These Savage Shores Vol. 1, collecting issues #1-5 of the epic story from writer Ram V, artist Sumit Kumar, colorist Vittorio Astone, and letterer Aditya Bidikar hits local comic shops Wednesday, Oct. 30 and bookstores Tuesday, Nov. 12. Vault comics also has a limited gold print of the trade coming Nov. 23 for Local Comic Shop Day 2019. But in case you missed the first installation in this sprawling, supernatural vampire tale, The Beat has you covered.

Below, you can read the entire These Savage Shores #1 for FREE. Plus, we have an exclusive statement from Ram V about the story. Without further ado, here are his words and the comic itself. (Click the images to enlarge.)

Ram V on These Savage Shores:

Write what you know.

“I’ll bet every writer, at some point, has been offered this advice—a longstanding staple of literary clichés handed down as prescription against the perils of reaching for things beyond our grasp. But it is distracting advice, at best.

“The real question is, what do we know? What is knowing? Is it a quantitative aggregate of information we obtain through reading, watching, parsing through data? Is it qualitative- sensory familiarity, empathy, muscle memory?

“When I was first told, ‘Write what you know,’ my reaction was to scoff at the advice. Rebel against it. I found it limiting, restrictive. In hindsight, perhaps both the advice and its interpretation were lacking nuance. Knowing is a marvelous thing. It is difficult to describe exactly what it is to know something.

“When I was growing up in India, I lived in a small house, cloistered among other small houses. A sleepy, quiet space accessible through a narrow alleyway with a gnarled Banyan tree peering over its entrance. I know that place. I know it entirely and exactly, even after all these years. I know that if you drove out the gate too fast, you’d scrape the rear end of your car on the trunk of the Banyan tree. I know that if you hit a cricket ball over the eastern wall, it’d fall into an empty lot that you couldn’t get to and was probably littered with hundreds of balls hit into it over the years. I know that behind the building, the older boys smoked cigarettes and hid a stack of naughty magazines under a wooden crate, so they could ogle at its pages. I know the sound of rain falling into the unused well past the chain-link fence.

“That kind of knowing is difficult to define. It comes from experience, familiarity, time. In 2013, when I began taking my writing seriously, a cousin pointed out that everything I was writing was a paler version of something I had only consumed but did not necessarily know. American crime or Euro-centric medieval fantasy or science fiction set in some altogether expected location.

“That is not to say that I needed to write only Indian stories in Indian settings. I took that to mean that I wasn’t infusing my stories with the kind of knowing that comes from living your life.

These Savage Shores is me digging deep into what I know. Yes, it has Vampires. Yes, it’s set in the 1760s long before I was born. Its love, romance, politics were all before my time. But I know the place where I come from. I know its secrets, its stories. Legends passed down from grandparents and their parents. Histories written in royal records and alternate histories carved into the walls of caves. I have walked through the halls where my characters once roamed. I have watched from the overlook where they once stood and felt the same kind of love and romance that can only be written about and never quite tangibly defined.

“I can imagine the things we lost to colonialism, I can imagine the ache of a place changing for fear of being left behind by time. I’m writing of kings and monsters and superstitions and wars. But on some level, I’m writing the stories I was told as a kid. I am writing what I know. And perhaps, when you read it, you will know it as well. As if we sat down by firelight, in the crisp night air, and I told you a story of a place long gone. One that exists now, only in its knowing.”

Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Designer: Tim Daniel
On Sale: 10/30/2019

Two centuries after the first European ship sailed to the Malabar Coast and made landfall at Calicut, The East India Company seeks to secure its future along the lucrative Silk Route, in the year 1766. An old evil now sails aboard a company ship, hoping to make a home in this new found land. But he will soon find that the ground along the Indus is an ancient one with daemons and legends far older than himself.

Along These Savage Shores, where the days are scorched and the nights are full of teeth.

These Savage Shores TPB