Dynamite recently announced that Nancy A. Collins, the author of Sunglasses After Dark and Vamps, will revive the iconic horror series Vampirella with a #1 issue in June. Collins will be joined by talented artist Patrick Berkenkotter (Avengers/Invaders) for the new ongoing series.
We caught up with writer to talk about the new ongoing Vampirella series.
Horror News Network: After reading the first issue, it was clear that this is a much different Vampirella than we have seen in many years. Can you talk a bit about Vampirella becoming a horror book once again?
Nancy A. Collins: Yes, I’d be happy to. When Nick Barucci at Dynamite proposed I take over the Vampirella monthly title, I decided that the best way to revive the character would be to return her to her roots. I used to read Vampirella back in the early days, when she was pulling double duty as the protagonist in her own occult adventure series and serving as the ghostess with the mostest for Warren Publication’s black and white horror anthology mags. Since Vampirella’s resurrection in the 1990s as a traditional four-color monthly comic book character, there has been a tendency to treat her more like a superhero with fangs, and I feel that it has had a negative impact on the series over the years.
Horror News Network: The atmosphere of the first issue really helped ground this book as true horror. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Nancy A. Collins: Yes, well, I initially made my name as an author writing contemporary horror, although much of what I wrote back then is now called “urban fantasy”. This means I’m, basically, taking dark, fantastical elements and utilizing them in a modern setting in order to ground the impossible in the everyday world. It also allows me to more thoroughly expand on and explore the world Vampirella lives in, as well as her place in both human and supernatural society.
Horror News Network: One thing you tackled pretty quickly in the first issue was the character returning to her classic costume. What were your thoughts on that?
Nancy A. Collins: It’s no secret that Vampirella has the most problematic costume in the history of comics. Dynamite tried to address this by switching her over to more…modest attire. However, the fan response was highly negative to the costume change. I decided that after 45 years, there’s no denying the costume’s role in the character’s popularity. It’s not only a part of her identity, it’s her trademark. So she might as well Own It. You go, Vampi! Wear the hell out of that sling suit!
Horror News Network: Blood and guts are something that a vampire book should have. Can you talk a bit about how much of the red stuff will be seen in this series?
Nancy A. Collins: While gore isn’t the driving force in my stories, there will be more than enough of the red, red groovy to satisfy-especially in issue #3, where Vampi hunts down a rare species of Asian vampire known as a ‘krasue’-which manifest as the flying head of a beautiful woman with trailing intestines. That entire issue is emblematic of what I’m trying to shoot for when I say I want to capture some of the old Warren style. Vampirella was born, in part, of the 1970s grindhouse ethos, and I’ve been drawing inspiration from everything from Italian giallo master Dario Argento to the classic Hammer film The Devil Rides Out to nunsploitation and Hong Kong black magic movies.
Horror News Network: What can readers expect from this comic that they may have never seen in a Vampirella title before?
Nancy A. Collins: For a nonhuman character, Vampirella has spent an inordinate amount of time among humans. This was something I felt had to change in order to develop her character in ways that would be interesting to modern day readers. So I will be showing her interacting with other supernatural creatures not just as a hunter, but as a peer. I’ll also be retooling and re-introducing some characters from the original Warren run that haven’t been seen-or thought of-in decades, as well as creating a new love interest and enemies for Vampirella.
Horror News Network: How many issues of this series do you currently have planned out?
Nancy A. Collins: I’ve got my first year pretty much plotted out. I just turned in the first issue of the second story arc last month. I’m also working on other projects involving Vampirella as well. I wouldn’t call them cross-overs so much as interlocking stories that enhance the monthly series.
Horror News Network: Can you talk a bit about the artist, Patrick Berkenkotter and what he brings to the book?
Nancy A. Collins: Patrick has been a dream to work with. He can draw sexy, he can draw scary, and he can draw action-what more can a Vampirella writer ask for? He has turned in some truly amazing work from the start, but his pencils on #3 & #4 really knock it out of the park!
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about the new Vampirella series?
Nancy A. Collins: If you’re new to the character, or have been looking for an action/horror-themed comic to add to your pull list, this is the perfect time to jump on board. I promise: No Sparkling Allowed.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Nancy! Best of luck with this series!