Bite Me! comic

Way back when I was an undergrad, a friend told me to look up Bite Me!, an online comic about vampires and the French Revolution.

Well. History. Who can resist that? Thus I was introduced to webcomics.

Bite Me cover

Bite Me! was created by Dylan Meconis, who also created Family Man, an online graphic novel which has a few overlapping characters with Bite Me!; Outfoxed; and Danse Macabre and other works. In her own words:

I began Bite Me in the winter of 2000, when I had a bunch of free periods in my senior year of high school, a burning desire to simultaneously make fun of A Tale of Two Cities and Interview With the Vampire, and easy access to a scanner I had gotten for Christmas the year before.

I began posting pages at the rate of one a week on my own little website: being on the web, and being a comic, it thus became a webcomic.  In 2002 I was asked to join, a subscription-based website in the ModernTales family.

I completed it in 2004, my junior year of college, having spent a semester on-site in Paris the previous year.  The comic became free again after its completion.  It is now hosted independently by me and is still free to read – and it’s also available in a shiny print edition (from my own imprint, Elea Press) for your bathroom-reading pleasure! (source)

Our protagonist, Claire, is a barmaid in France during the revolution, and not exactly enjoying her job (too many dishes to wash, too many louts demanding ale) when 1. a “really… interesting…” handsome young male with cheekbones to die for walks in, 2. Claire loses her temper and clocks one of the aforementioned louts when he has the temerity to slap her behind, and 3. the really interesting handsome young male intervenes (with a sword) to keep the clocked lout’s two friends from starting anything, and then requests lodging from the barkeep. Oh, and 4. you remember that really interesting handsome young male? Yeah. He’s a vampire. And, as it turns out, there’s a whole lot of vampires in Paris who need to be rescued.

So, what might you like about Bite Me!? For a start, you get to see the artist’s style evolve. Yes, I know regularity is more the thing, but the Greek vase-like depictions of Claire on the first several pages are pretty cool, even if the overall style ended up being slightly different. The shift in style doesn’t feel abrupt, and both the initial approach and the style the bulk of the work is done in are enjoyable to read. Another reason to read it is for the history. Hey, history is funny, okay? And Claire was completely, totally crazy, so the fact that the plot and rest of the cast are too just fit. Also, it’s funny.

Why you might not like Bite Me!: Um… you like things to be realistic, especially when the setting is a gruesome historical period? Parody isn’t your thing? You don’t like vampires? (I don’t, actually, so I empathize.) The characters are completely zonky, and there’s both gore and innuendo. One of the vampires actually does take the whole supposed satan-worship thing a bit seriously, which is unsettling and feels out of place compared to the madcap riot that is the rest of the story. Oh, and there is insta-love, it’s just more amusing than insta-love usually is.

Bite Me! is mad, full of puns and other jokes, and offers a wild take on the French revolution. It won’t change your life but it provides a zany, comedic break from more rigorous reading. (Also, there’s a character who looks kind of like David Bowie in Labyrinth, or so the comments below the comic say. Yash, what do you think?) In short, Bite Me! won’t pluck at your heartstrings, but it might tap at your funnybone.

9 responses to “Bite Me! comic

  1. Haha! It’s that Audric, isn’t it? He has a Jared/Goblin King-esque look about him. I wonder if he can juggle *whispers* balls? *ahem* Crystal balls, I mean. Okay, I’ll stop with the dirty jokes (for now). Thanks for making a post about this Janet. I know what I am going to be reading today …

    • By market, do you mean is there a living to be made and do they sell? Making money is hard, as with any artistic endeavour, but yes, the really good webcomics are often printed and sold in book form. Others are available online to readers who pay a subscription fee, although I’m not sure how that works. Hope that helps!

      • It does I have a lady who’s son writes and designs comics really nice and she wants me to publish them I understand how but don’t want to invest too much money if it’s no return but it helps thanks and I love your blog posts

    • Yes and no. A lot of times in the case of webcomics, the comic itself is the loss-leading draw. The steady stream of new content drives traffic, which in turn can be leveraged for (modest-to-meagre) advertising revenues. However, once the comic has a both sufficient content and a steady fanbase, the creator can make additional money by any number of methods:
      -print editions- Once an arc meets a reasonable conclusion, or if you just have enough to put something out, you can release a print edition. This is risky, though, and likely requires the most fans to be successful. People have to not only want to come for the free content but have to be willing to pay for what they’ve been getting for free. That’s some love.
      -donation perks- Usually in the form of one-offs and wallpapers, these exclusives can be given out in appreciation for small donations to support the artist.
      -misc merchandise- The comic may be free, but who wouldn’t want a cuddly version of a main character? One of my favorite webcomics, Rusty & Co., doesn’t have a print edition yet, but did have a successful kickstarter to make a plushie of the titular Rust Monster. Caution is advised, though, if any other entity could lay claim to the intellectual property, however.
      -fan commissions- These may be frequent or infrequent, but sometimes fans of the artist might be interested in commissioning unique pieces for personal or commercial use. For instance, when I put out the LP “The Worst Music Dracula Ever Heard”, I commissioned Christopher Hastings of Dr.McNinja to do the cover-art.

      The best way to make your comic a success is to be discovered by someone else who is “important” in the webcomic world, because shoutouts from them can lead to massive traffic.

      I hope some of this helps!

        • Well, in some respects it is very different. For one thing, one doesn’t have to have a finished work to begin ‘selling’ the story. Even a single page will do. And unlike publishing a novel, typically the fans have already ready the story, and any purchase is made to support the artist/writer rather than to ‘check out’ the work.

          I’d suggest taking a look at Order of the Stick and it’s model and its history. It’s one of the bigger webcomic success stories out there.

  2. Pingback: Yet More Comics, Webcomics, and Illustrated Gems | The Book Wars·

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