"It's Pretty Wild To Be Adding To The History Of A Character I Grew Up On" – Aaron Gillespie Talks Purgatori

Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of The Devilers, talks with Aaron Gillespie about Purgatori, both on sale now.

Purgatori04CovARuffinoJoshua Hale Fialkov: Aaron, I've known you for a while now through our mutual pal, Phil Hester.  I know he served as a bit of a mentor and a helper along your way.  Can you talk about what you learned from Phil or any other more seasoned writers you've met on your path?

Aaron Gillespie: Yeah, Phil's been a real mentor to me.  I first met him way too many years ago when he was teaching a comics class at a local college.

Phil is a real master when it comes to pacing and visual storytelling and I like to think I've soaked up some of that knowledge. He taught me that your work can be crazy and otherworldly and still have a human, emotional core.

Cliffhangers are my favorite things to write, and I know that comes from him as well. Basically what I'm trying to say is, it's hard to measure how much he's taught me.

JHF: Like you came up on Purgatori, I came up reading Vampirella.  I know when I got to write her it was a lot of a dream come true, plus one of my first work for hire gigs.  How are you coping with writing a character you grew up as a fanboy of?

AG: It's pretty wild to be adding to the history of a character I grew up on.  I never would have imagined it would happen.

There's also a lot of pressure.  Keeping the core of the character while also modernizing her aesthetic has been something I've both enjoyed and worried over.  Chaos fans are pretty die-hard when it comes to the original material, and I want to make sure I don't alienate them while trying to bring Purgatori screaming into 2014.

Purgatori04CovBChinJHF: Are there boundaries you don't feel comfortable crossing with her? How do you balance the sexuality with her independence?

AG: Well, I think you've touched on the hardest part of writing the character.  Purgatori, as well as most of the other Chaos characters, are inherently difficult in the modern environment.  It's a real struggle for me sometimes and I scrutinize every choice I make. I have to really walk that tight rope of keeping what made the character popular, while also making her truly autonomous.

For instance, I don't want Purgatori to use sex as a weapon.  I want her power to come from her guile and inner drive. Sure, her language is full of double entendres and lewd one liners, but that's as far as I want to go.  Of course, the argument can be (and maybe convincingly) made that it's impossible for a scantily-clad vampire to NOT use sex as a weapon.  So that's where the tight rope comes in.

Purgatori04CovCSubFleecsJHF: We have someone else in common, y'know, variant cover artist Tony Fleecs is one of my best friends.  How awesome are those covers?

AG: I love Tony. Not only is he an incredible artist, he's an all around great guy. And seriously one of the funniest storytellers I've ever met.

His covers are really tremendous. His cover for issue #5 is my favorite. The smirk on Purgatori's face is priceless. I also like the juxtaposition between his light, cartoony covers and the dark ultraviolence of the interiors.

JHF: What else are you working on? I want some AG Creator Owned!

AG: Then 2015 will be your year. I'm currently working on a hard-boiled rural noir miniseries called Lead Eater and there's another CO project in the pipeline, too. And of course, Lady Demon is rolling along. I'm having a blast on that book.

For more on Purgatori by Aaron Gillespie, click here.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.

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