In 2010, novelist Scott Snyder burst onto the comic scene with the most successful Vertigo comic in years — American Vampire.
But in 2013, the comic's story reaches its halfway point, and the hit series will take a break before ramping up the action next year.
This week, American Vampire #33 will finish up the shocking events of the series' latest storyline, "The Blacklist." Then on January 2, issue #34 will serve as both an epilogue to "Blacklist" and a precursor for things to come.
Featuring the work of Brazilian artist Rafael Albuquerque, the successful Vertigo series has been exploring the concept that, in the "AmVamp" universe, vampires can evolve into new species. For example, the older vampires from Europe must stay out of the sun, but descendants of American vampire Skinner Sweet thrive in the sunlight and have powers that are distinctly American.
For the first few issues, Snyder got an "assist" on American Vampire from author Stephen King, who was among the admirers of Snyder's prose work. But even after King left, American Vampire continued its strong sales and even launched spin-off mini-series. And soon after AmVamp's launch, Snyder was recruited to work on several other comics for DC, including Batman, Detective Comics and an upcoming Superman comic with superstar artist Jim Lee.
Now that the Vertigo series has reached its halfway point, Newsarama talked to Snyder. What follows is a spoiler-free interview where Snyder explains the upcoming "break" he and Albuquerque are taking, as well as what's coming up for AmVamp fans.
Newsarama: Scott, you're finishing up "The Blacklist" storyline this week, and then there's one more issue before you're taking a break for a few months. Can you describe what we'll see in these two issues?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, we have our biggest, craziest issue coming up [this week] with the finale of "The Blacklist," which is a game changer for every character — Pearl, Henry, Skinner, and the VMS itself, and the villains that we've re-introduced into the series, without giving any spoilers.
So we have this huge finale to a story we're telling, and then the next issue, American Vampire #34, is actually one of my favorite ones that we've done. It catches up with one character we haven't seen in a really, really long time, and it also presents a character who's part of a storied lineage in the series.
The interaction between them, without giving too much away, will offer clues about every storyline we're going to do in the second half of American Vampire. There are even clues about the finale of the entire series.
So we really, really want issue #34 to be both a proper closing point for the first chapter of American Vampire and also a place where we present the mysteries and the storylines that are going to be happening in the second half.
Nrama: The mysteries in these clues you're giving?
Snyder: Not just the clues, but actually in the storyline. The two characters I mentioned before are discussing a worry that they have about something coming to America. That's part of the driving engine of the second half of American Vampire.
So the storyline raised in issue #34 is the beginning of what's going to play out in the second half of the series and will completely envelop all the characters, or at least the ones who live through the end of "The Blacklist." Whoever's left standing at the end of "The Blacklist" will be a big part of what we're doing in the second half of the series.
Nrama: So this hiatus you're taking is definitely not going to become the end of the series. You're setting up what's happening next.
Snyder: Yeah, I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely firm we are in terms of how temporary this hiatus is.This isn't something that's open ended, where we're sort of taking a break and don't know when we're going to come back. We're absolutely coming back within a year of #34. I can't give you a month specifically, because Vertigo is deciding now what the best month would be to place our return issue. But it has nothing to do with any sense of indecision on our part, internally, as a team, as to when we're going to come back and how long we're going to take off.
We know we're only taking about six months off from the series, between us. That might mean a little longer between issues that the readers see. So what I mean is that Rafael is only taking off six months after he finishes #34, and I'm only taking about six months off from writing American Vampire — maybe even less. For me, it's mainly so I can get ahead on Batman and Superman, and I can also get ahead on The Wake with Sean Murphy. Part of it is needing to be able to stagger these books to make sure I'm able to give 100 percent on each one.
The only thing that would really make me not want to do the books is if I couldn't give everything I have to each one. So I'd rather stop doing a book for a few months than put out a book that I don't feel 100 percent about.
And by the time we come back, I'll essentially be way ahead on Batman and Superman. I'm ahead now, but I'll be way ahead, hopefully. And I'll be far enough into The Wake, because Sean has a really meticulous drawing style, which is incredible and I love, that it will be staggered by the time we come back. What I mean is, I'll be far enough ahead on the books that it will be almost like having two books and not four at that point.
Nrama: But this is the right place to have this kind of break, in the story?
Snyder: Absolutely. We had always planned on taking some kind of hiatus at mid-point. We thought we might take a couple months off and do a Special issue or something, with a different artist. Or just something to mark the halfway point.
Rafael and I both saw that halfway point coming about six months or so ago, and we started talking about, "Why don't we take a break?"
Nrama: So you're catching up on other projects that we know about. What's Rafael catching up on?
Snyder: Mostly, he wants to ahead on American Vampire, but there is another small thing we're planning during the hiatus. I'll just say that Rafael and I want to do something else in the DCU together. A special thing in the DCU together. And he also wants to work on his own series, with Mondo Urbano.Rafael also really wants to do more of the story in the second half. He loves the guys that have done the fill-ins and they're part of our American Vampire family. But he wound up looking at some of the stories they did and thinking, "I wish I had done that story."
So part of it was a deal between us that we would take this time off and Rafael would be able to get a few other things done, and he would be able to get five months ahead, essentially, on the book, so that he could do a lot more of the stories we're going to do in the second half, without as many fill-in arcs. He doesn't want to be away from the series for very long again.
But the bottom line is, we're coming back within a year of issue #34. And I just want to reiterate to fans out there that Rafael and I know exactly what's coming up next, and we very much want to get back to it in about six months after issue #34.
We're both really appreciative of how much support fans have given this series. We don't want you guys out there to think for a second that we're not dying to get back to this series. We are.
We just wanted to do the thing that made the most sense for us.
And in the second half, after we return, I think we're going to be telling our best stories. You'll see the American Vampire mythology really come together, and the whole series is going to ramp up tremendously when we come back.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!