Scott Snyder talks more about AMERICAN VAMPIRE issue #5
Writing the final issue of this first arc was bittersweet. I'm really gonna miss Steve's scripts. One part of issue #5 I especially love is Steve's page 9-11 sequence. [See pages below.]
He had this great idea to cross-cut between Skinner and Book, to show them both dealing with their vampire natures simultaneously. Though we didn't get much into Book's pre-vampire rivalry with Skinner (issue 1 starts with old Skinner already caught and shackled) - the two of them have a long and sordid history together. Book spent a long time chasing Skinner and their connection runs deep. In fact, in one draft of issue 1, right after killing Book's fiancee, Skinner said this: "Don't worry Pink. This here's all the bride you'll ever need." Ultimately, we cut the line for space, but it still rings true to me. The two of them are bound together in life death and afterlife. And while Book does get laid low at the end of this latest issue, the House of Book carries on….
Get ready for the next arc which begins in Las Vegas!
BOOK’S bedroom. He’s now dressed in loose white shorts and an underwear shirt. ABI is sitting beside him on the bed. She’s opened a button or two at the top of her dress to display her admirable attributes. Through the window we see WILL BUNTING riding away. He’s reading as he goes, the open book propped on the horn of his saddle.
BOOK and ABI don’t even notice. They are looking at each other.
BOOK: There’s no good way this can end.
ABI: Jim, you shut up that foolish talk.
BOOK: Look in the mirror.
In the mirror. We see ABI sitting on the bed. Book’s image is distorted, blurry.
BOOK (dialogue-balloon from where he’d be if we could see him in the mirror): Is that foolish?
ABI: If you won’t shut up on your own—
Resume BOOK and ABILENA on the bed. No sign of WILL; there’s only the hanging dust his horse raised on the road to town. She is kissing him passionately and speaking at the same time (a magical thing that only happens in comic books). BOOK has hold of her shoulders.
ABI (continues): —then I’ll shut you up myself!
He pushes her away. She’s sprawled back on the pillow, breasts heaving, cheeks flushed. A yummy sight. Her eyeline is much lower than BOOK’S face, and a small, vixenish smile dimples her cheeks.
BOOK: Are you crazy?! You’re young enough to be my daughter! I think of you as my daughter!
ABI: Part of you thinks of me as something else. I love you, Jim. Not as a daughter, but the way a man loves a wom—
BOOK (thundering): GET OUT!
ABILENA, stumbling out onto the porch. Tears stream down her cheeks.
BOOK is sitting on the edge of his bed. Now he’s the one wearing the smile (which shows the tips of those fangs). His eyes are rimmed with red—a drug addict’s eyes. His resemblance to SKINNER is stronger than ever.
BOOK: A sheep. Just one. It…it’ll help me think.
Back with the cowboys, digging.
COWBOY 1: Over here! I think I found something!
Close on a pair of yellow eyes being uncovered – Skinner’s… The cowboy recoils.
COWBOY 1: Jesus…
A meadow, with a four-strand barbwire fence in the bg. In the fg is JAMES BOOK with a dead sheep in his arms. His face is buried in its neck. The poor beast’s eyes are rolled up to whites and its tongue lolls from the corner of its mouth. There’s a puddle of fresh blood between BOOK’S gore-splashed boots.
SHEEPHERDER (off): Here, now! What the hell do you think you’re doing?
The two main cowboys pulling Skinner from the rubble. He’s emaciated, been starving down there for three full years. He should look the worst we’ve seen him. His fangs protrude all the way down to his chin. Not a pretty sight.
The other cowboys stand at attention, guns drawn. COWBOY 1 has his .44 leveled at SKINNER.
COWBOY 2: Careful!
COWBOY 3 (bg): Stay right where you are.
C/U of Skinner, weak, drained, but grinning.
SKINNER: Why hello there. Boys!
BOOK, his face smeared with sheep’s blood, whirls to face the SHEEPHERDER, who is stunned out of his initial anger.
SHEEPHERDER (eyes wide, mouth agape): Book? Jim Book? What—?!
The COWBOYS and SKINNER. The COWBOYS are still holding their guns.
COWBOY 1: Our orders are to take you to Banker Percy’s ranch.
COWBOY 2: Escort you. That’s what he means. Escort, not take.
SKINNER: Old Bram Percy’s got a ranch now, does he… My, my, that’s a nice cross you got.
BOOK and the SHEEPHERDER. The dead sheep now lies between them. BOOK is flashing his fangs. The SHEEPHERDER’S face is a mask of terror.
BOOK: Run! While you STILL CAN!
SKINNER and the COWBOYS. Oh dear, this didn’t turn out well for the COWBOYS. SKINNER has got the first two fingers of his left hand knuckle-deep in COWBOY 1’S eyesockets, while he drinks spouting freshets of blood from COWBOY 2’S torn-open neck.
SKINNER : Too bad for you that I’m an atheist.
The SHEEPHERDER is running for his life. BOOK watches him go, his shoulders slumped.
Long panel across the bottom of the page. In the bg, the two drained COWBOYS lie where SKINNER dropped them. In the fg, SKINNER is riding away on a stolen horse. He’s grinning, exhibiting bloodstained, dripping fangs. Hanging around his neck are the two IRON CRUCIFIXES.
SKINNER: Time to meet my maker…