Christopher Priest has been adding his style to Dynamite’s Vampirella for a while, creating an interesting and dynamic incarnation of the legendary character. Now the writer is continuing the Daughter of Drakulon’s canon with Vampirella/Dracula: Rage #1, a new series hitting this summer and featuring art by new series artist Christian Rosado. 

In this story, Vampi is angry; cultists have stolen her baby and clearly, that’s just not going to fly. Priest chatted with The Beat about the upcoming book and what it is like to create an angry Vampirella. 


Deanna Destito: This series is continuing some big stuff that has been happening to Vampirella. Where are we with her and what should fans know before jumping in?

Priest: That’s a good question. Fans familiar with Vampirella are likely to find this to be one of the hardest turns in the road for the character. For those unfamiliar with Vampirella, let me summarize by saying Vampirella is about a young woman trying to make it on her own in the big city. Oh, and she happens to be an alien vampire from outer space.

Of all the series I’ve worked on, Vampirella suffers most from the judging-book-by-its-cover problem as the unindoctrinated reader likely has never given Vampi a try because they assume they know what the book is about. Vampirella fans understand our take on the character is less about blood and gore than it is about a woman’s soul and universal themes of personhood and belonging.

Vampirella’s struggle is all of our struggle to earn the right to simply exist in a world eager to type us into silos. My Vampirella is kind of a bridge between Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls and, say, Caspar The Friendly Ghost.

Caspar wants what we all want: community, love, acceptance, purpose. But he happens to be a dead baby and that freaks people out. Similarly, Vampirella is a young woman who happens to be a vampire and, thus, becomes a magnet for evil lunatics, fair-weather friends, and a manipulative mother.

If you’ve never actually read an issue of Vampirella you’re not likely to know that. I mean, I never watched HBO’s Six Feet Under because I assumed it was about zombies. SFU was a dramedy about the struggle with evolving norms of the American family.

Getting past what an audience assumes a book is about in order to compete for their attention is a tough nickel, as evidenced by our efforts on Deathstroke. A lot of fans didn’t buy Deathstroke because they assumed they knew what the book was about—a bloodthirsty, scheming super-assassin. Deathstroke was actually a story about the World’s Worst Dad.


Destito: Why do this character and her world appeal to you?

Priest: I work in universal themes. Of course, Vampirella happens to be female and, well, a vampire, but I’ve been the odd man out my whole life and remain so even now. I’m in the struggle with her (laughs).

Rage picks up from our big vampire wedding in Vampirella/Dracula: Unholy, where Vampi may or may not have married Dracula, but you don’t need to run out and read that first (although I’m sure Dynamite would appreciate it if you did!).

At the end of Unholy (spoiler alert!) we discover Vampirella is pregnant and that her late husband had been a carrier of the “Dracula Virus,” a hereditary viral load containing Dracula’s DNA.

Vampi awakens in Rage after nearly dying in childbirth to discover her newborn son did not survive. Now she is hunting down members of the vampire-worshipping cult responsible for her child’s death.

Casting against type, we discover Dracula in the Good Guy role, tracking Vampirella as Vampi tracks the cultists, in an effort to save Vampirella from becoming completely consumed by darkness. In essence, Dracula is trying to save Vampirella from the fate he himself suffers: eternal damnation in darkness.

Destito: This is an angry, vengeful Vampi. How has it been creating this unleashed, angry side of her?

Priest: Pretty easy, actually, and kind of cathartic. This series consists of a series of vignettes dealing with ritual tribal obsession with Beyonce’s epic Lemonade as the soundtrack. The stories will focus on what appear to be ordinary people living ordinary lives who suddenly find themselves hunted by a vengeful vampire.

In this series, Vampirella is not the vampire-fighting heroine we’ve come to love. Here she is the shark, the creature in the night. She has very few lines of dialogue as she appears suddenly and strikes mercilessly; a mother lost in mourning. It is a very different take on the character.


Destito: What inspired some of the backstories and events we see in the book, particularly the ones centering on her “victims”?

Priest: The series is very much a metaphor for what’s happening all around the world today. What I imagine to be ordinary people, having been unwittingly indoctrinated into a cult, acting in dangerously irrational ways and then simply melting away back into the fabric of America, resuming ordinary, routine lives. A postal worker, a dentist, a Walmart greeter, a taxi driver. These are not supervillains; they’re your neighbor, your co-worker.

But this is our world now, all of us walking around with these gaslighting devices in our back pockets that are routinely used to enrage and push us deeper into ideological silos; algorithms feeding us a 24/7 stream of agita and resentment.

The greatest threat we face today is a short attention span, confusing headlines for information. Being pissed off is easy. Being informed requires patience, resolve, tolerance, and an elasticity of common purpose. Freedom is not about your right to blast hip-hop. It’s about being tolerant of the other guy’s right to blast hip-hop. Stampeding with the herd, lashing out irrationally, just leads to chaos.

In the film Thirteen Days, Bruce Greenwood’s President John F. Kennedy says, “You know, there’s something… immoral about abandoning your own judgment.” I tend to agree.

Destito: Can you tease anything in this new series that fans old and new may not be expecting to see?

Priest: Dracula playing the cello. His former host having been murdered, Dracula has assumed the identity (and skill) of a world-class cellist as he pursues Vampirella while following his own hidden agenda.

Vampirella/Dracula: Rage #1 is set to release in August 2023.