Writer’s Commentary – Paul Cornell Talks Vampirella #4

Our newest writer’s commentary comes from Paul Cornell as he talks about Vampirella #4 from Dynamite that he did with Jimmy Broxton. Cover art by Philip Tan. Paul doesn’t give us any set up, he just dives right into the first page… so here we go.

Page 1:
These are difficult pages to draw. This issue was full of challenges for Jimmy. But I only set those challenges to an artist when I know they can deal.

Pages 2/3:
This stained glass window effect is something I’ve asked for in comics before, from D’israeli, in a series called XTNCT that we did for the 2000AD Megazine. It always seems to produce good results, but I doubt I’ll find a third opportunity to deploy it.

Page 4:
Seriously, the number of different styles that are being deployed at once here!

Page 5:
Quite a relief for the artist to return to his realistic mode, I should think.

Pages 6 and 7:
He’s considerably simplified what I put in the script, but he had to. I’m never concerned when an artist can’t put in every little detail. They’re there more to give them a feeling to work with, and if an individual item is very important I’ll indicate that it is.

Page 8:
I do like it when we get little smiles with fangs from Vampirella.

Page 9:
Lucifer, in Jimmy’s vision, looks like he could have stepped out of 1960s Doctor Who, or a Carry On movie. I really like that aspect to the work.

Page 10:
It took us ages to get the wings to really work with the new costume. I think Jimmy’s sorted it here.

Page 11:
We had to delve back into the entire history of Vampirella to establish that she and Lucifer (as such) have never actually met. I initially assumed that somewhere in the back catalogue, they must have.

Page 12:
I like the range of different approaches here, including the silhouette.

Page 13:
Matt and I went back and forth for a long time about how much of our back story concerning Vampirella’s long sleep and her memories of many versions of herself to reveal in this sequence. Some material was deliberately held back.

Page 14:
All done off reaction shots as opposed to seeing what’s going on, which I often think is funnier.

Page 15:
I thought that inserting a ‘meanwhile’ location caption might help the audience in a series which does hop about in style a lot.

Page 16:
Matt thinks it’s Christ frozen at the very bottom of the inferno, in an inversion of Dante. I don’t necessarily agree, but I like keeping the ambiguity.

Page 17:
I often think I’m kind of annoying, sometimes, though, in a positive way. So this is where I’d be put.

Page 18:
We had to re-fashion the joke about the gates slightly when Jimmy used this shot, but that’s fair enough. He’s establishing atmosphere, and it’s the same joke, just told a different way. This is part and parcel of what rewrites to art are for.

Page 19:
One of the things I’ve enjoyed about my run on this series is using those lines under pages. I’ve always enjoyed changing the page format in comics, and it’s not often I’ve been allowed to run wild with it.

Page 20:
I enjoy the visual characterisation of the minor characters like the flunky.

Page 21:
Jimmy opted for an interesting wobble effect for what Grit’s doing. Again, it’s a different choice, but one I quite like.

Page 22:
I couldn’t find a better cliffhanger, but we’ve had some good ones, and I don’t think anyone’s going to jump off with one issue to go. Apologies about that.

For more on Vampirella Vol 4 #4, click herePaul Cornell

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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