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Ande Parks talks with Corinna S. Bechko about Vampirella/Aliens #5

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  • Ande Parks talks with Corinna S. Bechko about Vampirella/Aliens #5

    Ande Parks, writer of Seduction of the Innocent #2, talks with writer Corinna S. Bechko about Vampirella/Aliens #5, both from Dynamite Entertainment! Cover by Gabriel Hardman.

    ANDE PARKS: Vampirella/Aliens is such an interesting (and effective) combo. I know this may be redundant for you, but can you talk about how these two franchises came together? Did you approach Dynamite with the idea, or vice versa?

    CORINNA S. BECHKO: It is a really fun combo, but one that I canít take any credit for instigating. Mixing the two franchises is the brainchild of my editor, Joe Rybandt. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to pitch a couple of ideas about how such a meeting could take place, and I was thrilled when my favorite was picked.

    AP: How did you decide where to set this book? I like the isolation of the setting, which I guess is a key component in the best Alien (as in the franchise) stories.

    CSB: As a matter of fact, that isolation is one of the main reasons for the setting. Iím a huge fan of the original Alien, and I wanted to get at that feeling of loneliness but still have a fresh venue. I also have high hopes for an eventual human colony on Mars, so of course I had to set a horror story there. Somehow all my hopes seem to turn tragic when Iím writing fiction. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

    AP: Forgive a generic writer question, but I'm always curious about such things. How do you build a script? Do you do a page by page breakdown? Does dialogue come first, or art directions, etc.?

    CSB: Can you believe that no one has ever asked me this in an interview before? I approach comic scripts much more logically than, say, a short story, which I usually just start writing blind. For a comic I start with the arc, where it should begin and end, before moving on to approximately where the major story points should go. That way I know basically how much has to fit into each script, and what cliffhanger each issue will have. I then start breaking things down page by page. I usually do this part in a notebook with a pen, and I have no idea why. At this stage itís usually really sketchy, just ď3 pages on the shipĒ or ďpage 5: dialogue with X and Y.Ē Thereís usually not much actual dialogue put in at this point, unless thereís some big secret being revealed or something. Itís here that I can look over the shape of the script, and see if there are parts that drag or characters that donít get enough time, and try to get my page turns and reveals in order. Itíll change a bit if something needs more room when actually written, but I find it to be a good way to get an overview of the drama. Then I move into typing things up. This part is just a sketch too, but more detailed because Iím actually putting down the action scene by scene. After thatís done I finally write the script for real, and most of the dialogue.

    AP: Are you a longtime fan of Vampirella? What do you find interesting about her, and how do you put that into use in this story?

    CSB: I was honestly more familiar with the Xenomorphs than with Vampirella before I started this project, but I rectified that pretty quickly. I love how self-possessed Vampirella is, and as well as her sense of the absurd. She knows exactly who she is, but isnít blind to how others see her. I tried to use that in the story, especially when she has to react to others doubting her loyalties.

    AP: The Aliens are interesting because we see their motivations in such broad terms: survival instincts, etc. It seems like there is a challenge in making them more than just monsters. Is that enough? Do you try to add layers to them?

    CSB: I think that one of the things that makes the Xenomorphs scary is the opacity of their motivation. I mean, we can intuit a lot of what they want (survival, reproduction, etc.) but they also seem to be cunning. Are they truly intelligent, or is it just that they are very good at not dying? Who knows? The chances of ever getting close enough to one to ask it are very poor. I like that about them, so I left them alone to be as fully frightening as possible. Luckily, I had another monster to deal with in the person of Vampirella, so I had plenty of canvas for a relatable, layered non-human. But of course itís always the humans that do the most inhumane things.

    AP: What's your favorite Alien film? I definitely like the first one best. My affection for Cameron's effort has diminished over the years.

    CSB: Oh, I totally agree! In fact, the first movie is in my all-time top five. Itís an almost perfect horror film, and I love the fact that Jones the Cat makes it all the way to the end. That takes guts! Even Inside Llewyln Davis couldnít accomplish that, opting for the cheap kill-the-pet-for-the-sake-of-symbolism scene instead. I like the second film too, though. Itís action instead of horror, but thatís another genre Iím a sucker for if itís done well.

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