Vampires have received a bum rap lately. Despite being an old concept and featured in many great stories, people have almost had vampire overload lately. There are some writers that are changing all that. Joshua Hale Fialkov is one of those writers making vampires cool once again.
I, VAMPIRE has been one of the best titles coming out of the "New 52." Bringing vampires to the DC Universe, Fialkov, along with Andrea Sorrentino's amazing art, are preparing for a major war in the DCU. With Mary, Queen of Blood headed towards Gotham City, it's only logical that a certain Dark Knight should make an appearance. This will lead to the rest of the DCU discovering what is hiding in the shadows.
We had the chance to talk to Josh about the series.
Comic Vine: Why vampires? How did you get hooked up with I, VAMPIRE?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Vampires are one of the most endearing creations. It goes back to Lillith, the first woman... In a lot of the Kaballah stuff around her, there's this idea of drinking blood and vampirism. Hell, it even goes back to the Aztec and Mayan cultures, which, you know if you're reading Sam Humphries' excellent comic SACRIFICE.
It's been a major part of our literary and cultural history as a species. But beyond that, it's not really a 'new' thing. If you look at any bookstore, you'll find an enormous amount of vampire romance novels, many of which sell a damn fortune.
As for me, I've written an inordinate amount of vampire fiction for a guy that writes non-monster horror. I predominantly write noir-horror, I write a lot of true-crimey stuff. But, Vampirella was my first work for hire, I did a series of vampire romance novels called the DARK-HUNTER books that adapted into manga and I did a manga series called PRINCESS RESURRECTION. My first paid writing job ever was writing a short story for Steve Niles' 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, actually.== TEASER ==
Vampires have sort of run through my career. It's funny that my big first work for hire gig at DC is a vampire book. I was a fan of the original stories with the characters, and especially the book's creator, J.M. DeMatteis. In fact J.M. DeMatteis' BROOKLYN DREAMS was one of the books that inspired me to become a comic book writer.
Writing I, VAMPIRE has been a lot of fun. I haven't had to compromise a lot of stuff. It's an extremely rare thing to be able to tell the stories you want to tell the way you want to tell them.
CV: How does your interpretations of the characters compare to the original?
JHF: They're pretty damn close. The powers are slightly different. They couldn't walk in the daylight in the original series but they can in mine. The relationships, the origins, that stuff is all there.
I incorporated a little more political climate into it. For me, first, it's a romance book. Second, it's a horror book. But third, it's sort of a political book.
If instead of being vampires, they were any other oppressed people, Mary would be the hero. If they were any other group of people, at all, they'd be the heroes, and Andrew would be the villain. Andrew is fighting for the right to keep vampires down.
JHF: The idea was to do it as fast as possible. The idea was the events in the first few issues happened back to back to back. When the vampires did their terrorist attack, their first offering to the world, then they disappeared. There were no bodies. The idea is, you can get away with it once, but after that, you're gonna run into Batman. You can't keep hiding.
The John Constantine issue was how the dark magic side sees vampires and interacts with them and what their goal is going to be. With Batman, it's the snowball getting kicked down the hill because there's no going back. Once Batman knows, all of the DC Universe is going to know.
Batman and the Bat-universe is the cornerstone of the DCU so that would mean everyone else would know.
CV: How do you plan on portraying Batman?
JHF: I was going to go with the Adam West version but they said 'no.' (laughs)
This is actually the second time I've written him, the first in the SUPERMAN/BATMAN series before the relaunch. What's funny about writing Batman is he's such an insular character. Even with the family, it's all captions and inner monologues. Because of how the book is written, which is every issue is from a different character's point of view, I couldn't do that. You can't have Batman's point of view. Which makes writing Batman really hard. Batman is so smart and so ahead of everyone else, that he comes off as distant and almost... abstract.
But, it's fun because you don't often get to put Batman in the corner. Batman is not a character you can have a 'one up' on. The vampires are an entirely new thing for him. He has no idea what they are. He has no idea how to deal with them. And don't forget, Batman is driven by two things. Fighting crime and never killing. Well... how do you stop vampires when they can turn to mist? He won't kill them. He won't cut off their heads.
JHF: That's at Vertigo so it's probably out of the question. You'll have to ask Chris. The real question is which one of us gets I, WEREWOLF?
JHF: We have better powers, right? I mean we both have the sun, we can both go in the sun. But my vampires turn into goddamn giant bat monsters! I'm pretty sure we would win.
But I do have to give credit, I think Steve Niles' vampires would kick everyone's ass. Those things are punk rock as f###. You can't keep a punk down at the end of the day.
CV: Any other projects you're working on?
JHF: We're wrapping up LAST OF THE GREATS right now over at Image. The first trade will be out soon. If the trade does well enough we'll be back with a follow up titled RETURN OF THE GREATS. I'm working on a new book with Noel Tuazon (who I collaborated with on TUMOR and ELK'S RUN). That's an ongoing crime book, a procedural in the style of HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET. That's called DEEP VALLEY and will hopefully launch this Fall. And then I'm working on another ongoing creator-owned book I can't talk about but it's my favorite thing I've ever worked on, and I think people will flip for it. Stay tuned!
CV: It all sounds great! Everyone definitely needs to pick up I, VAMPIRE #5, on sale this Wednesday, January 25. Vampires in Gotham!