We interrupt our regularly scheduled Wide World of Webcomics to bring you a late-breaking story of an all-new action-horror tale that’s going online with some of today’s best talents.Over the last few weeks, we’ve been receiving mysterious teasers containing the ominous phrase “THE WORLD WILL BLEED.” We thought to ourselves what most people would: “Ain’t that a bitch?” And now we can reveal who and what will be doing the bleeding – Ian Brill, former BOOM! Studios editor and writer of Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers, has put together the artistic team of Rahsan Ekedal, Declan Shalvey, Gabriel Hardman and Tonci Jonzic for a tale that can be described as “Occupy Transylvania.”
Published simultaneously on comiXology and through a limited print run, Dracula World Order introduces us to an offbeat son of Dracula, a world-conquering scheme that ties into today’s biggest problems, and some monsters like you haven’t seen before. We got up with Brill about his new independent project, going from Disney to Dracula, and much more.
Newsarama: Ian, tell us about Dracula World Order – the premise and the setting.
Ian Brill: Dracula takes advantage of the world when it is at its most fragile. Economic inequality is rampant, so Dracula only has to turn the wealthiest of the world, the powerbrokers, the 1%. Those new vampires then strengthen their hold on the rest of the world, while pledging allegiance to Dracula. Dracula’s son Alexandru stood by and helped all this happened. But now he sees the error of his ways, and leads a revolution against his father.Nrama: How did you come up with this idea? It's a bit of a 180 from crime-fighting ducks and chipmunks.
Brill: I wanted to explore a world where everything is wrong, where everything is a struggle. I wanted to follow characters that still had a sense of justice and fought against that world. I also liked stories that used the strength of classic monster characters. The film The Monster Squad is a huge influence. I started to flesh out a story that combined these two desires, and this is what arose.
It’s a story I feel compelled to tell and share with the world, because these ideas of power, greed, freedom, and justice are ones that interest me. I’m not interested in diatribes, I’m a seeker and I use characters and stories to explore these notions around us. That’s when popular fiction excites me the most.Nrama: Tell us 'bout Dru and his crew. Yes, I went for the pun. Shame is for the weak.
Brill: I think that’s more of a rhyme than a pun my dear Zachary. A pun would be “Tell us ‘bout Dru, and why he doesn’t suck.” But I digress.
In a big grand story like this the hero and villain need to be on equal footing, and they should fit together somehow. It was a puzzle coming up with that. I decided that the idea of Dracula having a family and facing his own son in battle would be one with great dramatic potential.
Stories of Dracula dealing with an offspring interested me, whether it was the NES game Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and the character of Alucard or some of the plot elements in Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan’s Tomb of Dracula. I decided to craft a new child of Dracula.
This is one who has seen the depths of the pain his father causes in the form of his mother’s suicide, and at the same time has been by Dracula’s side during this great rise to power. He decides to rebel against his father, which causes a great internal battle for the character.
Nrama: Why did you decide to go online with this story?Brill: I wanted to make this as available to readers as possible while going the self-published route, so that had to include a digital option. Working with comiXology has been great. It’s a service I use myself all the time, and offers incredible exposure for an impendent creator.
Nrama: Where will it be available for readers?
Brill: The list of retailers is here. There are stores around the country as well as mail order service at Things From Another World and Midtown Comics (who also have it at their brick and mortar store).
I am incredibly grateful to have the support of these amazing retailers. It’s an aspect of this book that has been rewarding, that of servicing retail partners across the country so the book is in the hands of readers.
Nrama: What are your long-term plans for the idea?
Brill: There is plenty more to tell. I am taking a hard look at all the options that are available, when there are now so many choices for creators. Dracula World Order is designed to be an environment where I can tell stories of varying length, and work with different artists.
I’m inspired by comics like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Those had brilliantly told short stories and great epics as well. Now it’s a matter of looking at what is best for both the creators and the audience.
Nrama: How did you get these artists together for this project?Brill: I had worked with these amazing artists when I was an editor at BOOM! Studios. They are some of my favorites to work with and I know they make stories sing. I wanted to have this world I was crafting debut with the best artists I know, and indeed I was lucky to get my wish. I had great motive to do the best I possible could on this script, to try things I have never done in comics before. There work inspires me. The awe I felt seeing these complete pages can hardly be put into words, but thankfully can be shared with all readers who try the book out.
Nrama: Vampires: Why do we love them? Ditto with the apocalypse. Everyone keeps going on about that.
Brill: Vampires allow us to explore our own contradictory feelings about wealth and power. Those who have it are often feared or seen as dangerous, but most people still desire to join the ranks of the upper class and all the privilege that entails.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the vampire mythos has gained resurgence at a time where people feel great economic pressure but are also surrounded by images of wealth as possible aspirations.
I think the apocalypse is an outgrowth of the neuroses about death, which also ties back into vampires. They’re both very selfish fantasies, aren’t they? It’s either “I won’t die” or “If I die, everyone else is coming with me.” I’m interested in how people react to death, as if they’re caught in a struggle with something that will always win. Do you fight it? Deny it? Accept it? How can you do any one of those things in totality?
As always I’m not interested answers, I don’t feel there are firms answers or endings in life. I interested in the ongoing interrogation of those feelings, which is why I turn to the potential of drama as exploration.
Nrama: Something I've been asking everyone in this series is about the possibilities opened up by new delivery systems such as iPads and smartphones, and what creators and larger companies can do to better take advantage of these possibilities.Brill: I think it’s a wonderful advantage that so many people have the potential to have a comic book store in their pocket. I feel there is a great potential to build a robust casual audience, an audience that is already consuming a lot of material online.
I’m interested in how comics can fit into a world where people are already are receiving massive amounts of visual information on their devices, whether that’s swiping through Facebook pictures or Instagram photos. What if those pictures were strung together to tell a narrative? Wouldn’t that be comics?
I think the generations that are used to receiving information on multiple-tabbed screens is a population ready for comics, but they must have it on their own terms.
Nrama: What's next for you?
Brill: I have a new series I’m working on for a publisher that hopefully will be announced at the end of the summer. I also have plenty of my own stories I’m working on, seeing if I can continue to execute in that regard. The ideas keep coming to me; I have to keep pushing them out into the world.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
Brill: I will be signing Dracula World Order at two stores on its day of release. At Beach Ball Comics in Anaheim from 12-2 and Collector’s Paradise Winnetka store from 5-8. Come on by and say hi!
The World Will Bleed in Dracula World Order on comiXology.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!