Nancy A. Collins Talks Altered States: Vampirella

Dynamite Entertainment is doing a new series of comics called Altered States, taking some of their best known characters and putting them in new environments. Similar to DC's Elseworlds, Altered states allows the creators to make a whole new spin on a familiar hero. Troy Brownfield, writer of Blood Queen vs. Dracula #1, talks with Nancy Collins about Altered States: Vampirella one shot, both on sale now. Cover art by Billy Tan.

AlteredVampi-Cov-A-TanTROY BROWNFIELD: Nancy, with the Altered States approach, we're looking at alternative takes on characters. In a way, yours goes back to the roots of Vampirella; can you explain your approach?

NANCY COLLINS: I recently had a couple of old-school Vampirella fans bemoan that she is no longer a 'sci-fi vampire from outer space', so that was floating around in my head when Dynamite asked me for an 'alternate' version of the character for their March event. Turning her from an alien vampire from outer space into a human astronaut stranded on a planet of vampires was the first thought that entered my head. However, I wouldn't call my story 'science fiction'—it's closer to space opera or planetary romance, ala Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories.

TB: You go beyond simple twists in your story and do some wholesale reversals. How important were those juxtapositions for them and the script itself?

NC: Once I decided to do a mirror-reverse version of Vampirella's origin story, everything fell into place. Turning Adam Van Helsing and his father into Drakulonians was a given. They're still fighting 'monsters' together, although not of a supernatural nature.

TB: I can see you're having some fun with references in there, notably Forrest (which I took as a nod to the Ackermonster). I also took the name of the Sonic Reducer weapon to be a shout-out to the Dead Boys. I like to play the reference game myself. Why do you like to do that, and would you care to note any others that readers should hunt down?

NC: One of Ella's fellow crewmates on the 'Arthur C. Clarke' is Commander Sutton, which is a reference to Tom Sutton (1937-2002), the artist who drew Vampirella's origin story in the very first issue of the Warren magazine run.

TB: Some people might think that Vampirella is pigeon-holed to one type of story, but I think she's pretty flexible in terms of narrative possibilities. What's your take?

NC: I've found her to be highly adaptable for my story-telling purposes. And as to being pigeon-holed, the same held true for Swamp Thing and Batman. I think it has been proven time and again any fictional character's possibilities are only limited by the creative vision of their writer.

TB: If for some reason you hadn't gone the space route with Vampirella, what's another twist on her that you might have tried?

NC: Well, there is already a steampunk version of her in the Legenderry series, and we've just had multiple fairytale versions of her in the Feary Tales mini-series—maybe her fighting Nazis during WWII ala Wonder Woman or Captain America with the help of the Bride of Frankenstein? (Dibs!)

For more information on Altered States: Vampirella, click here.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.