Renegade Arts Entertainment has a new vampire horror graphic novel ready for Halloween and we have not only exclusive preview pages but also an interview with the book’s creator William Simpson. The comic, featuring Lovern Kindzierski on colors, marks Simpson’s return to vampires since Vertigo’s Vamps with Elaine Lee. The creator has since worked as the storyboard artist and concept artist for the entire Game of Thrones series in addition to other film and TV projects.
Details of VMT are below:
“The man who knows that vampires kill their own lunch, sure don’t sparkle, and are rarely troubled by teenage angst, has created a new vampire comic series that spills the blood on vampires in our world today. The bloody brainchild of William Simpson, VMT represents his unfiltered vision for a real vampire story. A new vampire graphic novel series that he is both writing and drawing.
Someone is stringing up blood-drained corpses across the city, in what appear to be ritual killings, leaving the cops searching for answers before too many more bodies build up. Meanwhile, Sun, a young woman recently added to the ranks of the blood-sucking undead, feeds her hunger and rage on the men she feels deserve her wrath. Along with the police, more than one legendary vampire has their sights set on her too. A tale of blood, monsters, and those that walk amongst them seeking to help us all.”
Deanna Destito: What brought you back to comics, specifically vampires?
William Simpson: Over the years since my last appearance in Vamps for DC Comics, I’ve been doing the occasional short stories for different independent publishers, in between film and TV projects, so I hadn’t completely disappeared but certainly I was somewhat less than visible to mainstream comics readers. In recent years I’ve drawn a bunch of 2000 AD covers and interiors. All the while, I had more characters popping into my consciousness, some of whom were my vampires. Elaine Lee and I had often talked about more Vamps, but DC wasn’t biting, so I guess my frustration over the years got the better of me.
After any film production day, I had time on my hands. When my brother Ken and myself had our animation company, Rogue Rocket, I got into writing up a lot of our ideas, projects were happening, so our quirky approach had to be dealt with, which also meant I found myself working on short film scripts and potential features. It was some weird “fate.”
Anyway, through the flukes of life I got into directing, first a music video, then a short, then commercials, and a load of writing started happening.
When Game of Thrones manifested, I was already ten years into turning out concepts and storyboards and appearing at events, doing exhibitions, promoting the series, and also getting involved in conversations about potential graphic novels, and all the while I was drawing some short stories on the individual VMT vampires and a bunch of sword and sorcery stuff, drawings and paintings kept appearing, but it was [Renegade Arts Publisher] Alexander Finbow who gave me the impetus a long time ago while we were working on the second Shades of Grey comic in a Canadian coffee shop. Life’s great. Stuff happens and the “idea’s soil” gets turned over. You can’t keep good, undead girls buried!
Destito: What separates this vamp tale from so many others out there?
Simpson: Ever since I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, vampires have just rocked. I was a Late Night Saturday tv horror fan, with black and white Bela Lugosi working magic in my head as the Count, along with Frankenstein, Werewolf, and Mummy films. It’s a great background for a young imagination. Then Hammer movies with Christopher Lee and all the slock that came after, kind of embedded the scary world into my psyche.
I was a massive fan of Gene Colan’s Dracula Lives, I read lots of the Marvel horror books, Frankenstein, Werewolf by Night, Tales of the Zombie, Morbius the Living Vampire, all mixed in with black and white sci-fi books and every mainstream superhero I could find. I always thought my professional art life would reward me with the superhero worlds, but instead, I was destined for a lot of sci-fi through 2000 AD and guys in trenchcoats and motorcycle-riding vampire women! So there was a bug in me.
I think when vampires started to sparkle, my storytelling inner-self screamed for something horrifying and a world where my behind-the-sofa existence could reassert itself. I wanted the nasty vibe of Constantine back, the first Hellraiser film feeling, horror to be horrible…so in the end, I indulged myself a bit. I don’t know if I’ve separated my vampires or even tried to, or if it’s been a joining of all the inbred fears from my imaginary classic horror worlds, I think it’s more of an exploration of lots of issues in the world that cringe me out, with imbalances and social, “don’t dos,” all tied into a vampire tale…and it’s a starting point to get my horror ball rolling. I guess the separation is always in the personality. Not a lot of sparkle or friendly poodle stroking.
Destito: Do you work differently when you are crafting a graphic novel than when you are storyboarding for a show or film?
Simpson: There’s not so much difference between working out a graphic novel and breaking down scenes for a tv show or a movie. I go through the same process of reading a script, seeing images, and then thumbnailing what I see. I guess the main difference is working on comic books, I am the director of everything that goes onto the paper, whereas in the movie world, I’m trying to interpret what the director wants and psychoanalyzing what else might be needed. There’s also the freedom on a comic page of designing the page as I wish, whereas the storyboard is restricted to a particular frame ratio and all is designed for the camera movement. Still, the two are sequential pictures, offering up the best way to reveal the story in the scripts and I still sit down with a paper book and rough out the ideas. The comic becomes a complete story, interpreted, whereas the storyboard is usually a series of parts of the story and only sees completion when the finished film is seen on a screen. Also, when I’m on a comic book, I take more time for coffee!
Destito: Any other comic plans in the works that you can share or tease?
Simpson: Apart from Series 2 of VMT, I have a painted time-shifting graphic novel twelve pages from completion, a 2000 AD cover for next year, a film script interpretation as a graphic novel for a director, a bunch of Orson Wells-related illustrations and a potential DC book and a collection of short prehistory tales for an anthology….that’s a few things to be going on with.
William is doing a signing for VMT:
Forbidden Planet Belfast October 27 (tonight!)
Forbidden Planet Dublin on October 29th
Forbidden Planet Glasgow on November 12th
Check out a preview below! Warning: Content is filled with graphic, bloody vampire violence!