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    A Writer’s Commentary: DAVID AVALLONE on ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK #7, on sale NOW from Dynamite!

    You know the drill: SO MANY SPOILERS BELOW. Don’t ruin all the crazy surprises. Read and come back, if you haven’t already.

    Covers: New cover artist Lucio Parrillo (who I ran into last week at SDCC… very nice guy) created something classically beautiful. Cermak (with colors by Brittany Pezzillo) has a typically witty cover, with the Lord of the Underworld pining for the Mistress of the Dark. Who doesn’t? Royle (with Mohan) captures a great expression on Elvira’s face, as she deals with some admirers who are all hands. The cover photo, of course, speaks for itself.

    Page 1: Another page one, another giant monster facing off with our girl. Take note, right off the bat, of Taylor Esposito’s expressive lettering, conveying the size and menace of the beast. The costume elements reflect his ancient Greek origin. Elvira, of course, can’t help but notice the Minotaur has terrible, terrible breath.

    Pages 2 & 3: This two page spread is why artists hate writers, though it’s impossible to convey Hell without showing something this vast. Dave Acosta is a genius, though, and he killed it. I told Taylor to put in as many honks as he could possibly stand and as you can tell… he took that as a challenge. As I said last time… this arc is hugely influenced by Dante Alighieri’s epic poem THE DIVINE COMEDY, which is broken into three sections (of which INFERNO is the first) and 100 sub-sections. These sections are called “Cantos.” Remember the title “Divine Comedy,” because it’s connected to an inside joke that pays off by Canto 4. Have you figured out who Glenn is yet? Meanwhile, Glenn and Elvira, both sometime LA residents, share my confusion why people don’t just take Sepulveda and avoid the 405.

    Pages 4 & 5: The punishment of the Wrathful is brought up to date a little bit, by me. If “Geekbully” reminds you of someone, your guess is probably correct. I probably would have added this scene anyway… but while writing the issue I read a review of some of my work that took delight I wasn’t one of those “SJW Feminists.” This is what happens when you look at the pictures of the pretty ladies and don’t read the words. Sorry to tell you, dear readers, but your author is a dyed-in-the-wool lifelong Feminist, with a capital F, and my comics are absolutely an extension of everything I believe. (If the sexy heroines seem like a contradiction… Google “Third Wave” and “Fourth Wave” Feminism and all will be made clear.) And apparently one of the things I believe is feeding “Geekbullies” to giant bull-creatures, so that they can be converted into the same stuff that comes out of their mouths and typing fingers. Special shout-outs to Cassandra Peterson (the Real Elvira) for being 100% behind me on this, and to editor Kevin Ketner for catching me before I made a trivia error as embarrassing as the one Geekbully makes on this page. (I wrote “Golden Voyage” instead of “Eye of the Tiger.” Revoke my credentials now!)

    Page 6: More discussion of the nature of Hell, because that’s all going to come into play by Canto Four.

    Pages 7, 8 & 9: It’s Ponch and John in Hell! Sort of. I feel like I’ve made the joke about the dress not having pockets before, but it’s always true. Car chases aren’t easy to draw, and Acosta comes through again. I love the blasted apocalyptic landscape, and Ellie Wright’s bleak colors here. Also, please note they’re escaping in a Pinto. Because what else would you drive in Hell? Youngsters, have the old folks explain why Pintos are funny.

    Pages 10 & 11: The Gates of Dis. Love all of Dave’s architecture in these two pages. I take a cheap shot at Florida. Sorry, Florida. “You’re little people” is inspired by a line in Blade Runner (“if you’re not cops, you’re little people.”) I tiptoe around the idea of who smashed the Gates of Dis… but if you went to Sunday School you might know the answer. While I’m taking cheap shots, there’s old Bobby Lee working in a Parking Lot. At least they let him keep his pretty uniform. If they were really punishing him they’d have given him something in blue…

    Pages 12 & 13: The Drones of Hell. Sequence inspired by equal parts Kafka, Orson Welles, Terry Gilliam and Billy Wilder… though I think the last three were all inspired by the first one. Top of page 13, the answer to what did they do to deserve this is, well… let’s just say a lot of my politics leaked into this one. Sorry, not sorry? Yes, the guy freaking out about the copier is Charlie Day from Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Check out the “inspirational” posters in the last panel. Also… a guy named Dale sued me once, and lost. You will notice that I often use the name “Dale” for pathetic characters. I am nothing if not petty.

    Pages 14, 15 & 16: This location (and torture) is straight out of Dante’s Inferno, and Gustave Doré’s incredible illustrations of it. I felt like maybe all the jokes were obscuring the actual torture going on, and even if it sacrificed comedy for a few pages, we needed to see how absolutely horrible the torments of the damned are. And Glenn is the kind of guy who’ll suffer them for you.

    Pages 17 & 18: Dante and Virgil also rode on the back of the Griffin, though they didn’t bribe him with cigarettes. The brand is Morley, the favorite of the “Cigarette Smoking Man” on The X-Files. I gave Dave Acosta a choice of three brands, all jokes or references, and he picked this one.

    Pages 19: Of course Vlad ended up with the Violent in the lake of boiling blood. Where else? I wanted to spend more pages with the Violent, the Despoilers of the Earth, and the ice-bound Betrayers… but it’s hard to compress the entire Inferno into 80 pages of comic book, and I wanted to save the last twenty for the whole confrontation with “You Know Who.”

    Page 20: Mephistopheles is here, to introduce his Boss, the Prince of Lies and subject of Rolling Stones songs and a network TV series from D.C.. Come back next time for “Brat Out of Hell…” the fourth and final “Canto” of Elvira’s Inferno!