When Dynamite originally announced a Dawn / Vampirella crossover, it was said that it would be written by Dawn creator Joseph Michael Linsner and he would provide covers. But recently that was changed to include Linsner doing the interiors for the six-part series. I had a chance to talk with the writer/artist about the new series and about why he was now doing all the art.
BLEEDING COOL: Let's start with the fact that Dawn is celebrating her 25th anniversary. Did you have any idea that your character would have such longevity? What did you think would happen when you first started drawing her?
JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER: Dawn first appeared in December 1989 and at age 20-21, I was hoping to get peoples attention. On one hand, I am slightly in shock that I am still drawing Dawn after all these years since I still have so many other characters that I am dying to devote time to, like Sinful Suzi. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense, because Dawn's creation was a slow, organic process. I've been allowed to shape her and mold her without any outside forces getting in the way. She is the perfect focus point for all of my interests, from world mythology to pin-up art. I'm sure I'll still be drawing her in another 25 years.
BC: Vampirella is celebrating her 45th anniversary this year as well. There are only a handful of female characters that have gotten the celebratory status of her and Dawn. What do you think it is about the two characters that made them stand out? Do you see any similarities between the two?
JML: They both have a greater depth of character than one might first assume. From the outside they look very pretty — perhaps superficial. But there is far more to them than just their sex appeal. Vampirella is the dark seductress who leans towards the light, a vampire who fights for good. Dawn is the fiery redhead who adorns herself with skulls and other imagery symbolic of of death and yet, she is an agent of rebirth. In a way they both contradict their first impressions. I imagine that if either lady lacked deeper layers or intellect the world would have gotten bored with them by now. It seems easy coming up with a sexy girl in a skimpy costume, but there has to be something special there besides the obvious to keep readers coming back year after year.
BC: You are handling the writing duties on this series. What type of event or threat happens that would pull these two characters together? Both are very strong willed women, how do you see their personalities meshing?
JML: They are both hoodwinked by a demon and kidnapped. The demon Masodik gets past their defenses by preying upon their empathy. Their big hearts are their shared weakness, though they approach things differently. Dawn treads lightly and picks up clues before she acts. Vampi strikes first and asks questions later. This will lead to some exciting conflicts as the series progresses.
BC: Can you give us a brief idea of what the series will be about and what about it will interest fans of each of the characters?
JML: The demon Masodik is looking for an heir. No mortal woman will do, so he wants one of these 2 unique ladies to be the mother. At first he wants them to fight it out, but Dawn suggests a more intellectual challenge, a storytelling competition. So just like Scheherazade, Vampirella and Dawn then have to weave stories for their survival as they find a way to free themselves and defeat the evil Masodik.
JML: I was originally going to spend 2014 working on the next Dawn series. After talking with a few other artists about someone else drawing Dawn & Vampirella, I got caught up in the spirit of how much fun it would be to draw. I've done Vampirella covers before, but I've never drawn a full Vampirella story. My inner fan came out and I couldn't resist. Plus this is Dawn's very first crossover (she's done a few cameos, but not a full crossover before). I'm very protective of my girl, and I'd rather see her done right or not done at all.
BC: How did this team up come about? Were you approached by Dynamite to do the crossover specifically?
JML: Nick Barrucci at Dynamite Entertainment came up with the idea a few years ago. I loved the concept but it didn't work with my schedule at the time. Vampirella is comic book royalty to me, right up there next to Batman, Spiderman and Sue Storm. I am very thankful to Nick for the opportunity to bring Dawn together with a character I grew up loving.
JML: After I have completed Dawn & Vampirella I'll be working on the fourth Dawn mini-series, 'Always Darkest'. Last year saw the debut of a Sinful Suzi story, in a book titled 'Sin Boldly'. I will be doing more with her next year. There are more statues and portfolios and sketchbooks in the works. Basically I have 10 million ideas and only two hands — and I can only write/draw with one of them. But stick around — the best is yet to come.
For more on Dawn/Vampirella #1, click here.