Fans of The Vampire Diaries often call the TV show "irresistible" — but the word association took on a new twist when DC Editorial Director Bobbie Chase heard about the Vampire Diaries comic book.
It all started when Hank Kanalz, DC's senior vice president of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing, called Chase to get some recommendations on DC writers who might like to write for the new digital Vampire Diaries comic.
Chase, who loyally watches the TV show with her kids, immediately told Kanalz she'd like to give it a try.
The DC comic series, which is released digitally every week (and later, monthly in print), tells the unseen history of the characters and concepts from the show, which airs on the CW. With characters that have lived as long as 1000 years, The Vampire Diaries comic still has a lot of unexplored territory..
Chase's story will focus on the reluctant relationship between Elena and Katherine, as they unite with Damon to deal with a threat from Stefan's "Ripper" past that comes to seek revenge.
Newsarama talked with the DC executive to find out more about her approach to The Vampire Diaries, what she thinks about the attraction of vampire stories, and why a new character named Maude might want to make trouble in Mystic Falls.
Newsarama: Bobbie, are you a fan of the Vampire Diaries TV show?
Bobbie Chase: Yes, admittedly so. Yeah. Actually, [DC Senior Vice President] Hank Kanalz got in touch with me, and he was looking for writers for this series. And I said, my daughter and I watch that! I wouldn't mind giving it a try! And he said, "Sure!"
My son even likes it, and my daughter and I kind of made him sit through Twilight, which was not his cup of tea. But he really likes Vampire Diaries. I mean, there's good guy stuff too, frankly.
Nrama: Yeah, that happened in our house — you really get sucked into the story, but it also isn't afraid to kill off characters, which makes the stakes really high.
Chase: Yeah, the show pretty amazing, just in terms of the body counts and all the mass mayhem — and keeping all those plot lines up in the air and moving forward and finishing one and starting another. It's lots of fun.
Nrama: Knowing that you've dabbled in writing before, what's the difference between coming up with the voices of the characters in your head, and actually hearing and picturing actors in your head as you write it? I assume you did that for this project?
Chase: Yeah, the characters have such distinctive voices, and I have to say that, as I was writing, I was also speaking the dialogue out loud. And then I would tweak it as I talked, thinking about the actual characters and how they spoke on the show.
So that was a big consideration, making sure that I was getting those voices as right as possible.
Nrama: Let's talk about the story. In the preview, we see this character Maude, but she's new, right? She wasn't in the TV show.
Chase: No, she's a new character.
I wanted to explore Stefan's "ripper" phase, and also to bring that forward in time so his contemporaries could experience a little bit of what he went through. So creating Maude and bringing her into the present, and having her meet Elena and Katherine and Damon — having them experience a little bit of what Stefan was really like in that period. That's where I came from when I first came up with Maude's character.
Nrama: That's part of why Stefan's so interesting, because he really denies the "monster" inside himself now, but he was once this "ripper" who killed constantly. Does that come into play in your story?
Chase: Very much so, yeah. We don't see much of Stefan in this story — you get a glimpse of him [in a flashback]. I do a history piece where he's created Maude and they're going on a spree. So there's a little bit of a sense of that.
But I love that side of Stefan's character. I find that so interesting, in contrast to what a good person he tries to be.
Nrama: Assuming you're caught up on what's happening in the show now, when does this story take place? Because there have been some big events recently in the lives of Elena and Katherine. So in this story, what type of Elena do we see?
Chase: Yeah, the show progresses so quickly. It's like catching lightning in a bottle. We have to set things within the continuity somewhere.
[This story takes place] when Katherine just became human.
Nrama: So it's vampire Elena and human Katherine.
Chase: Correct. And it explores a little bit of their relationship at the time too, because in this piece, they kind of have to work together. And you remember in that period, just how much they despised each other. So there's a bit of that in this story.
Nrama: Any other characters that show up?
Chase: Elena and Katherine are the most significant. Matt shows up. Jeremy shows up. But it's mostly an Elena/Katherine/Damon adventure, with this new character. They're having to deal with the wall-out of Stefan having committed this atrocity in creating Maude.
Nrama: What's it been like working with Dennis Calero on this story? What does he bring to the project?
Chase: He did a fabulous job. I've been showing everything to my daughter, and she's such a big fan, and he ended up giving me a piece of Vampire Diaries art for her. And she can't be happier, having this piece of Dennis Calero art. So that was very nice.
It was lovely working with him. Really great.
Nrama: Since you've been so immersed in the mythology of superheroes during your career — what do you think is the attraction of the vampire myth, particularly for women, it seems?
Chase: First of all, the immortality is fantastic stuff for stories. But also, [in Vampire Diaries], that wish fulfillment for women, where you can have this guy who can live forever, who could be in love with you.
But really, everything you can do with vampires — it's like superheroes (and we explored that in I… Vampire) because there's so much action and adventure. There are different genres and different things you can do [with vampire stories], so it works on so many levels.