Dynamite has sent us a writer’s commentary by Shawn Aldridge on Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella #1. Cover by Jenny Frison and interiors by Rapha Lobosco.
The Vegas strip heats up as Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad are on the trail of a deadly slasher and meet the lovely yet lethal Vampirella. The team-up event you’ve been waiting for is a high stakes game of chance when they have to take on The Queen of Hearts!
First issue, first page — so why not get to the heart of the matter? (Pun intended.) We immediately get a sense of what our protagonists will have to deal with in the story.
Here we get the intro of Cassie and Vlad and establish the setting. Vegas is a fun place to set a story, especially when visuals are involved.
Setting up Cassie and Vlad as characters or, at least, my take on them. I wanted to give readers a feel for the relationship between the two. I see them as being a lot like siblings in how they converse with each other. Big brother/kid sister. You want readers to care about the characters, so it’s never bad to humanize the characters by showing they care for each other. I also wanted to set the tone for the book. After showing ripped-open chests, let the reader know there will be some humor with the horror, while adding another layer to the opening scene. Page 7 goes back to that idea of humanizing characters.
Pages 8, 9:
Here I wanted to look at Cassie on her own — show how she sees the world and give the reader an idea of how she ticks. She’s a bit socially awkward, or perhaps has an odd way to interact with people. I’ve always thought people who deal with constant extraordinary situations would probably find the mundane a bit hard to handle. Like stabbing would be the easier than talking.
I like that Cassie’s instinct is to punch first, figure it out after.
Rapha does a nice job of using heavy shadows to establish the tension of something being hidden.
Hello, Vampirella. Don’t worry, the classic costume shows up later.
Again, Cassie = punch first.
Pages 14, 15:
The gang’s all together. Here I set up a bit where there’s a tension and playfulness to Vampirella and Vlad’s interactions. It creates a nice dynamic between all three. That tension will be play a role throughout the story. I thought it would be fun here to play up how Vampirella’s origin is, um, complicated. Also Cassie making it clear she has no patience for magic-y things was a bit of fun.
Pages 16, 17:
Back to the killing! The villain! Here’s our first look at the Blood Red Queen of Hearts. She felt like a natural choice for the story. She’s a recurring Vampirella villain, while her M.O. plays into the slasher aspects of Hack/Slash. We get a small taste of her motivation. Also, blood and guts.
Here we get the brief origin/motivation of the Blood Queen. I also play up the difference of how Vampirella approaches a problem vs how Cassie does. Cassie is very, “Let’s kill,” while Vampirella’s a much more subdued, patient approach. My take on Vampirella is someone who’s seen it all and knows that slow and steady isn’t a bad idea.
Fun’s all over when the cops show up. Well, when hotel security shows up. Again, Vampirella’s approach is to bounce, Cassie’s is to punch.
Not all fight banter works.
Not every day you see someone with a heart in their hand. Laying groundwork for Blood Queen’s ability. Again, Cassie’s having none of it. Knock knock. Who’s there?
You gotta leave them wanting more.
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