Next week, American Vampire starts its second storyline, moving the comic's characters to Las Vegas and a new decade of characters and vampire evolution.
The hit Vertigo series centers around 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 the relatively new vampire Skinner Sweet thrive in the sunlight and have powers that are distinctly American.
Written by authors Stephen King and Scott Snyder, American Vampire's first storyline covered almost 50 years of time, introducing readers to a cast of characters in the Old West and 1920's Hollywood. Now Snyder takes over alone, keeping the series artist, Rafael Albuquerque, as the comic moves to the 1930's.
In this part of our ongoing series about the comic's cast, Newsarama sat down with Snyder and Albuquerque to talk about two characters that helped mold the introduction of the AmVamp universe: Hattie Hargrove and Mr. Bunting.Mr. Bunting
Origin: Created by Stephen King, Mr. Bunting is the author of "Bad Blood," and he represents the idea of how outlaws -- even monsters like Skinner Sweet -- can become American heroes.
"Steve really came up with that character on his own. He wasn’t in the 'bible' of American Vampire before," Snyder explained. "For us, he really represents some of the interests that we have with the series in the way that, he’s a real emotional character and focal point. He’s not just a mouthpiece or anything. He has a real reason for telling this particular story, personally, but also in a more distant level from the story.
"He also brings into the cycle this whole idea of fact versus fiction and legend versus history and the idea of how we hero-ize our outlaws from the Old West, and why is that?" Snyder said. "Why is that, you know, something that seems kind of uniquely American?"
Appearance: "We needed to show him in different ages, looking different, but the same, simultaneously," Albuquerque said. "I tried to make him like a teacher. Using the same glasses, same dusty clothes and trying to make him wise, but kind of scared all the time."
What's Next: Although Mr. Bunting isn't one of the major characters, Snyder said he's not gone. "He doesn’t play a big part in this upcoming cycle," he said, "but I'm hoping we do see more of him."
Origin: Hattie Hargrove is Pearl's roommate in 1920's Hollywood, but the two are there for very different reasons."She’s a working girl just like Pearl. She works in a florist’s shop," said Snyder of the character. "The opening of issue one kind of sets them apart from each other where Pearl’s favorite movie is the A Trip to the Moon movie because it sort of transported her somewhere. Hattie’s favorite movie is Romeo and Juliet because she saw how much people loved Florence Turner. Hattie is really taken with the idea that this woman – at the end of the movie, everybody was like, 'Who is that? Who is that star?' So, Hattie is definitely out there for her own sort of selfish reasons."
Hattie appears to be very good friends with Pearl. "But, you know, Hattie has some very big failings in that department later on," Snyder said. "For anyone that hasn’t read it, I won’t give it away, but she has a kind of surprising turn by issue four."
Powers: The last time we saw Hattie, she had at least some powers similar to the American species of vampire. But she was no match for Pearl herself.
Archenemy: Readers find out in the series that Hattie idolizes Pearl, but their showdown in American Vampire #5 proved that the two are in fact enemies.
Appearance: "Rafael really worked to give her a very distinctive style where he did sketches of her," Snyder said. "Hattie is dressed completely differently from Pearl in kind of the beaded – more flapper-style."
"Hattie should look more cheesy. More like someone who wants to be like Pearl, but doesn’t have that expontaneous charisma, so we made her abuse red lipsticks, and use clothes of bad taste (not that much, but a little)," Albuquerque explained. "Someone who is 'trying to look nice, but really doesn't know how.'"
"Her style is much sort of showier and much more glamorous in a lot of ways, much more about showing off," Snyder said, "and kind of putting her best foot forward than Pearl’s. Pearl is much more understated."What's Next: "Hattie gets a bad comeuppance in the end of the cycle where she kind of gets what she deserves from Pearl," Snyder said. "But Hattie really is one of my absolute favorite characters. "But it’s hard to resist saying that Hattie will definitely not be forgotten. We left Hattie in a bad way, but I like Hattie way too much to leave her alone for very long. So I don't know if I can officially say when Hattie’s coming back, but I can say it’s definitely a when and not an if." More AMERICAN VAMPIRE UP-CLOSE: