Vampiric drama and eternal youth meet heist and history in Oni Press’ upcoming miniseries, The Vain in an exclusive preview and announcement from The Beat. The story brings together writer Eliot Rahal (Hot Lunch Special, Midnight Vista), artist Emily Pearson (The Wilds, Snap Flash Hustle), colorist Fred C. Stresing (Invader ZIM), color assistant Macy Khan and letterer Crank! (Rick and Morty).
The Vain follows and hones in on vampires’ inherent immortality, and uses that to tell a century-long story, examining what there is to live for when you can never die. To do that, each of the five issues will fast-forward in time, focusing on a different, iconic year in American history, and giving characters time to change off-panel. Pearson describes the final product as a balance of cheesiness and fun that accompanies never growing old with a world that’s authentic to our own. She says:
“Eliot gave me real, genuine characters to work with, while also maintaining our over-the-top sexy angsty vampire theme.The Vain shows how the world and people change as history changes, and I think Eliot and I managed to craft a story that moves through time with the reader.”
Rahal echoes the sentiment that their vampires won’t be tonally the same as what some readers might expect: “My goal with the story was to veer away from a nihilistic and fatalistic vampire story and give the undead something to live for—each other.”
The story itself kicks off in Chicago, in 1941. Following another strange hold-up at a blood bank in which only plasma is taken and the cash is left undisturbed, FBI Agent Felix Franklin comes up with the only rational theory: an enemy of the United States is attempting to diminish the nation’s blood supply as it enters World War II. Although he’s a bit off the mark, the vampires behind the thefts feel him getting closer and closer to the truth; becoming another sign of the changing world complicating their lifestyle.
The Beat also had the chance to talk to Rahal and Pearson about their inspirations for their new take on a classic genre. Their answers, along with five sample pages, two covers, and an official description, are featured below. The Vain hits shelves this October.
Rahal: THE VAIN is essentially The Lost Boys meets Bonnie and Clyde. Buffy meets the Fade Out. A five-issue miniseries that spans nearly a century of American history in which we discover that our undead anti-heroes might be able to style themselves for the decades, but they can’t keep up with the times. It’s a story about wild eternal youth, reckless rebellion and endless love. I’m really excited at how absolutely beautiful this series is. Emily Pearson, the artist/co-creator, has done delicate character work on top of such stunning backgrounds. Our colorist, Fred Stresing, and our color assistant, Macy Khan, have created a romantic palette. One that enriches every single page. And the airtightness of Crank! on letters has been excellent. Although I am currently coming out with another story featuring vampires. I assure you… this is something different. Emily and I have pushed ourselves. And I think we have made something special.
Pearson: We were inspired by a multitude of cheesy vampire shows and movies, Blade, Buffy, Lost Boys, Queen of the Damned, etc. I think we really managed to take what we love about all of our inspirational media- to make it cheesy and fun, but have a real-feeling world and characters that tie themselves to the story. The book is romantic, exciting, gorey, and wild- but manages to feel cohesive to the world we live in. We took a lot of inspiration from history as well- endless sources of fashion and culture from the 1940s all the way up to present time.
In Chicago, 1941 a blood bank is held up in a robbery by four unknown people. No cash is taken, though—only blood. It’s the latest in a string of similar robberies. No money reported missing, just quarts upon quarts of blood. And as the United States prepares to enter World War II, FBI Agent Felix Franklin is certain it’s part of a wider plot to weaken the United States by depriving it of its blood supply. But the truth is much more sinister.
The four robbers are vampires: immortal, physically powerful, and, thanks to decades of honing their skills, practically untraceable. But as time goes on and the vampires—who call themselves The Vain—stay the same, they realize that the world around them is changing at a rapid pace. Stealing blood is getting harder every day as security measures evolve, and with every decade that passes, Agent Franklin gets closer and closer to finding them. Capturing them. Ending them.