Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter by Rich Moyer

Some books just speak to me. As soon as I see the cover or read the blurb I know that I’m going to love it. Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter had me at the title. I knew this was going to be hilarious, but I underestimated how much I would be laughing my ass off!

Ham Helsing has always been the odd one out in his family. The other males in his family have been daring and adventurous, hunting down monsters, but Ham doesn’t fit the mold. They may have had the brawn but not the brains, and they have all died in stupid situations. Now, the only one left is Ham, and it’s down to him to carry on the family legacy. Reluctantly, he sets out on his first quest. Mud Canyon has a vampire problem and they need a hero to save the day. With the help of a couple of enterprising rodents, a werewolf and a ninja, Ham sets off to hunt down the vampire. When they eventually confront the vampire, they discover he isn’t quite what they were expecting. There are other forces at work, and Ham and his friends must work together to defeat them.

Ham Helsing is an epically funny graphic novel that kids will be clamouring to get their hands on. Rich Moyer infuses humour into every aspect of the story, from the events of the story and the illustrations to the characters and the dialogue. The montage at the start of the book, of Ham’s family members dying in stupid situations, sets the tone for the story and gets you laughing straight away. Rich’s comedic timing had me laughing out loud. At the same time, Rich makes you feel for his hero, who didn’t really want to be a hero. There is plenty of action too, that keeps the story moving.

The characters are all endearing, especially Ham. I love his smiling face on the front cover because he looks like nothing would faze him. He’s very loyal and is always trying to do the right thing. Many of the characters are not who they appear to be, which adds to the humour of the story. The werewolf seems scary when Ham first meets him but he’s actually quite tame. I cracked up every time he transformed back into a human! The vampire in the story isn’t as terrifying as he’s made out to be either, especially with a name like Malcolm and bacon for minions.

Rich’s illustrations are bursting with humour and his characters are really expressive. There are lots of visual gags and Rich regularly uses chunks of wordless panels to tell the story. I especially like the parts where the werewolf transforms. I love what Josh Lewis has done with the colours too. The cover alone is brilliant! Much of the story takes place at night and Josh has done a great job of capturing moonlight and torchlight on the characters’ faces.

I desperately need more Ham Helsing adventures, and Rich leaves the ending hanging, so here’s hoping for more books! This is a must-have for school libraries, especially for those kids that love a good laugh.

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