If you’ve been reading comics longer than I have, you might be familiar with Chastity Marks. I wasn’t, but found out that this was a reboot on the final page of Issue #1 when Marc Andreyko wrote about what drew him to Chas and the tweaks he’s made to her story so far. (For the curious few among you, she originally appeared in Chaos Comics in the 90s.) Weirdly, Marc’s letter was actually one of my favorite parts of the book, as it gave me a little more background in where he saw the story happening—a glimpse inside his creative process. But more on that in a bit.
In this new version, Chastity Marks is the daughter of a very driven sports “momager” and a mostly absent dad. Chas has a younger brother, but his asthma cuts him out of their mother’s plans to have another Olympian in the family, so all the pressure for this falls on Chas. You can imagine what happens when she seriously injures herself and can no longer compete. To fill the hours suddenly free from practice and competition, Chas starts to read the current vampire book du jour, and finds herself immersed in a very different world as a result.
And here’s why I love Marc’s author notes: in a post Twilight world, it’s easy to imagine that Chas is a Twi-hard. (As a side note, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I have a number of friends who are Twi-hards.) However, Chastity the comic is set in the mid-80s, and the vampire books of the time didn’t feature Edward Cullen, they starred the Vampire Lestat. I don’t know about you, but in a competition between those two, I think Lestat always wins. He’s edgier than Edward, for one thing, and I feel like those fans of vampire romance indoctrinated by Anne Rice are a little edgier than Stephanie Meyer’s readers as a result. This is my personal headcanon, you don’t have to accept it, but it gave me a lot of insight into Chas…which is probably also headcanon.
The TL;DR version of this review is that I love this book. The main character has a really rich storyline happening before the action that’s going to propel the rest of the series begins, but Chas’s backstory is so good that I don’t mind this. She’s spirited and strong-willed, and it doesn’t hurt that she has short red hair like yours truly. Speaking of that, I love the artwork. The flip between the lighter colors in Chas’s life to the darker palette used once she gets hooked on Blood Rose is great, and the style of the drawings really evokes some of my favorite cartoons the 80s, like if Jem and the Holograms took a turn for the vampiric.
Chastity #1 is the total package, and I’m really looking forward to issue #2. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Dave Acosta
Colorist: Thiago Ribeiro
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Release Date: 7/9/14