The DC Universe has all kinds of supernatural and magical creatures in it. And this month, one group of them will get tired of taking a backseat to the others.
I, Vampire by indie darling writer Joshua Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino, takes the concept of vampirism and puts it squarely into the middle of the DCU, where the strength and supernatural abilities of vampires take on a whole different context.
"Mostly, it's not what you think it is," Fialkov said of the book, which he's writing as a rare combination of real, blood-filled horror and twisted vampire romance.
The comic, which Fialkov called "nasty and mean," focuses on the lives of two vampires — Andrew, who strives to be good, and Mary, who doesn't — and how the creatures of the night fit within the larger landscape of the superhero-filled DC Universe.
Fialkov comes to the book after writing the critically acclaimed creator-owned titles Tumor, Echoes and the current Last of the Greats and Deep Valley. He's also dabbled in other superhero work, including a recent story in Superman/Batman and an upcoming co-writing gig on the Marvel comic Iron Man 2.0 with another indie recruit, Nick Spencer.
Although this is a brand new version of the characters, the I, Vampire idea isn't new to DC. The concept was created for DC by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Tom Sutton back in 1981, and he's been revived in other DC Comics several times since.
Newsarama spoke with Fialkov to find out more about what he's hoping to bring to the I, Vampire story and why he thinks this vampire story is different.
Newsarama: Josh, what appealed to you about I, Vampire? And as you've started to write it, what do you think will most appeal to readers?
Joshua Fialkov: First off, I loved the DeMatteis stuff on the book. He's one of my favorite writers, and it was one of the first things he created for DC, so, that part of it is a huge honor. What appealed to me, honestly, was the challenge of it. I've never written monster-style horror and I've only dabbled in Romance. So, getting a chance to a write a nasty, mean horror book that has this beautiful love story in the middle was massively exciting.But, on top of that, two of my good friends are writing two of the key pieces of vampire fiction in the world right now. Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night brought horror and vampires back to comics, and really defined for a generation of comics readers what vampires are. Then Scott Snyder, with American Vampire, has found a way to spin vampirism into the historical epic. Both guys are positively brilliant, so, finding a new take that is radically different from either of their approaches was... tough to say the least.
I think we did it though, the book is nasty and mean, but, it's really about the DCU, and what it means to be a vampire in a world where you're not the biggest toughest monster. When there are so many oddities walking the streets, why would you have to hide in the shadows? It's just evolution, and yet they're punished for it.
Nrama: Are these vampires different from the traditional "garlic/holy water/night-only" types? Or are they more in line with that traditional mythology?
Fialkov: I went more or less straight out of Dracula. They can walk in the sun, but their powers are reduced... they transform into mist and bats and wolves (and combinations of all three), need to be invited in, all of that stuff. You need to stake and behead them to kill them (and a little bit of sunlight with that combo makes sure they stay dead.) But, from there, we've been building our own mythology, and I can't wait for people to see the cool stuff that we're doing.
Nrama: What makes this different from other vampire stories?Fialkov: I think about this a lot. I feel like there's a lot of vampire romance and there's a lot of vampire horror. This book is both. It really is a glorious love story just soaked in blood. Fun for all ages!
Nrama: How does it merge with the DCU? What elements of the superhero universe are you finding that fit with this vampire corner of the world?
Fialkov: Well, it's very much born out of the idea that the vamps shouldn't have to hide themselves if there's aliens and monsters walking among us. We also get to see a few guest stars from the DCU in upcoming issues, but I don't want to spoil them just yet.
Nrama: Andrea's art seems like it could have a real horror edge to it. Does the book lean that way? Or is it more toward another genre?Fialkov: It's very much hard horror, but the romance is very much an equal partner in it. Like I said, I'm trying desperately to dance that line between pain and pleasure, so to speak, and fortunately, Andrea is amazing at it.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Andrew Bennett? What is he like?
Fialkov: He's a broken man. He's driven entirely by his mistakes and trying to make up for them, but, that means he doesn't make great decisions. So he's impulsive, and reckless, but, at the same time, he's had five hundred years to learn to control his body and his powers, so, he's also amazing. He does things that other vampires don't even know they can do.
Nrama: And how does his love, Mary, fit into the story?Fialkov: For me, she's the co-star. The two of them should have top billing, as far as I'm concerned. She's his opposite in every way. She's impulsive, too, but rather than letting her emotions guide her, she's logic driven. What's the best way to get what she wants, and who does she have to kill to get there. She's just a complete and utter blast to write.
Nrama: No way you can reveal who else from the DCU we might see in the book?
Fialkov: Ah, that would be telling.
Nrama: OK then... favorite scene from Issue #1 you can at least hint about?
Fialkov: There's a scene where Mary turns into a wolf and eats a swan while Andrew watches, and I think you understand their relationship more in that moment and better than I could ever hope.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about I, Vampire?
Fialkov: Mostly, it's not what you think it is. If you want mainstream comic publishers to take a chance on books and really spread their wings and try new stuff, then support books like I, Vampire and Demon Knights and Swamp Thing.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!