There's a click bait headline if I ever saw one. Batwoman writer Marc Andreyko is jumping into the Chaos revival with the new Dynamite series Chastity. Bryan Brewer sat down with the writer to talk about handling bring a character back and how to balance servicing the existing fans while telling his own story.
MARC ANDREYKO: The core concept remains the same: a teenage girl in the 1980's is turning into a not quite human / not quite vampire and struggles to understand her new "life". Her backstory differs in that she no longer comes from a violent, Rob Zombie movie family, but an upstanding one in NYC. That doesn't mean there is no abuse, but mental abuse is often more insidious than physical.
BB: Is there some sense of responsibility to a fan base when you are rebuilding a beloved comic book universe? It seems to be that way with those involved in the Gold Key U. rebuilding; true for Chaos?
MA: Absolutely! Every character is someone's favorite, so you have to be aware of that when writing, but we are giving Chastity a "fresh coat of paint" as it were for those unfamiliar with her.
BB: So tell us: Who is Chastity Marks and how does she become engulfed into a world she once read about in horror novels?
MA: She is a 18 year-old high school senior who's dreams of Olympic gymnastic gold were dashed by a career-ending injury. Her Mom, once a medalist herself, can't hide the disappointment in her daughter's "weakness" and Chas finds solace in a series of gothic vampire novels.
MA: Oh, Yeah! A confused teen thrust into a supernatural world, and without a rule book? How fun is that? :) Using fantasy as a metaphor for identity is a tried-and-true story basis that we can all relate to on some level.
BB: Where do you as a writer get your inspiration for this new ongoing? Is it hard working with a character for whom readers may have some expectations?
MA: I just see if I can find a voice, if the characters "speak" to me. And if the ideas flood in, I know it's something I want to work on. And writing Chastity, well, the level of reader expectation is different than, say, writing Batman. Chas' old school audience is much smaller, so the weight of expectation is not quite as heavy. But I am incorporating as much of her previous incarnation as serves the story I'm telling.
BB: Today, like the 1970s, there is a vampire in every other comic book – and zombies too, which is new. To what do you attribute as cause for the returning/rising popularity of Walking Dead, I Vampire and their ilk?
MA: Well, zombies always seem popular during times of war. Romero's during Vietnam and the Walking Dead as a reaction to Iraq, 9/11, Afghanistan. When we see death en masse on the news and our wounded soldiers, something about that frustration and fear manifests itself in the zombie genre.
As for vampires, they never seem to go out of style. The blood, the sexual imagery, it is timeless.
MA: I can't speak for anyone else, but, yeah, there is a challenge. The cool thing about this book is that it is more than horror. If I had to describe it, I'd say it's more an action/horror/mystery, like the Bourne Identity with fangs.
BB: You are known for your work on Batwoman. Anything planned for that book that may filter its way into Chastity instead? Can you compare these very different comic book women?
MA: No "Crossing Streams" here! Each book, each character has it's own voice. So other than both having female leads, the similarities end there.
BB: What does artist Dave Acosta bring to the table here?
MA: Dave brings an energy and an electricity to the scripts that I couldn't be more pleased with. And he can draw the hell out of 80's fashion and big hair!
BB: Marc, as long as we are here, any current or future projects you'd like to discuss?
MA: The book I'm co-writing with Taran Killam (SNL), The Illegitimates – IDW, wraps up in June, and I'm also doing Clive Barker's Nightbreed for Boom!, as well as continuing on Batwoman, plus, a few other things not quite ready to discuss yet… :)
For more on Chastity #1 click here.