Created by Scott Snyder with artist Rafael Albuquerque, American Vampire launched from Vertigo as a creator-owned ongoing series in 2010. It was originally supposed to feature an introduction written by Stephen King, but King opted to instead script the origin story of Skinner Sweet, which ran as a backup feature in the first five issues of the series.
The series runs in a format where series co-creator and artist Rafael Albuquerque will illustrate the main story arcs, then after those are complete, he will take a short time off to rest/gain lead in for the next, while a guest artist will illustrate a supplementary story that either focuses on a supporting character, or is a flashback.
With the success of American Vampire, Snyder wrote a limited series in 2011 called American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest, with art by Sean Murphy, that ran concurrently with the main ongoing series. Later in June 2012, a second miniseries titled American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares launched with Dustin Nguyen illustrating.
The ongoing series won both the 2011 Eisner Award and Harvey Award for Best New Series.
At New York Comic Con 2012, Snyder announced that following the conclusion of the Blacklist arc, after December's issue #34, the title would go on a temporary hiatus. During the break, Snyder mentioned that he and Albuquerque would continue to collaborate together, but didn't specify any further than that. The title is planned to resume publication in late 2013. During the hiatus, a special one shot starring vampire hunter Travis Kidd titled American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell would be released, with the story being co-written by Albuquerque. Following The Long Road to Hell, Vertigo would release American Vampire Anthology, featuring "lost" stories told by creators such as Greg Rucka, Jeff Lemire, Gail Simone, Francesco Francavilla, Becky Cloonan and more.
A full year after the hiatus was announced, news came out of NYCC 2013 that American Vampire would return in March now called American Vampire: Second Cycle.
There is such a thing as vampire evolution. As the curse is inflicted upon new peoples of new lands, new bloodlines of vampires rise with their own unique characteristics and abilities. In the 1880s, the sadistic outlaw Skinner Sweet becomes the first American Vampire. He wars against other vampires and humans alike throughout American history and only intentionally sires one other of his kind, Pearl Jones who Sweet turns into a vampire in the 1920s.
The series would later jump to a few years later to the mid 30s, and focus on a young Las Vegas police officer by the name of Cashel McCogan (who would later co-star in American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest) as he is thrust into the war that Skinner Sweet waged against the ancient vampire species. Cash would eventually join the Vassals of the Morning Star, a vampire hunting organization after Sweet infects his unborn son, Gus, with his vampiric blood.
The series would then jump forward to the 40s, once again focusing on Peral Jones' story, more specifically that of her human husband Henry Preston, who due to his age is denied entry to serve on the front lines in Japan during WWII, but joins the Vassals of the Morning Star on a secret mission to investigate Japanese experimentation with the vampire species. Unbeknownst to all but Henry, who plays dumb to the subject, Skinner Sweet is able to infiltrate the Vassals unit in which Henry serves. The arc eventually leads to a fight to the death between Pearl and Skinner, with some surprising revelations.
Following a short arc detailing Skinner Sweet's past before turning into a Vampire, the series' main story will jump into the 1950s, and follow a young vampire hunter by the name of Travis Kidd, who uses a set of wooden fangs to "bite back" the vampires. After Kidd's stories, the book stays in the 1950s, transition back to Pearl, where she joins the VMS and Skinner Sweet to kill hidden vampire covens within Hollywood. This arc, titled "The Blacklist" would change the dynamic of the entire series moving forward.