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Vampirella's Second Coming: Bon Alimagno Speaks

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Vampirella has been an icon in the comic business for many years and still has grown-up fans daydreaming about her regularly. She first appeared as a horror story hostess in the anthology Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), continuing in that capacity through issue #8 when she was "revamped" as a leading character.

Now she is back with a title called "Second Coming". A title that celebrates her 40th anniversary with a new series, with covers by the likes of Arthur Suydam, Joe Jusko, Ryan Stegman and Jose Gonzalez and topping all this with a promised cover price of only $1.99 !!! Here is the man of the hour: editor Bon Alimagno!!!

BROKEN FRONTIER: Bon, before we start to go a bit deeper into some of the details, could you first tell us what your plans are with these anniversary issues, how many issues are planned and the machinations of it all?

BON ALIMAGNO: We're celebrating Vampirella's 40th Anniversary with a number of events: an online model search hosted at http://www.Vampirella.com, an official Vampirella Anniversary party at the first ever Vampire-Con (check out http://www.vampire-con.com for more details) and of course the four issue monthly mini-series Vampirella: The Second Coming. The first issue hits stores on 09/10/09. Yes, it's a $1.99, too. But we're not skimping on story. Each issue [will be] 20 pages. Basically it's Fell format plus four more story pages.

BF: How did you get Phil Hester (The Darkness, Missing Days, Masquarade, Fringe, Footsoldiers, The Irredeemable Ant-Man) to do this story?

BA: I asked! (laughs) Phil did a Vampirella Halloween special for us back in '06. It was really well received and one of my favorite Vampirella stories ever. I knew he had the ideas and the talent though that deserved a larger stage, so to speak. So I wanted to see what he would have in mind for a four issue series, one where I basically asked him to shake things up and do something commensurate with it being the 40th Anniversary. Boy, he delivered.

BF: What is Phil's plan for this new series?

BA: To reboot Vampirella. Really. I could use a lot of the usual buzz words and phrases publishers often use to hype their works, but I think if I did that for this [project] people would think I'm crying wolf. Really, Vampirella comics will never be the same after this. This time next year we will be telling Vampirella stories very different [than] what has come before. It's a matter of tone, it's a matter of content, it's a matter of what Vampirella *means*.

BF: The artist - Daniel Sampere- is a relative newcomer to the comic business, but I remember a special variant Vampirella cover a while back. What was it that attracted you to this artist and how did the pieces fall together for this team?

BA: I'd been introduced to him through his agent Joaquin Garcia. I was impressed with what I saw. Sampere says it himself in the interview we did with him in his sketchbook; he tries to emulate Bryan Hitch and that element of his work, the bold linework and powerful facial expressions, [is] important to the story Phil tells.

BF: The artwork will be done first in grayscale, is that correct? When can we see some interior pages for that?

BA: The series is in full color. There'll be a black and white preview in July however. We're pacing ourselves regarding the press for this so we won't be releasing full color work to the public till the week of the first issue's release.

BF: The artwork for the actual series will be in color. I believe this will premiere around my birthday. So nice of you to do that! When can we expect a preview for that and what can you tell us the color-artist?

BA: Romulo Fajardo does the colors... He did some cover work for us back in the Vampirella Quarterly and I'd been waiting for an opportunity to do something with him. The latest Vampirella T-Shirt was colored by him. I can honestly say his work is excellent but it actually gets better and better with every issue.

BF: The first thing I saw, was the announcement of a new series and that was enough to make me go absolutely berserk. The next thing I noticed however was a $1.99 cover price. I know that the series Vampirella: Revelations (Mike Carey & Mike Lilly) was cut short due to a lack of sales, during times of massive mainstream crossovers and I know you have been vocal about that in the past, but a price on a cover like this and especially on an independent title...that took my breath away, I must say! Can you elaborate a bit on the decision behind this?

BA: There's a lot that factored into this decision... but the bottom line is we wanted more readers. Really we wanted to break back into the Top 100 for the first time in a while. I think that's where a character of Vampirella's stature should be. We've published comics priced anywhere from 25 cents to $5.99 in the last three years and the sales rise and fall almost in perfect harmony with the rise and fall of the price. It's not like [when] we lower the price, the sales remain the same and we lose money. We cut the price and the sales go up from issue to issue even if it's say the seventh issues of Vampirella Quarterly. So I thought why don't we just go as long as we can go for the length of the miniseries and see what happens to the sales. Things like the state of the economy and Diamond Comic Distribution's new sales thresholds gave me pause, but in the end I thought the need to draw new readers to Vampirella outweighed everything else.

BF: AMEN to that!!! The cover artists for this year's #1 are big in name as well as styles! You picked the realistic Jusko to deliver a Harris-era classic. There is a true Warren-era cover by classic master Jose Gonzalez, which I think could be seen as a tribute piece to the recently departed artist. You also have a real comic-feel with Ryan Stegman, who brings the power of comic-art to life. And then you have a current master painter, famous for his paintings of Marvel Zombies, namely Arthur Suydam. Can you tell me more about the choices of these artists, because I am sure you have a story to tell about this!!

BA: Well, Joe Jusko is the greatest Vampirella cover artist behind Jose Gonzalez and Sanjulian. So he was an easy choice and he'll be doing covers for every issue, though some will be just for the Vampirella Collectors Club. Ryan Stegman's an artist I've wanted to work with after seeing a lot of his eye catching work for Zenescope Entertainment. Arthur Suydam is the hottest cover artist in comics today. His work on Marvel Zombies and Red Sonja speaks for itself. He'll be doing the lead cover for each issue. The Jose Gonzalez piece we acquired actually through Jusko who had it in his files. We contacted Gonzalez's agent about using it and worked out a special arrangement where the fee that would normally go to him went to charity so yes you can definitely say it's a memorial piece.

           

BF: Thanks for your time, Bon!! We at Broken Frontier applaud this initiative!

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Comments

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Jul 6, 2009 at 2:06pm

    damn...my first interview. Makes me proud :)

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 6, 2009 at 2:16pm

    Nice interview Richard. I'm not a huge fan of the Bad Girl sub-genre but your infectious enthusiasm really shone through in that piece.

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Jul 6, 2009 at 5:57pm

    I will make a believer outta you yet :)

    Anyways...as long as you remember that the Badgrrl-genre is just (most of the times) a synonym for great art and great visuals revolving around a strong female lead, then it is an easy genre to totally love!!

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