From SDCC’ 22: Prepare yourselves for HORROR…as Amy Chu and Soo Lee unleash Carmilla: The First Vampire – a horror murder-mystery set in 1990s New York Chinatown – from Berger Books in January 2023.

The plot summary, according to Dark Horse:

“Set in 1996, the Year of the Rat and the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, an idealistic Chinese American social worker turns detective when she discovers young, homeless LGBTQ+ women are being murdered and no one, especially the police, seems to care.

“A series of clues points her to Carmilla’s, a new mysterious nightclub in the heart of Manhattan Chinatown. There she falls for Violet, the next likely target, landing her at the center of a real-life horror story—and face-to-face with questions about her own identity and murky past.”

Carmilla: The First Vampire will release January 11, 2023 to local comic shops and bookstores January 24.

Writer Amy Chu says,

“Everyone is familiar with Dracula, but few know it was inspired by the vampire Carmilla who fell in love with the many young women who became her victims. Bringing the story to ’90s New York let me explore themes of cultural identity, gentrification, homophobia and racism. It’s definitely the darkest, most mature storyline I’ve ever written!”

The Carmilla that Amy refers to is the serialised gothic novella by Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu in the early 1870s – nearly thirty years before Bram Stoker set quill to paper on 1897’s Dracula – which introduced a female vampire with a taste for other women. The forthcoming graphic novel by Amy Chu and Soo Lee should prove quite the interesting reinterpretation and update of this overshadowed character.

Artist Soo Lee, who is based in New York City, chimes in:

“Goth, horror, and vampires make up the classic backdrop to 90’s New York. Using the colorful ambience of the city and cultural references, Amy and I bring back to life to an old NYC that I know and love in this retelling of Carmilla.”

Karen Berger editor and curator of the Berger Books line at Dark Horse mentions the appeal of this story:

“Not only is Carmilla a mesmerizing, steamy and decadent thriller but Amy and Soo have delivered a story with important cultural themes which resonate in today’s antagonizing times.”

Miss any of The Beat’s previous SDCC ’22 coverage? Find it all here!