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Nancy Collins On Ending Her Run With Vampirella

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  • Nancy Collins On Ending Her Run With Vampirella

    Nancy A. Collins writes the regular on-going Vampirella series as well as the Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood series. But her run on the character is coming to an end. Here she talks about her final story, the upcoming Vampirella 2015 Annual that is due to ship this September. Cover art by Jay Anacleto.

    VampiAnn2015CovAAnacletoBYRON BREWER: Nancy, I am sad to do this interview with you as a fan because it is your swan song on this iteration of Vampirella. Tell us what writing the character has meant to you.

    NANCY COLLINS: First and foremost, it has been a lot of fun. More fun than anything I’ve ever written, including Swamp Thing and my own creator-owned characters. Nick and Joe at Dynamite gave me carte blanche to expand on the character in any way I chose. That level of trust and creative freedom from a publisher—especially in regards to what they consider their ‘flagship’ character— is exceedingly rare. Secondly, working on Vampirella has allowed me to get back into the groove, as it were, writing comics. Prior to Dynamite signing me on, I had not worked on a monthly book in 20 years. Most things about the industry and how it works have stayed the same since then, but those that have changed have changed a lot, especially on the production/editorial end of the spectrum. In many ways, I feel like Rip Van Winkle, waking up to find myself in a strange new world, but without the bowling.

    BB: In your basically year-long run, were there any elements you were hoping to add to the saga of Vampirella you just did not get to?

    NC: Yes. I had two more story arcs plotted out. The first involved Draculina breaking Cain out of solitary confinement, and the second featured the return of Vampirella’s mother, Lilith. There were also some plans with a Pantha team-up, but those seem to be in limbo at the moment.

    BB: The Kabal has been a great invention for her and I hear they figure prominently into this annual coming in September. Can you give us just a hint at what happens in a non-spoilery manner please?

    NC: Since the annual is titled “Vampirella: Agent of The Kabal”, I guess it’s not spoilery to reveal that the story opens with Vampirella being initiated into the Kabal as a full-time field agent. However, things quickly go haywire when a fellow agent is kidnapped by the Prometheus Society, a gang of famous mad scientists lead by Dr. Moreau. Vampirella is sent to bring back a former member of the Kabal who left the organization under less-than-happy circumstances and isn’t particularly interested in returning. This whole adventure is essentially her baptism of fire as a Kabal agent, working alongside a who’s who of Classic Monster tropes. I can honestly say fans have never seen Vampirella like this before.

    BB: Wow! Looking at the solicit for this particular annual, it really is a monster rally. Even Frankenstein! What is it about this horror genre that keeps you keeping us on the edge of our seats?

    NC: Lazarus the Walking Dead Man is a Frankenstein’s Monster, not THE Frankenstein Monster, I should point out. I really had a blast creating & writing him as he proved to be a pretty neat character. As for ‘what is it about horror’? It is one of the few genres that is named after an emotion, and a fairly primal one at that. Ghost stories and scary stories are some of the earliest fiction we’re exposed to growing up—it’s like riding a roller coaster. We get all the thrills of danger without the downsides. I’ve been a horror fan as far back as I can remember—and I mean as far back as to when I was 3 or 4. I grew up reading all these classic horror stories and watching movies based on them—Dracula, Frankenstein, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the like. Since this was going to being my final bow on the book, I decided to bring as many of them on stage with me as I could—Dr. Moreau, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Caligari, Dr. Rappacini, and Dr. Faustus, as well as the real-life alchemist/sorcerer Dr. John Dee. I also set it up so that readers can rest assured that until Dynamite decides what to do next with her, Vampirella is at least in a good place: She has a new career, new friends, a new love interest, and, of course, new enemies.

    BB: How did you enjoy Aneke’s rendition of your adventure here?

    NC: I think she did a bang-up job. She draws Vampirella as being both confident and sexy, which is exactly what the character needs. Also, I gave her a few pointers and photo reference for Lazarus (who is physically modeled on Iggy Pop and the late Lux Interior of the Cramps), and I’m very happy with the result.

    BB: Any words for all your Vampirella fans?

    NC: Thank you for your kind words and support during my run. It’s been a hoot getting to continue the legacy of a character I used to read as a kid. And I am honored to have been the first woman to write Vampirella in her 45-year history. If you enjoyed my work, I have plenty of other high weirdness up my sleeve. I’m currently writing a 6-part Army of Darkness series for Dynamite called “Damned If You Do”, and my first two Sonja Blue novels, Sunglasses After Dark and In The Blood, are now available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble Online via Open Road Distribution. There’s also a graphic novel version of Sunglasses After Dark from IDW that’s available in hardback and digital. I’ll be doing quite a few conventions this Fall, all over the country. In fact, I’ll be appearing as a guest at the Fayetteville Comicon in October, along with Rudy Nebres, one of the original Vampirella artists from the Warren era. I’m looking forward to that!

    For more on the Vampirella 2015 Annual, click here.