With today's relaunch of Vampirella by Dynamite, we've got a peer-to-peer interview with Nancy Collins on writing the new series. Battlestar Galactica writer Dan Abnett talks to Nancy about her take on the classic character, her history and of course the iconic outfit.
NANCY COLLINS: I see Vampirella as an intrinsically heroic character, although one with a tragic history of being manipulated by others to their personal ends—including her own mother. She was born of darkness, but has an innate desire to protect humanity, something I will be exploring in some depth over the coming year.
DA: Is there any danger that Vampirella both conforms to and reinforces the 'scantily clad' sexy female comic book character trope that folk outside the medium seize on as evidence that comics are just teenage male power fantasies? There's been increasing amounts of bad press on that subject of late (let's not even begin to talk about David Goyer's She-Hulk remarks)… so, is she just spectacularly retro and self-empowered, or is she a terrible throwback?
NC: Vampirella's has the most problematic skimpy costume in the history of comics—even more so than Red Sonja's. Dynamite tried to change her outfit a couple years back—dressing her in a nice pantsuit—but the fans rejected the change. Vampirella's slingsuit is as much a part of the character as her fangs. When you're dealt a hand like that, the only thing you can do is to Own It. Wear the Hell out of that thing, Vampi. You go girl. And it's up to me to write stories where her costume isn't the only thing compelling readers to pick up the book. So, the answer is A) "spectacularly retro and self-empowered".
NC: After the death of her long-time human lover, Adam Van Helsing, Vampirella automatically sought out stability and structure by working with Cestus Dei, the Vatican's version of MI-6, if you will. When Ethan Shroud effectively damns her by marking her as a living sacrifice to Lady Umbra, the sister-bride of the Mad God Chaos, that support structure is abruptly take from her, forcing her to question who—or what—she can trust from now on. The first story arc, "Our Lady of Shadows", leads into the second, "The Accursed", which will find Vampirella discovering a few things about herself—and the world she operates in—that were previously unknown.
NC: Patrick is wonderful to work with. He has a real gift for drawing beautiful yet terrifying creatures. And, yes, I provide him with full scripts, as well as jpgs and video reference to work from. I've been very pleased with everything he's done so far.
DA: That's some amazing variant covers! Art Adams? Joe Jusko? Terry Dodson? The tip of the impressive pile! What are your thoughts on the variants you've been given? (and which is your fave?)
NC: I believe Terry Dodson is the regular cover artist, and the others are providing variants. In any case, they're all producing wonderful work. And I think they're *all* great. It's difficult to pick out the one I like the most.
NC: Yes, I also write novels and similar thingamabobs. My most recent endeavor is the Golgotham urban fantasy series—Right Hand Magic, Left Hand Magic, and Magic and Loss. However, I'm best known for my Sonja Blue vampire series—the graphic novel version of which, Sunglasses After Dark, illustrated by Stan Shaw, will be available from IDW this Fall.
For more on Vampirella Vol2 #1, click here.