One of the more gloriously weird-ass releases of DC Comics' New 52 relaunch was I, Vampire, a horror series about vampires rising up to wrest global control from Earth's flamboyant costumed defenders. On the "Kill All Humans" team is the charming but ruthless Mary, Queen of Blood. On the "Save Mankind" side we have Andrew Bennett, a world-weary vamp who can control his bloodlust.
io9 spoke with author Joshua Hale Fialkov about wampyr internecine warfare, perennial meddler John Constantine, and Fialkov's upcoming tenure on the Doctor Who comics.
One of the things I really liked about I, Vampire was the notion that terrestrial vampires are intimidated by alien superheroes like Superman and the Green Lantern. How did that idea come about?
I started working on the book before I knew about the relaunch. There are no magical vampires in the DC Universe — the last time there were was I, Vampire 25 years ago. Why have there been no vampires since then? You start to extrapolate from there, and they would be terrified of a guy who is powered by the Sun who can do crazy things! They would be forced to go into hiding. And that's where it started — the vampires are keeping a low profile. Existing is better than not existing, and we see them at a breaking point.
What sort of powers do the DC Universe's vampires possess?
I went back to Bram Stoker. I'm using Dracula but with a slightly more superhero twist. They can turn into bats, wolves, and a hybrid monster (to give them that great visual punch). They have the Stoker set. They can walk in the sunlight, but they can't use their powers. To kill them, you must chop off their head and stake them in the heart. They can turn to mist. They're super-strong, but not Superman. The basic idea is that they're an upgraded version of us.
What can we anticipate in the first arc of I, Vampire?
I took the title very literally. It's a story about point of view. As we go through the book, we get to see all the different sides of the argument [concerning vampire revolution]. Our second issue is told from Mary's point of view. You see Mary planning what happens in the first issue. That is, "How do you get a pile of corpses in the middle of Boston?" It's the first time her and Andrew are going at it for the end.
In the third issue, we meet some of the supporting cast as Andrew realizes he's at war. He's a general, so who are his soldiers? In the fourth issue, Andrew meets another vampire who's like him, who's pro-coexistence. Unfortunately, John Constantine shows up. Batman shows up in issues five and six. What I love about I, Vampire is how horror and superheroes crash up against each other.
Will we see any of the superheroes of the DC Universe turned?
I can't say, but I would not bet against it!
Tell us about The Last of The Greats, your newly released project with Image Comics.
A family of superheroes come to Earth, they fix everything that's wrong with us, and we hate them for it. We systematically murder every one of them but one. So we're in this new world where we destroyed our protectors...and then the alien apocalypse comes. The sky is filled with spaceships, and all we can do is beg the Last of the Greats to save our asses. But there's the whole "we murdered his family" thing, which is sort of a big problem.
Damn, that's grim!
Again, if superpowered beings with god-like powers showed up, we would be terrified! There's no way we'd shout "HOORAY!" In the first issue, they offer to do all these great things, but at the cost of all our weapons. The second they came for our guns, humanity pulled them out. The idea is that we as a species are immediately suspicious whenever somebody tries to help us. It's about taking that to the logical extreme. If this god-like entity showed up, we would not be happy. The Last's stance on this is, "We tried to be nice. Look how that worked? Now let's do it my way." And his way is not nice.
Any other projects coming around the bend?
I'm writing Doctor Who in January for IDW. It's about Matt Smith the Doctor but with art by Matt Smith the artist. I'm hoping they accidentally don't get switched out, because then the comic wouldn't work. Not so much Matt Smith the actor's art, more so Matt Smith the artist's acting! Anyway, the Doctor and Amy show up for a nice North African vacation...in a place called Casablanca...in 1941.
I, Vampire #2 is out 10/26; The Last of The Greats #2 hits stores 11/2.