Writer/Illustrator: Sarah Andersen (@SarahCAndersen)
WHAT IS IT?
Fangs is the curious and macabre tale of a vampire and werewolf who learn to navigate their (after)lives together, told through snapshots of their blossoming relationship.
Think of it as Sarah’s Scribbles meets The Addams Family.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
While out at a monster-friendly bar one night, Elsie is asked the age-old question; cats or dogs? Why, dogs of course! Her answer is overheard by Jimmy, who finds himself entranced by the charming and blunt woman and decides to make a move. After several drinks and an abundance of puns, the two confess feelings of loneliness from being misunderstood that only other monsters could truly grasp. Elsie is a three-hundred-year-old vampire living her best goth girl life, while Jimmy is a literal good boy who changes into a fang-filled beast under the full moon.
Then they proceed to make out, because what else are drunken creatures of the night supposed to do after that?
Elsie is forced to make the ultimate pro/con list: does she eat him or date him? Thus begins the creepily cute adventures of a carefree vampire and her tail-wagging beau as they dance under the moonlight, take dramatic walks through the graveyards, and fill their days with morbid humor. This delightfully dark, supernatural slice-of-life comic is both charming and twisted in all the right ways.
Andersen has an exceptional understanding of balance between cute and creepy. The relationship between Elsie and Jimmy feels like a Millennial-age take on Morticia and Gomez; there’s a twisted humor to their conversations and an existential dread that can elicit both chuckles and the warm-fuzzies with ease.
The simplicity and style of Andersen’s art is iconic at this point. The characters are done in a basic black and white manner, with solidly filled backgrounds of varying blacks, whites, and grays that really make the lovebirds pop. The modern style reminds us that history’s favorite monsters are truly timeless.
The lettering is easy to read and sized well for the panels. The classic comic strip style of the series doesn't offer a lot of real estate, so the consistently sized and cleanly done speech bubbles/sound effects allow the written pieces to come across legibly and don't overwhelm the illustrations.
The mixture of full-page illustrations and old-fashioned comic strip storytelling allows for the progression of Elsie and Jimmy’s relationship to move in a manner that portrays a sense of longevity and tangible development. As they learn each other, discover boundaries, and fall in love, we can feel the impact of their relationship grow with every snapshot we see.
This comic is hysterical. The humor teeters on morbid, yet keeps the quick-witted charm that Andersen is known for that is oh-so relatable. The comedy ranges from your basic debilitating garlic-breath-filled kisses to Jimmy’s uncontrollable hatred for the mailman to deciding that Texas Chainsaw is a lighthearted comedy. It appeals to those with a twisted sense of humor and anyone who appreciates a good pun.
The modern setting allows for Elsie and Jimmy to break out of their archetype tropes. Elsie is blunt, snarky, and sarcastic, while Jimmy is collected, thoughtful, and shy. Breaking the well-known creatures out of their typical, cliched traits makes the duo unforgettable and stand out amongst their peers in modern stories.
It’s an easy-to-read, low-stress comic. With less than 80 pages (or an even one-hundred pages in the physical edition), you can read and re-read it a dozen times over and never be bored. The humor is timeless and the honesty in their relationship is heartwarming, making it a story to return to time and again.
The werewolf traits of Jimmy’s character are noteworthy. His inability to stop himself from chasing squirrels, kicking his leg when Elsie scratches his head, and clawing at the door when she asks if he wants to go for a walk tickles the funny bones of both horror-fanatics and dog-lovers alike. It captures a modern vibe and comes across in an authentic manner, you could easily believe that lycanthropes would probably act as such in these hipster-influenced times we live in.
The low-key, modern spooky aesthetic is a vibe. The attention to detail in the decor, the outfits, and overall style is appealing. It leans toward creepy-chic and makes those of us who keep our Halloween decorations up year-round smile.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Blood, use of alcohol, dark humor, some adult/sexual themes and conversations, and strong language.
When comparing the web version to the print version, the web version has a lower quality to it and does not look as sharp. In the print version, the lines are crisper. Several of Elsie’s outfits are not as defined in the web edition, which is a shame since many of her dresses are gorgeous in design and texture, and those details feel lost.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
When the opening page of a comic features a monster-friendly bar called The Odditorium with Bela Lugosi’s face on the side, a sharp-witted goth girl, and a flannel-wearing hipster werewolf, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Fangs is filled with wickedly dark humor that starts at page one and doesn't let up until the end and both newcomers and long-time fans of Andersen’s works will appreciate it. With uncanny vibes akin to Welcome to Night Vale and the morbid romanticism of The Addams Family, this tale of supernatural soulmates touches on realistic situations in honest and funny ways.
This collection of moments about the messy realities that come alongside any romantic relationship balances the nuances that are common in slice-of-life stories with supernatural shenanigans. Watching Elsie and Jimmy deal with modern romance and the added complexities of being a slave to the twenty-eight-day moon cycle is relatable and comforting, reminding you that even the weirdest of people can find their other half someday (even if it takes a few hundred years).
Fangs was the Fan Favorite New Series winner at the 2020 Ringo Awards after its release on Tapas and received a physical edition in September of the same year that went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. The horror tropes, weirdly relatable duo of protagonists, and modern take on classic creatures of the night make this an instant classic for a wide variety of readers. A light, easy, bite-sized story to sink your teeth into, Fangs is a must for fans of horror, humor, and feel-good, timeless tales. Once you’ve read it, you’ll be howling “relationship goals!” at the moon 'til the sun comes up.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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All Sarah Andersen characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Sarah Andersen or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.