A Quick chat with Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy
AMERICAN VAMPIRE Vol. 2, hit the New York Times bestseller list at #1 and the spin-off miniseries AMERICAN VAMPIRE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST began last week. I took some time to have a quick chat with writer Scott Snyder and artist Sean Murphy about their highly praised new miniseries.
PM: Scott and Sean, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST follows some of the characters from AMERICAN VAMPIRE Vol. 2. What’s it like to begin a spin-off of a bestselling series? Tell us a bit about what’s in store for readers.
SS: Well I can say that things really ramp up in issue 2, when Cash and Felicia actually reach their destination - a Nazi occupied castle in the Romanian mountains that's home to a scientist who may (or may not) have developed a cure for vampirism... The whole series has been a blast so far - Sean's a good friend at this point, and there's nothing better than working with a friend on a story you love. (Especially when your friend is a monster talent of an artist:))
SM: I'm thrilled to be aboard. There's a motorcycle escape/battle scene coming up that I'm really looking forward to drawing.
PM: Scott, you’re writing two epic WWII storylines right now. What is it about this time period that inspires you?
SS: I've always been fascinated by all aspects of the war. My grandfather, who's still alive, was actually in the Navy for the duration of WWII. He was physically at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked... So I grew up on his stories about what it was like to be a part of the effort. Obviously, when I was a kid, the stories were less about the war than his friends on the ship, the strangeness of being so far away from home... As I got older, the stories got darker, though always inspiring. So stories about the war, about that time period, really are a part of my writer's DNA. The heroism, the terror, the ordinary men placed in extraordinary circumstances... What isn't inspiring about it, as a writer?
PM: Sean, I know you’re a history and science buff, so though this is a fictional story, is that partly what attracted you to this project? Your rendition of the Museum of Natural History from issue #1 is incredible. With the book being set in the 1940s during WWII in Eastern Europe, what kind of research have you done?
SM: There's a TON of Nazi research to do. Patches, pins, guns, cars--way more than I'll ever be able to fit into the drawings. Still, I'm trying my best. With hundreds of Nazi vampires to deal with it gets a little overwhelming but I'm loving the challenge. I found a model of this half-track Mercedes that Rommel drove in northern Africa (supposedly). Whether or not it was real doesn't matter--it's too cool not to have in the mountains of Romania. Assuming I find a way to stick it in there.
The other bit of research I found interesting is that the vampire myth actually started in America--not in Europe. "The consumption" was a disease running rampant in 19th century New England villages, and many of the symptoms are similar to what you find in vampire myths (paleness, sensitivity to light, etc). Today we call the disease tuberculosis. They found New England newspaper clippings in Bram Stoker's records after he died.
I passed this info onto Scott hoping he'd find a way to work it into the plot one day.
PM: Scott and Sean, if you were a vampire or part vampire would you search for a cure or embrace your vampirism?
SS: Wow. That's tough... I think I would take the cure. The idea of losing everyone around you, everyone you care about, watching them get old while you stay the same... And just the dark pull of the blood. Yeah, I'd choose warm-blooded :)
SM: I'd embrace it for sure. Maybe even grow a flat-top and walk around like Blade.