There are very few female comic book characters with the recognition factor and appeal of Vampirella. But one woman who can hold her own alongside the sensual vampire is Dawn. Created by Joseph Michael Linsner in 1989, Dawn has been a fan-favorite almost since her premiere... just like Vampirella!
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the paths of these two characters should eventually cross—which is exactly what’s happening in Dawn/Vampirella #1.
What is surprising, though, is that Dynamite Entertainment has enlisted superstar creator Joseph Michael Linsner not only to write the story and provide cover art, but also to illustrate every issue of the crossover event!
“What a privilege it is for Joe to work with us on Dawn's first cross-over ever," Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci said. "To have that cross-over be with a character as iconic as Vampirella, and for Joe to make time in his schedule to both write and draw the series, is just an incredible thrill!"
For Linsner, the project has been a demanding labor of love. “I've been working on Dawn/Vampirella for at least six months, starting with the writing,” Linsner said. “The penciling and inking takes about six weeks for each issue. I am not doing all of the coloring, but I am providing very detailed color guides. And the lettering is being done by Jeff Eckleberry, who letters all of my stuff, from Dawn to Claws.” And of course, that lettering is being done under Linsner’s direction. No doubt about it: this project is about as hands-on for Linsner as any book could be!
While Linsner could have taken the easy way out and just presented a multi-issue confrontation between these two characters, that wasn’t what he had in mind for the series. “In Dawn/Vampirella, a demon named Masodik tricks and captures our ladies because he's been having visions of an heir with one green eye and one blue eye—Dawn has green eyes, Vampirella's are blue. At first he wants them to fight each other, but Dawn suggests the storytelling contest as a smarter idea. He goes for it, and the ladies tell stories while plotting their escape.”
So no cat fight? Some readers are going to be disappointed... “I didn't say that wasn't going to happen!” Linsner corrected. “Goddesses and vampires in captivity don't always get along. All I can say now is stay tuned.”
The storytelling angle seems to harken back to Scheherezade’s experiences in 1001 Arabian Nights; is that a conscious influence? “Both Dawn and Vampirella started out as horror hostesses introducing short stories,” Linsner replied. “Thinking about that gave me the idea to do a riff on Scheherezade. I always draw inspiration from classical sources—and that’s not uncommon. Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings all draw on ancient myths that bear repeating. With the right new paint job they appeal to new audiences because their core ideas ring true.
“Dawn and Vampirella have been around for so long because they are definitive archetypes. Vampi is the dark and sexy agent of darkness who fights for justice. Dawn is the goth seductress who leads souls to salvation. Both ladies tap into ideas that are already deep inside of us—and they can be both new and familiar if done right.”
Will each issue consist of a single story, or will each issue present multiple tales from Dawn and Vampirella? “I’m going to mix it up,” Linsner said. “Some issues will have multiple stories, others just one longer tale. I plan on weaving the stories they tell into the larger narrative in a way which will illuminate different parts of their characters. By writing this, I have actually learned a lot about Dawn, which I am loving. Both ladies will usually star in the stories they tell, just as an actor can play multiple parts in a movie—like Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove.”
Linsner is pushing himself to make this crossover a truly outstanding comic book. “Fans of good comics should love this book because I am giving it 200 percent," Linsner said. "I've been in the game for 25 years, so I've learned a thing or two. I'll be summoning all of my resources together to make this book rock. It's not going to be the ultimate ‘bad girl’ comic—it's going to be a great comic with something in it for everyone."
Linsner explained how the crossover came about. “Nick Barrucci, head of Dynamite, first suggested it a few years ago. I am not usually a fan of crossovers, but Vampirella is special. She is the original strong & sexy comic character. Other female characters were around before, but she was the first one to be really feminine and powerful at the same time. Her brazen attitude was a strong influence on Dawn, so I feel very privileged for the chance to bring the two of them together. Such a huge event seemed perfect for Dawn's 25th anniversary!”
This is the first major commemoration of Dawn’s 25th; what else does Linsner have in the works for Dawn from now through mid-2015? “Dawn/Vampirella is the big project. 2014 was supposed to see the launch the fourth Dawn mini-series, Always Darkest, but that will be my next book for 2015.
“I'm also very excited about the 25th anniversary Dawn lithograph. I'm aiming for the ultimate Dawn painting, which is a nice challenge. I always try to top myself, always trying to get better. I have a vision in my head which I've been chasing for 25 years. It's so elusive but she's always right in front of me, just beyond my grasp. But I am getting closer.”
Will Dawn appear in other Dynamite projects in the future? “I love working with Nick,” Linsner said. “We've been doing Dawn stuff together for over ten years; lithographs, t-shirts, card sets. However, this is the first series that we're doing together. Not only does Nick have great ideas, but he has a genuine love of art. You'd think that would be essential for anyone working in comics, but trust me, it's not the case. Also, Nick is one of the most honest guys I've ever met in this whacky business. I'd be a fool not to do more work with him!” (And there is one more major Dawn project in development now... but CSN readers will have to wait a little longer to learn about that one!)
Dawn/Vampirella #1 is scheduled for September 3rd release. In addition to the standard edition, Dynamite is offering two special incentive cover editions: a 1-for-10 black and white variant cover and a 1-for-25 “red line” variant, both featuring Linsner’s cover art. Interested readers should check with the folks at their friendly neighborhood comic shop for price and availability.
Source: Comic Shop News