Sitting with the AMERICAN VAMPIRE team of Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Editor Mark Doyle along with, Vertigo’s Executive Editor, Karen Berger at the Eisner’s last Friday night, we were all anxiously waiting for the winner of Best New Series to be announced. Now, over to series writer and co-creator Scott Snyder to tell you what it means to him to win.
There was a moment I was worried my Eisner was going to be taken away. This was at the San Diego airport, at security, when the woman behind the scanner demanded to know what was inside it. I told her I didn't know.
"You don't know," she said, an eyebrow raised.
"No. I mean, nothing is in it. It's just a trophy."
"Why's it so heavy then?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know if something's in it, or you do?"
"Then what's in it? Why can't you just answer the question?"
At which point, I started to stammer and trip over my answer. What did she mean? I didn't know, but she had the Eisner in her hand and she didn't look like she was going to give it back and so I said something that sounded like a joke but wasn't, something that was the only thing I could think to say to her question of what's inside that ball-topped trophy: "What's in it is all of my nerd dreams, ma'am. All of them. Now can you please give it back?"
It was true, too, about my nerd dreams. Sitting in the ballroom at the awards ceremony, wearing my lucky Elvis shirt beneath my button down, I couldn't get over how nervous I was. I knew I'd be nervous, but not that nervous. I could barely eat anything, barely drink. And then when our name was called... In the end, all I want to say is that I can't thank you all enough. Everyone out there who reads AMERICAN VAMPIRE and AMERICAN VAMPIRE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. I've never had more fun or been more in love with a story than the one we're telling through this crazy series of ours. For one, I believe in the story we're telling whole-heartedly. It's about everything I love writing about, monsters, Americana, American history, early music, rock and roll... But more than this, it's a collaboration with guys I've come to call some of my best friends. Not just in comics, either. Rafa (my co-creator) and Mark Doyle (our editor) have become two of my best friends in the world. Nothing is more exciting than getting to tell stories with them. Not to mention other friends we've made along the way - the godfather of horror, Stephen King, whose contributions to the series are immeasurable. Dave McCaig, our amazing colorist, Sean Murphy artist on AV Survival of the Fittest, Dave Stewart... The legendary Karen Berger and Will Dennis of Vertigo for believing in vampires who will never ever sparkle... Again, AV is a labor of love, made among friends who enjoy working together. And I couldn't be more grateful to them, or you.
Which brings us back to the airport, really. Because like I said, my answer to that woman at security was true. The Eisner does hold all of my nerd dreams. But not dreams of some kind of recognition or acclaim; dreams of getting to tell a story you love more than anything, with a bunch of guys and girls you love working with. What could be better? And in the end, the people that make that possible - the biggest friends of Skinner (and us) - are you, the fans of the series. So again, a HUGE thanks to all of you. As a way of thanking you I can promise that the best of American Vampire is yet to come. The stuff we have planned, between the Indian Wars, the rockabilly 1950's, the revelations that are coming for Skinner and Pearl and Henry, too... The new characters, the new vampires (and new ancient ones). This series is our baby and we'll never stop giving it 100%.
As for the Eisner itself. It did eventually make it through security. Right now, it's on my son's shelf, among his toys. He's 4, and he likes using it as a trophy for the winner of our nightly sock-fight (he invariably defeats his father with some new, experimental move). And I like seeing it there, as I turn off his light, knowing that maybe it's beginning to collect his nerd dreams, too.
Thanks again to everyone.
San Diego Comic-Con is a great place to see some of your favorite writers, artists, pencillers, and colorists. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the convention or missed these moments, here are a few photographs from my time there.
Pictured below: Eisner Award winning writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque on the AMERICAN VAMPIRE panel. Notice Jeff Lemire hiding in the background?
Pictured below: SWEET TOOTH writer and artist Jeff Lemire and colorist Jose Villarubia signing in the DC Entertainment booth.
Pictured below: Eisner Award winning twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon signing in the DC Entertainment booth.
Pages from AMERICAN VAMPIRE issue #17 (also note the joining covers from issues 13-17 by Rafael Albuquerque ) and AMERICAN VAMPIRE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #3.
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.
The highly anticipated first issue of the AMERICAN VAMPIRE spin-off miniseries AMERICAN VAMPIRE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST by Scott Snyder and artist Sean Murphy went on sale Wednesday. Each issue of this miniseries will be available both as a print comic book and in digital format for $2.99 each.
AIN’T IT COOL NEWS, says “I guarantee once you buy AMERICAN VAMPIRE volumes I and II, you won’t be able to stay away from SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.”
IGN says, "Sharply written . . . Survival of the Fittest #1 is truly one of Murphy's best outings to date. 9.0 Amazing.”
“Scott Snyder's vampire creation is nothing short of brilliant and addicting,” says YAHOO! ASSOCIATED CONTENT.
COMIC VINE rates issue #1 5 out of 5 stars.
NEWSARAMA says, “Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy bring about a sharp sense of mood and tension to this new chapter of vampire lore.”
UGO says, "If you haven't been reading Scott Snyder's American Vampire, you're missing out."
And check out the USA TODAY feature with Scott Snyder.
COMIC BOOK RESOURCES’ preview of issue #1.
It’s WWII in the South Pacific. The island Henry is on is infested with vampires and the war is heating up. And Pearl is about to join the mission.
Here’s a peek inside AMERICAN VAMPIRE issue #15. Pick it up this Wednesday.
Writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque continue to awe us as AMERICAN VAMPIRE #14 hits stores this Wednesday.
Henry and the crew storm the shores of a remote Pacific island with a secret at its core. But the island's secrets are nothing compared to what Skinner has up his sleeve. Meanwhile, our gal Pearl sets out on a desperate mission of her own . . .