By Michele Brittany, West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent
I met David Blake Lucarelli about a year ago when he had a table at one of the local SoCal cons. He had a teen oriented vampire book titled Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade that he had created and written on display at his table. What drew me in was that his story was based on a real life event in Edinburgh Scotland back in the 1950s. Always intrigued by history and pretty much anything relating to the UK, I found his story compelling and the accompanying black and white illustrations by Philippines artist Henry Ponciano created a visually pleasing adventure. I was excited to hear that Lucarelli was working on a sequel and I got an opportunity to catch up with him and chat about volume two being funded by Kickstarter in which he has already made his goal. And, he was kind enough to provide an exclusive first look at his next project.
Michele Brittany: David, it's great to chat with you again and congratulations on your Kickstarter. One of the elements that originally drew me to your series, Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade, is that it is based in a true-life event. Can you tell my BC readers more about that event?
David Blake Lucarelli: In 1954 hundreds of children in Glasgow descended upon the Southern Necropolis Cemetery looking for a vampire. It became known as the Gorbals vampire incident and was considered mass hysteria. They blamed it on comic books at the time, and they may have been right because just in the last couple of years a comic has surfaced that could have been the inspiration for the incident.
MB: And out of that, you developed your story. Can you provide a brief synopsis of volume one?
DBL: In Volume 1 some of those children in 1954 found what they were looking for and formed the Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade. A half century later Gavin and Doug are a couple of juvenile delinquents who are drinking in that cemetery the night the vampires come back. Before it's all over they have unwittingly become the newest members of the Brigade.
MB: Was it challenging to create a seamless world between fact and fiction? If yes, how so?
DBL: The only challenge lies in ultimately reconciling real life and the world of the comic in a way that makes sense. I think I've figured out a fairly clever way to do that, but you'll have to wait for the third and final volume All Souls Day to find out what it is.
MB: Was there any factual elements you would have liked to include, but ultimately cut?
MB: I was so glad to hear that you are working on the second volume, The Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade: Age of the Wicked. In fact, you have a Kickstarter going on for it. What is your Kickstarter project in the nutshell?
DBL: The Kickstarter is to pay for the printing costs of Volume 2, which is completely done and in the can. I'm happy to say we're now 100 percent funded so everyone is getting their rewards! It's a self-contained story, but for those that are new to the Brigade you can also add on Volume 1 to any backer level for the complete adventures.
MB: And where does volume two pick up? Are there any changes in the character line up?
DBL: In Volume 2 Doug and Gavin along with Amanda and Lucy become full fledged members of the Brigade. As the vampire threat escalates, they come to America to seek out a new recruit for the Brigade with a mysterious past, unaware they are being manipulated by the vampires all the while. There's a new character named Aaron, who is the potential recruit they are seeking out. He's a veteran, ex-soldier who's working as a bouncer at a taxi dance club in Texas, and he doesn't know it, but he has a special connection to the Brigade. Aaron, by the way was based on Aaron Downing, who backed the Kickstarter for Volume 1 at a level where you get to be a character in the book. As you can tell, he's a very integral character. I don't like it when you sponsor a comic to be a character and you only appear in a panel or two in the background. That feels like a rip off to me. In this campaign we offered 3 spots, only one of which is left, and all of them will be significant characters in the third and final volume.
MB: Is your artist Henry Ponciano back for volume two?
DBL: I'm very happy to say that Henry Ponciano has continued to be the artist on the Brigade. He's made the book his own, and at this point I can't imagine anyone else drawing it. I don't want to jinx it, but I'm told there is a good possibility he may be nominated for an upcoming award for his art in Volume 1, and I think he deserves it, but his art in Volume 2 is even better!
MB: A trend that I'm starting to see with some comics is the partnership with creative talent from other countries in this digital age, so I think it's cool that you have collaborative process with Henry who lives in the Philippines. Now that you are into the second volume, has your creative process changed any since the first volume?
DBL: Only that we're more in sync with each other. I give Henry a full script with panel by panel breakdowns. He gives me roughs, and I give him notes if any. He then gives me the final pages and I do the lettering using a program called Comiclife. It's rare at this point I have any notes, because after two years of working together we are almost always on the same page, so to speak.
MB: Do you have any projects coming up that you can tease my readers with?
DBL: Henry and I are already working on a full color project about one of the first female police officers in Hollywood in 1915 called Abigail O'Leary. It's gonna be like L.A. Confidential meets Boardwalk Empire and I'm super excited about it. The plan is to shop it around to various publishers this spring/summer, but here's a sneak peak of what it's about!
MB: Where can people go to have a look at your Kickstarter? Do you have any upcoming events that fans can come by and say hi?
DBL: You can check out the Kickstarter. On Wednesday April 29th I'm going to be at Pulp Fiction in Culver City from 12-3pm and then later that day I'll be at Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood from 6-9pm. At each appearance if you have backed or back the Kickstarter you can get a free t-shirt and poster while supplies last, and at Golden Apple you can have a drink with me!
MB: David, I really appreciate your time. In closing, where can BC readers find you online?
DBL: Mostly I live on Facebook here and you can find me on twitter @DavidLucarelli
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer and editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company). She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies and can be followed at Twitter @mcbrittany2014.