There appears to a be a bit of a renaissance going on right now with to theWhite Wolf franchise and more specifically, properties from the Old World of Darkness. Seemingly out of nowhere, Walkabout Games recently released the visual novel Heart of Darkness that has so far been incredibly well-received. It’s art, game mechanics and overall feel harkened back to the nineties heyday of WW products, an era I personally loved for their blend of punk and goth wrapped up in an incredibly detailed world. At the same time as Heart of Darkness was released, Vault Comics published the first issue of Winter’s Teeth, another throw-back property that delves into the Old World in loving detail.
Currently on Issue #4 of the run, Winter’s Teeth is a delightful amalgamation of all things Vampire the Masquerade. It contains two separate storylines, one focused on a Dirty Boot enforcer for the Camarilla, a vampire sheriff investigating a series of vampire murders, alongside a plot about a gang of thin-blooded [anarchs] living on the outskirts of the Boots domain. In addition, each issue includes excellent supplementary RPG material at the issues conclusion that details actual V:tM stats for select characters as well as new Discipline powers, world-building details and OWoD lore.
Written by Timy Seeley, Tini Howard and Blake Howard, Winter’s Teeth completely captures the mood of Vampire:tM that OWoD was so excellent at creating. The characters are given compelling and realistic (from an undead bloodsucking perspective) motivations and the intrigue that the vampire institutions like the Camarilla, Sabbat and Clan dynamics are on full display and front and center. It also touches on the nuances of old and new vampires, skillfully incorporating concepts like the Beast, unchanging elders versus struggling ancillae and fledgling neonates dealing with their lost humanity, with a respect for the RPG source material that in many ways reminds me of the Mandalorian’s approach to storytelling in the Star Wars mythos. Intertwined with this great world building and lore are small, introspective moments that characters are given throughout the four issues published thus far. From a pure vampire standpoint, I’ve also read few comics that capture the powers and abilities of the undead so succinctly and in a compelling way as Winter’s Teeth does and delivers them in characters that feel real.
The artwork for Winter’s Teeth is done by artists Dev Pramnik and Nathan Gooden and similar to Heart of Darkness, recalls the ’90’s style that made WW games so addictive. It feels slightly amateurish at times, but these moments are few and far between. And other than the occasional page long panels of characters singing (I’m not a fan of music in comics, generally), there’s little about any of the four issues so far that I have to critique. Winter’s Teeth is an excellent series, both from a World of Darkness perspective and just as a stand alone series itself. For the amount of content you get, two storylines and actual gaming material, the price tag is ridiculously low – $4.99. In print at your local comic shop (with a standard and variant cover), Winter’s Teeth is also available through Comixology and also, surprisingly and delightfully, through DriveThruRPG.