David Avallone's Writer's Commentary on The Shape Of Elvira #3

David Avallone has a  Writer's Commentary on The Shape Of Elvira #3, just published by Dynamite Entertainment. He writes; Before you get all the inside scoop – SO MANY SPOILERS — go read the comic. Did you read the comic? Good. Now proceed…

Covers: As always, a fantastic collection of covers. Francesco Francavilla's cover makes me want to do a SWAMP THING comic with Elvira, illustrated by him. J Bone's is hilarious and charming, as ever. But my favorite might be the Gill-Man-as-Fabio romance paperback cover by Dave Acosta, my creative partner on the ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK comic.

Pages 1-3: We pick up where we left off, with Polito and Roberts of the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and I get a lot of mileage out of the repetition of that phrase. Let me start by saying a five page dialogue scene in a comic book is a big no-no and I considered carving it down… but I love the characters and I ended up thinking it was worth it. I love artist Fran Strukan's first panel, showing Elvira and the Macabre Mobile in all their glory and beauty.

One of the many reasons I didn't mind lingering on this scene… it contains a tribute to my late friend Jon Polito (as I mentioned in the commentary on last issue). He was a lovely guy, a great and supportive friend, and a truly gifted actor. You've seen him in all the best Coen Brothers movies, in my favorite TV show (CRIME STORY)… and as a Fish and Wildlife agent in THE FRESHMAN.

On the bottom of page three, the "Bateman Begins" joke – which is fantastic – came from ace letterer Taylor Esposito. I'm not an American Psycho fan so I had something lame in the script, and Taylor had the MUCH better joke. Thanks, Taylor!

Pages 4-5: I share Agent Polito's Italian-American ancestry, and I am similarly good natured about Mafia jokes. Fran does a great job recreating the famous Bigfoot video in the photograph. Agent Roberts sets up a dirty joke and instantly regrets it, like you do in life sometimes. Throughout this five page sequence, take note of Maxim Simic's color work… the orange/yellow haze of streetlights is perfectly evoked.

Pages 6-7: Yes, Elvira is playing a scientist who wears an Elvira costume under her labcoat. Let's not ask too many questions. At the bottom of page seven I'm referring to VAMPIRE'S KISS, a fantastic movie and Nicolas Cage at his most "Nicolas Cage."

Pages 8-9: The return of Eddie Mezzogiorno. I still feel weird about using a fictional (but recognizable) version of myself in this comic, particularly as Elvira's human "love interest"… but I will always maintain it was laziness and not vanity. I am a VERY easy character for me to write. I never have to wonder, "but would Eddie Mezzogiorno say that?" Yes. Yes he would. Note that in panel four of page 9, the very petite Elvira is a little taller than I am. Yes, she's wearing considerable heels… but this is still probably accurate. I'm not sure how Fran guessed my height…

Pages 10-11: The first panel on page ten is the most direct joke about SHAPE OF WATER in the whole series. Phil LaMarr is back for a few panels, even though I didn't give him any lines in this scene. (Sorry, Phil. You deserve better.)

Pages 12-13: We finally get the "something fishy" pun out of the way, and can move on with our lives, and two gratuitous Bugs Bunny references, leading up to our big reveal…

Page 14: Yes, they're keeping Gill in a prop left over from ALTERED STATES. I just noticed that "ABRA-CA-POCUS" is actually the THIRD Bugs Bunny reference in two pages.

Pages 15-16: A little origin story for Gill, and a shout-out to Taylor in the narration. I like Bullworth's sad little safari costume here.

Pages 17: My apologies to Motel 6. I haven't stayed in one in years, and they aren't THAT bad. But sometimes you have to go for the best joke.

Pages 18-20: The escape is interrupted. What the Hell is Don wearing? We've heard a few times before that he used to play THE KID FROM STYX in Billy's movies – AKA Hellboy – and he seems to be wearing a kids large size Kid From Styx costume. I didn't go for the exact Bugs Bunny quote on the last page ("One bullet left? Hey, laughing boy, he has one bullet left!") but it's there in spirit.

Next month… who is "the Doctor?" Let's just say he's the world's leading authority in a certain "rapidly growing field" involving amphibians and mind control. Thanks for reading!


About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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