plenty of reference to other babies to emphasize how overwhelming the position of nursery nanny is. Mr. G, the overseer of the nursery quickly places an ad and without any warning, mortal human being Destiny Harper is swept away like Alice Liddell to a bizarre world where what’s hideous is desirable and what’s sweet is avoided.

The team takes a fish out of water story and builds it into a strong journey of friends facing challenges. The challenges aren’t just transparent ones like how crazy it is when Howliss runs off at the marketplace; they take their time exploring metaphoric racism and classism with the characters of Destiny and her experienced stinkbug companion Racket who faces prejudices because he doesn’t stink. Through seeing Racket’s daily life as a janitor at a gentlemen’s only bar, readers are taught that because he is not hideous, he is forced into menial “lowly” work since nowhere else would take him. Destiny is also joined by a shrunken head named Penny who translates monster languages for her. Penny is irascible and hides that she is happy to be a friend to Penny. This bond of strangers is akin to the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and the modern tales of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic which is no coincidence since Middleton is also the MLP creator responsible for this new generation of ponies. Middleton’s foundation is in toy designing. She’s worked on franchises from Star Trek to E.T. and besides MLP, she also created Littlest Pet Shop for Hasbro.

One thing parents never have to worry about is the blood and gore of Gloomvania. These artists make sure that everything is cute and adorable, appropriate for all ages.