In just a few days, the first chapter of Gail Simone’s epic Dynamite crossover event, Swords of Sorrow, hits your local comic shop. Along with the main story of characters crossing time and space to fight an enemy taking aim, there are tie-in booms focusing on some of the most dangerous and cunning women of the Dynamite Universe, being written by some of the most cunning women in comics today.
One of those women is writer Nancy Collins. Queen of vampire stories and strange tales, Nancy has written comics such as Swamp Thing, Jason vs. Leatherface and Predator. She is currently headlining Dynamite’s Vampirella comics series, and is extending that into the Swords of Sorrows: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood. I got a chance to ask her a few questions about paring up these two. Before we sink our teeth in though, lets give those new to the characters a brief introduction.
Jessica Boyd: In this pairing of Vampirella is forced to play in Jennifer Blood’s world. However, due to some mysterious swords does this tie-in take on more of questing or heroic journey feel than just a fight for survival story?
Nancy Collins: I like to think the story incorporates more of a mystery/investigative atmosphere. After all, Vampirella is something of an occult detective, while Jennifer Blood has her roots in crime dramas like Death Wish and Dirty Harry.
JB: Throughout the Vampirella series you have made a point of showing Vampirella as a confident an unapologetic character that is not designed to be eye-candy. How do you plan on applying your style to Jennifer’s point of view?
NC: I see Jennifer Blood as being super-competent at her calling—which is killing criminal scumbags—with zero qualms or excuses. For example, the first time the reader sees Jennifer in the miniseries, she’s dressed as a hooker, but that is 100% camouflage and relates to the ‘job’ she is working. As far as she is concerned, her sexuality is just another tool she can use against her prey. Also, I will be using a first-person narrative style for Jennifer, in keeping with the existing ‘voice’ in her series, as opposed to the third person narrative I use for Vampirella.
JB: The regular support characters you are used to working with are not exactly being utilized in this series. Are there any challenges to writing a character that is so familiar to you but not having the same types of support systems for her to work?
NC: Not really. Vampirella is a fairly resourceful character. All I had to do was think to myself: ‘How would Vampirella react to suddenly finding herself on her own under these circumstances?’ Luckily, Vampi has had her share of weird things happen to her over the years. The idea of being stuck in a different reality isn’t as strange to her as it would be for Jennifer Blood, or one of the other characters, such as Jane Porter, Irene Adler, or Lady Rawhide.
NC: My angle is this: As disconcerting as it may be for Vampirella to find herself in a “natural” world, it is even more disturbing for Jennifer Blood to find herself face to face with genuine vampires and demons. Vampirella at least has practice with ‘passing’ for normal in human society.
JB: Will Jennifer ever get the chance to see the supernatural beings that Vampirella is used to going up against?
NC: Definitely! Starting in the first issue, in fact.
JB: Both of these characters are extremely ruthless and willing to go to extremes for their cause. Are there any rules you set into place for yourself when writing action sequences?
NC: Vampirella and Jennifer Blood have their own distinct codes of conduct. Vampirella does not harm innocent humans or do anything that will place humanity, in a broader sense, in danger. You can pretty much count on her to save the world, if required. Jennifer Blood is a bit more of a loose cannon, as her motivations are more pathological than altruistic. She’s not out to make the world a better place so much as take revenge for what happened to her parents and the destruction of her childhood. Her code is that she kills only criminals or those who try to stop her–however, that is not to say that innocent people do not end up becoming collateral damage. She also steers clear of harming children, or at least tries to.
JB: What do you think could be the biggest appeal to new readers who have never tried Vampirella or Jennifer Blood before this event?
NC: I wanted to combine the fantastic with a crime drama, ala The Hidden or Angel Heart. If a scantily clad vampire monster-hunter and a tough-as-nails female vigilante throwing down against narco gangbangers and enemies from beyond time & space doesn’t bring in eyeballs, I don’t know what will. I only hope that the mini-series provides enough of a glimpse into the characters to inspire new readers to find out more about Vampirella and Jennifer Blood via the various collections Dynamite has released.
JB: Is there anything else you’d like our Comicosity readers to know?
NC: Yes—If you like my work on Vampirella, I not only write comics, I’m also a novelist and short story writer. You can find my books at Amazon and at brick & mortar stores like Barnes & Noble.
JB: Thank you very much for your insight.
NC: Thank you for your questions!
If you’d like to make sure your store is getting copies of Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood #1, out May 20, 2015, reference Diamond Code: MAR151182
If you’d like to read more about Nancy’s work you can find her on Twitter @NancyCollins