Blood & Water

Blood & Water was a 2003 five-issue horror comic book series written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Tomm Coker , with covers by Brian Bolland . It was published by Vertigo Comics from March to July, 2003, with cover dates from May to September, 2003.

It stars Adam Heller, a young man with terminal illnesses, who lives with a price.

Full credits

  • Writer: Judd Winick
  • Artist: Tomm Coker
  • Colors: Jason Wright & Digital Chameleon
  • Covers: Brian Bolland
  • Letters: Kurt Hathaway
  • Editors: Mariah Huehner & Heidi MacDonald


San Francisco resident Adam Heller is a young man who had a bright future ahead of him. But a hepatitis A , forcing him to drop out of college, and taking up his ounce of athletic body away from him. He has just been told of an inoperable hepatoma on his liver, and has not long to live.

Adam’s best friend of five years, Joshua, and his lover, Nicole, tell him that they are vampires, and want to turn him into one to save his life. Adam is frightened, but they explain that vampires are not villains who attack innocent humans, but only drink animal blood, because human blood turns vampires into irreversible psychotics that the vampire community must then “take out”. Although they are sensitive to light, they are sensitive to light, and wear sunblock and sunglasses regularly. They are immortal (Nicole is 278 years old), never become sick, and they have the strength of humans, though they can die if they bleed to death or experience massive tissue loss.

Adam agrees to become a vampire, and drinks some of their blood. After a painful transformation, he is born anew, the ills suffered from his body having disappeared. Adam enjoys his new life, the powers he has, and the sex that he has not had in three years.

One night, Josh is attacked and mauled by a mysterious assailant. Taking refuge at Adam’s apartment before he dies, he begs Adam to make sure he is cremated within twenty-four hours, because vampires who die without cremation returns as emotionless zombies . After Josh dies, Adam and Nicky are joined by other members of the vampire community at a wooded ceremonial plot outside Santa Cruz. Malcolm, the oldest living vampire, and the greatest hunter-tracker among them, says that another vampire could have killed Josh, and that a unit of the Taveen, a sort of royal guard of the vampire race, is already investigating. He refuses to help, however, because he is no longer Taveen, and is done hunting vampires. An altercation ensues, and Adam strikes Malcolm, who’s wondering how to a month-old vampire could do this to one of the Ancient Ones. Malcolm says that Adam is “old blood”, calling him “Tribe”. Nicky is horrified at this, and the other vampires flee in terror.

Nicky explains that a generation of vampires called tribes, which are vampires, who are physically and mentally altering, becoming ferocious creatures whose strength is that of normal vampires. Unlike normal vampires, they procreated, and their children were mostly abandoned, murdered or devoured. They eventually turned into a hibernation, and would only be awakened by the smell of one of their own. It was feared that some of the Tribe’s abandoned children would be found and raised by humans, their true nature remaining as long as they did not feed on blood. Adam is apparently a descendant of the Tribe, and when Josh and Nicky made him, he only became a member of the world, but he was a member of that race, who attacked Josh because Adam’s blood smells like that of his maker.

Adam and Nicky return to San Francisco, and wait for the creature in Golden Gate Park . Adam confesses that he did not get Hepatitis A from food poisoning, but from a dirty heroin needle. He and Nicky are then attacked by Tribe. Malcolm arrives to assist Adam and Nicky, and Adam kills the Tribe. Nicky tells Adam that she must be in love with Josh, but jokingly tells Adam that since he’s the only vampire in existence who can procreate, she might return to him one day.


Don MacPherson of, reviewing the first issue, was surprised by the range of Winick’s writing, stating that Winick’s strong characterization was the common element in his humor, biographical, and superherocomics, and now shown in his horror work. He commended the stark, textured realism of Tomm Coker’s art, and the surreal tone by Jason Wright’s colors. MacPherson was impressed by Winick and Coker’s depiction of Adam’s hepatitis, with whom Josh and Nicky’s offbeat characters, added a mature, twisted sense of fun to the story. [1]

Randy Lander, reviewing the second issue, referred to the vampire material as “great”, praising Josh and Nicky’s humor, and the concrete terms with which Winick describes things like the taste of the blood concoction, the way vampires live and eat, and the anecdote about vampire celebrities. Lander praised Coker’s art as “moody but not too dark”, especially Adam’s hallucinations as he is made. [2]

Rick Dakan of also thinks the artwork is “very strong and moody” and perfectly suited to the story, but thought the story was a little slow. He nonetheless thought Winick handled the exhibition of issue # 2 well, and enjoyed it as much as the first issue. [3]


  1. Jump up^ MacPherson, Don; Review of Blood & Water # 1 at Archived onJune 19, 2006, at theWayback Machine.
  2. Jump up^ Lander, Randy; Review of Blood & Water # 2 at ArchivedSeptember 26, 2007, at theWayback Machine.
  3. Jump up^ Dakan, Rick; Review of Blood & Water # 2 at

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