AMERICAN VAMPIRE page 1 issue 5 by Scott Snyder
Scott Snyder, creator of AMERICAN VAMPIRE took some time to tell us what it was like to write the first page of the last issue of the first arc. Here's what he has to say,
While working on this final issue of the first arc with a big climax, I wanted to get everything just right.
This page was a last minute change, actually. The original had Pearl facing off with Vachon, the French vampire in Bloch's nest, in the garage. In the original, she bites him, paralyzing him, while the sun rises in the distance. She questions him about how many vampires are upstairs, while the sunlight slowly creeps towards him... See?
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #5 opener written by Scott Snyder
Bloch’s castle, spires rising from the pale, desert hills. It’s just before dawn – an eerie blue light in the sky. Now is the time when vampires go to sleep (Euros…)
PEARL CAPTION: “My father kept dogs on our farm.”
We’re in the garage. VACHON enters, having descended the stairs. He’s dabbing at his tie with a napkin. There’s blood on the tie.
PEARL CAPTION: “Big, mean Mastiffs. Six in all. Anyone came inside our gate without ringing and those dogs would run at him.”
He’s climbing into his car, which is idling in a row of gleaming automobiles at the mouth of the garage.
PEARL CAPTION: “I never saw them scared.”
He notices, out the window, that the driver of the car beside his is drained of blood.
PEARL CAPTION: “Except this one time, when I was a little girl, a gray wolf wandered on to our property. They were supposed to be extinct in Kansas by then, but there one was. Standing by the gate.”
And the driver of the car beyond that.
PEARL CAPTION: “The dogs hid under our porch all day long. It was like they just knew that the wolf was tougher than them, no matter how many of them there were.”
In the rear-view mirror, Pearl’s grinning face.
PEARL CAPTION: “And the wolf – well, he knew it too.”
Gastueau stumbling from the car, holding his neck, hissing. Pearl walking after him, Henry too. Pearl is holding his shoe in one hand. VACHON is looking back at them over his shoulder at the garage opening.
HENRY: So I take it the wolf just did them all in.
PEARL: It did leave one of our dogs alive. It was the friendliest of the bunch – Dinah?
Small - The bright dawn sun peeking up from behind the hills.
PEARL CAPTION: “My guess is she just whimpered and begged enough and the wolf…”
VACHON clutching his neck, stopping at the edge of the light as the venom takes hold.
PEARL: He plain old felt sorry for the old bitch.
VACHON: What did you do to me? I can’t… can’t…
Pearl, loving every minute of her revenge.
PEARL: Let’s how well you beg, Frenchy.
PEARL: Now how many of your pals are upstairs?
VACHON angry, not noticing his hand is smoking in the sun (this is only part exposed so far). Pearl loves every minute of this, maybe gives a mock sympathetic face.
VACHON: You insolent-
PEARL: Oh, you’re going to have to do much better than that.
VACHON sees the horrible truth – he’s paralyzed by Pearl’s venom, unable to budge, and the sun is creeping up his arm. In fact the exposed hand is completely engulfed in flames.
VACHON: My arm! My… There’s four! Four, I tell you! Bloch, Pietro, Vachon and Lars. They’re in the study!
VACHON: Now please! Move me into the shade!
Pearl and Henry watching him burn – Pearl with a stern look on her face. In the foreground, VACHON’s body is contorted in agony. His arm and neck are aflame, but he can’t do anything about the sun creeping higher and higher up his body.
HENRY: Pretty poor begging.
PEARL: I did a better job myself.
In the end, though, I felt the new opener would offer a better build-up to the fight. I wanted you to feel like you were getting ready along with Pearl and Henry to go back and face off with Bloch's minions. Rafa and I threw some ideas around, and he ultimately came up with the sequential grid concept - keeping Pearl and henry's faces hidden - giving you a kind of ominous sequence of them getting ready...
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #5 revised opener written by Scott Snyder
Rafa, this page should be like a grid of 9 panels (3 rows of 3) showing glimpses of Pearl and Henry building weapons to fight the Eurovamps. I imagine the grid as made of panels even in size, but if you want to make the last one (which is a bit of an epilogue) bigger, or any of them different sizes, just say.
They’re still in the wilderness, the desert, putting together an arsenal from readily available materials. Imagine the setting as scrub-land 10 miles outside the city. This sort of thing. Except I think there should be a fence running along the side of the road – barbed wire and wooden spokes to rip up…
As for the images, here are some ideas. Try to keep tings tight on Henry and Pearl’s hands and arms and such (if we can avoid showing their faces, great – like the opening of Rambo!)
And as always, anything you think would be better, I’m up for.
1.1 – A sign reading “Welcome to Los Angeles!!! (city limits).” The sign is standing along a dirt road in the wilderness. The sign should be simple, just a wooden rectangle with 2 posts holding it up. Like the green sign in the background here (not the speed limit sign), but with the plackard being wooden, not green or reflective.
1.2 – Close on Pearl’s arms ripping the sign from the dirt.
1.3 – Close on her hands ripping the sign head off the post.
1.4 - A fence post. One in a line strung together by barbed wire.
1.5 - A glimpse of Henry collecting this and other fence-posts – like a detail of him carrying the sharp posts in a bundle under his arm, or on his shoulder. You could show him from behind if you want, walking along the fence, a bundle of ripped up fence-posts under his arm.
1.6 – Close on Pearl’s hands tearing a strip of cloth the hem of her dress (so from here on her dress will be a little shorter and ragged at the bottom).
1.7 – Close on Henry’s hands sharpening a fence post to a super-sharp point with his knife.
1.8 – Close on Pearl’s hands using the torn hem cloth to tie a wrap and secure a sharpened fence-post to the top of the post from the old road sign, effectively building a scythe (though we won’t see the full scythe until page 3).
1.9 - The car driving away, down the dusty road, toward the hills in the distance. We’re looking at the rear of the car, a small cloud of dust kicked up by its tires… Maybe in the foreground, the head of the sign lying on the dirt: “Welcome to Los Angeles!!! (city limit).