Image's DARK FANG Sinks Its Teeth Into Climate Change Concerns

Dark Fang
Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)
Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

The climate change concerns has politicians, scientists, and citizens on multiple sides, but with evidence mounting in favor of it, could the planet be on the verge of collapse? Not if Valla has anything to do with it. Welcome to the world of Dark Fang.

In life, she led the life of a simple fisherwoman, but since turning into a vampire she has plunged into the depths and kept away from the rest of the world. But after emerging to the surface, she’s having to evolve herself with the rapid pace of technology as well as how what humanity has done to the planet.

And she is not amused.

Writer Miles Gunter and artist Kelsey Shannon’s tells Valla’s story as she tries to adapt to the modern age and use her powers to her advantage to eventually take on the highest office in the land in the name of restoring Earth back to a healthy state. Newsarama talked with the duo coinciding with this week's debut of the ongoing.

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Newsarama: Miles, Kelsey, what can you tell us about our bloody and ancient protagonist here in Dark Fang, Valla?

Kelsey Shannon: I keep getting surprised by her innocence. Once our modern ways get her attention in the worst way, things happen very fast and even I forget that up until this moment she's had very little experience with the world. She's just pure instinct.

Miles Gunter: Valla is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

Nrama: You strayed away from traditional vampires here and gave her a more nautical background, can you say why that was a better fit?

Gunter: That's what I would do if I was a vampire. You don't have to breath or worry about pressure so why not go hang out on the bottom of the ocean for a century? The only real drawback is no Netflix.

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Shannon: I wouldn't say she's different than other vampire's, she just discovers a bonus to her abilities that no other vampire thought to do. At least that we've seen.

Nrama: There are underlying messages about global warming and even technology addiction. Why is that something you wanted to convey with Dark Fang?

Gunter: Dark Fang was largely born out of the anger and frustration we feel towards people either denying or having an apathetic attitude towards climate change. This is the biggest threat facing life on Earth as we know it, and it's not going away. With the proliferation of smartphones, technological addiction is at an all time high. Everywhere I go, people are glued to their phones. Just the other day I saw a school bus full of kids and the driver was looking at their phone while driving. Both of these problems are the result of excessive appetite; our civilization's appetite for oil and our individual appetites for looking at screens instead of the world around us. This theme of appetite is central to Dark Fang.

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Shannon: The people responsible for what is happening to our world are truly monstrous and sometimes you need a monster to fight a monster.

Nrama: Eventually, she becomes very proactive and even confronts the President of the United States. What did you want from that encounter?

Shannon: That she has absolutely no fear and will go anywhere and everywhere these villains hide, including the White House.

Gunter: What Kelsey said.

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Nrama: With first-time collaborators, it can be a mystery experience so how did you guys find each other?

Shannon: Mike Oeming put us together after finding out we both lived in Dallas at the time. We've been hanging out dreaming up stories ever since.

Gunter: Fang is very much a product of the creative dialogue that Kelsey and I have cultivated over many years.

Nrama: Kelsey, what are some of your artistic influences? For something so gory you still have this wonderful animated style.

Shannon: Well, there's a core style under everything I do that's made of Michael Golden, John Buscema, Mike Mignola, Jim Lee, tons of artists. Then there's this rotating group of styles that I can overlay on that base, one of which is heavily influenced by Japanese anime and Disney. It just seemed right to go more animated with this to offset some of the grittier moments by having some Kyle Baker type fun with the art style.

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Nrama: There are some allusions to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, from Valla discovering the book after her transformation to her living in his former castle. What else did you bring over from the classic novel that we might discover later on?

Gunter: The main thing we wanted to tap into from Dracula is the majesty and allure of the character. We want Valla to have the same appeal. People love to fantasize that they are just as magnetic and powerful as Dracula. It's a big part of the reason the character has always been popular. We want Valla to invoke a similar vicarious response where the reader wants to be her.

Nrama: How would you guys describe Valla's relationship to Cody? Is it Dracula/Renfield, or something more?

Credit: Kelsey Shannon (Image Comics)

Shannon: Well he's very patient with her, even at her most disagreeable. She grows to love him as a confidante and friend. I like Cody because he doesn't seem to want anything from her other than to help. It's nice when you can find people like that. You hang on to them for dear life.

Gunter: It's more affectionate, probably because Cody isn't insane and doesn't eat bugs. He's a kind person, despite getting his head ripped off and being reanimated.

Nrama: Would you describe Dark Fang as a horror something more in the sci-fi realm?

Shannon: Art wise, it's like how you remember 80s cartoons. The horror comes from the truth behind the neon lights. It's not vampires we should fear but politicians, corporations, and lobbyists.

Gunter: I don't think of Dark Fang as horror or sci-fi although there are those elements along with superhero, revenge tale aesthetics and even screwball comedy. The book will change with each arc. Our goal is to make a comic different from anything else on the stands that will keep readers guessing about where it goes next.

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