Writer’s Commentary: Jeremy Whitley on Vampirella #11

Posted by March 23, 2018 Comment

Dynamite has sent us a writer’s commentary by Jeremy Whitley for Vampirella #11, the series finale. Covers for the issue are by Philip Tan and Stephen Segovia with interiors by Rapha Lobosco.

Page 1:
Here we are back again for one last round of commentary on this story. Sorry, everybody, this is the last stop for now, but we’ve all done our absolute best to make it worth it. We start with a peek inside the life of Ms. Vicki Vincent, the lover of our dear dear Vampirella. I’m sure many of you are having mixed feelings about her right now, but stick with us here okay.

Page 2:
Dreams, love, sex, violence. Recap over. Everybody caught up? Good! Let’s dig in.

Page 3:
Here’s a page I’ve had planned in some capacity since we blew Vicki and Vampi up all the way back in the more innocent and simpler times of issue 7. It’s heartbreaking, but it shines a little light on why Vicki did what she did last issue.

Page 4:
Now that the kid has been put to bed, Pantha is ready to be truly vile. I love her eyes in this last panel. They’re the eyes of someone who knows there are far worse things than death to suffer through.

Page 5:
Apologies for the wall of text, but sometimes characters are hanging out alone and feel a need to explain their complex reasoning behind a plot twist that got me one VERY angry series of tweets from a concerned young woman. But hopefully this page sets us straight. Are we cool?

Page 6:
You ever have a really wild night out and then the next morning, you’re absolutely destroyed and your friend who was there with you and matched you drink for drink suddenly seems really chipper? Remember how you wanted to take a hammer to their head and destroy everything they ever held valuable about their character? Not that last part, huh? I guess that’s just me and Pantha then.

Page 7:
The bottom of this page is the single best usage of this bottom of the page text that anyone has ever done. I don’t care what you say. I like to think there is somebody reading this who gets through this whole story, hits the line at the bottom here that’s straight up “There’s a monster at the end of this book” and they absolutely peace out and never finish this comic. I’d be cool with that.

Page 8:
Ain’t Heaven great! Oh, look, the leader of the biker gang from issue 8 is back. I’m sure things are about to go super well for her.

Page 9:
Vicki facing the eternal question: asking herself what Vampirella would do, but failing to ask “and then what would she do immediately after that?” How did you stay alive this long, Vicki? Oh, that’s right, people physically can’t die.

Page 10:
This trip to Heaven is going even better than the one Vampi took! You’re doing great, Vicki.

Page 11:
I love the facial expression on Vampirella in this first panel. This is the look of someone who died and then her day just got worse from there. It’s nice that Pantha’s totally down to offer her a snack, though. She’s a great hostess.

Page 12:
We now pause this vampire comic to bring you this Judy Blume novel already in progress. As for the last line of this page, I now think that about pretty much everything I do. “If Vampirella were here, she would have something witty to say about this.”

Page 13:
So I hadn’t realized just how many images of women falling are in this comic until just now. If that’s your fetish, I guess this issue is for you. If I ever end up in the Devil’s office and he doesn’t have this name placard, I WILL be disappointed. It’s as close to the perfect thing as I’ve ever written.

Page 14:
I’m impressed by just how animalistic Vampirella looks in the art here. It’s really good. Hats off to everybody on the art side of this page.

Page 15:
Hitchcock would be disappointed that I’m only now introducing a box with a light inside! How were we supposed to know what anybody was after before this point.

Page 16:
I’m not going to write anything about this page. It feels like nothing would quite explain it the way seeing it does. Suffice to say, this is basically the pitch for what Vampirella would be doing after this issue if I had the chance to write more. Tracking these suckers down.

Page 17:
So basically just go look up Ma’at and Ammit. This is one of my favorite bits of Egyptian myth and I felt it tied in nicely to the peek we get at Pantha’s origin in issue 10. Obviously, I’d love to do more with all this too. Egyptian mythology is pretty rad.

Page 18:
It gets harder to talk without outright spoilers at this point. Suffice to say, I enjoy this design tremendously. Also, it’s barely touched on here, but the idea that Lucifer built an office that is both magically unable to be found by anyone he doesn’t want in it and ALSO has a door the leads directly to whereever he wants to be is pretty fun. Lucifer, archangel of confusing office buildings.

Page 19:
Sorry, Vicki, there were moppets to be saved.

Page 20:
The idea that Vicki has spent her entire life in a world where God has been literally absent is something I only really considered at this point in the story. It’s pretty bleak.

Page 21:
Hopefully I did right by you, exceptionally upset young woman who dm’d me on twitter. I guess I completely meant to upset you in the moment, but comics come out slow and I totally get why you reacted the way you did. You had every reason to. Also, I want to write something where the logline is “I’ve had worse resurrections.” Just saying.

Page 22:
Awwww. I’m exceptionally proud of this last page. “Vicki, you’re a genius” and then that last line just works for me. Hopefully they do for you too. So, for the moment, this is where I leave you. What’s next, I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good likelihood it will mix things up from where they are now. I know this was a different take on Vampi than what a lot of people might have expected, but for a run I took over in the middle of issue 7, I was really happy with how much of myself I was able to put into it.

Thank you so much to Kevin and Matt for the editorial guidance, to Andy Belanger who launched this story with me, to Rapha Lobosco who helped me take it home, to the amazing Lee Loughridge and Travis Lanham who were with me all the way through, and to the small army of artists who helped us get 9 and 10 out somewhere close to on time. Thanks to Paul Cornell for having the guts to hand it off to me in the middle of an issue. And thanks to Dynamite for taking a shot on putting Vampi in pants and giving her a girlfriend. I know there are several people who have told me how much it meant to them and I’m glad we could do it (the girlfriend, not the pants).

And let me say just one last overly sentimental thing about my relatively small run. When Matt asked me about working on Vampirella, I told him I barely knew anything about her and I would have to do some research and get back to him. Well, obviously I did the research and found something in the character that I loved. She’ll always have a special place in my heart now.

(Last Updated March 23, 2018 12:59 pm )

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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