Writer’s Commentary – Erik Burnham Talks the Savage Tales: Vampirella One-Shot

Posted by May 9, 2018 Comment

Dynamite has sent us a new writer’s commentary by Erik Burnham for the new Savage Tales: Vampirella one-shot that has a cover by Robert Hack and interiors by Anthony Marques.

* * * * *

Welcome to Savage Tales. Erik Burnham here; I wrote the Vampirella feature for this two-fer you’ve checked out (or should have, if you’re reading a commentary feature).

Joining me and Vampi on art are Anthony Marques, J. Bone, Fernando Ruiz, and Daniel HDR — with colors by Mohan and with Tom Napolitano on letters.

(The second feature, Valaka, was produced by Doug Murray, Lui Antonio, Inlight Studio, and Simon Bowland, shout out to them!)

I was asked in January if I could write up a short story about Vampi in a barbarian-like world. The character would remain the same, the world would be different. That’s all I was given to go on, and I ran with it — well, at least as far as I could in 20 pages.

And now, Vampirella.

PAGE 1:
We start with Vampi fighting a group of bloodthirsty barbarians. They somehow became Vikings in the desert; that’s weird. And yet, at the same time, I like it.

This is also the first time I noticed that tooth being smacked outta the mouth of the dude in the foreground, so I’m wondering what else I’ll be surprised with…!

PAGE 3:

In the script, I had asked for a different effect — a silhouette of Vampi, glowing eyes, and a spirally kind of background behind her. Instead, I got this: Vampi doing the Batusi. And you know what? I like it better.

PAGE 5:

Here’s where we throw in the first bit of Savage into this Savage Tale — Vampirella’s arm getting cleaved off by a sword! It wasn’t even in the initial outline. It just sort of happened while scripting.

(Sorry, Vampi!)

PAGE 6:

This decision to go first person, violent, or Sam Raimi-ish, was ALL on Anthony Marques.  A complete moment of inspiration on his part, and I see that the bald dude got to eject a few more teeth as well. It’s easy to miss, given the eyes. Oof.

PAGES 7-8:

Here’s our exposition. (I almost wrote “explosition” there, and the typo gave me some ideas… look at me, coining words in the middle of a commentary.) 

PAGE 9:

Vampirella with bat wings! Such a great image. It leads me to cop to something….

PAGE 10:

Where’d her wings go? The real answer is that it’s a hiccup of another artist helping out during a deadline crunch — and not seeing the script page about the wings — but I’m totally open to any no-prize explanations.

PAGE 11:

Look at this market. We have Vikings, we have deserts, we have something that looks vaguely dark ages European… and I love it. It’s a hodgepodge of fantasy!

Side note: Vampirella in the cloak in panel 2 really reminds me of someone and I can’t place who. This will bother me for the remainder of this commentary, at the very least.

PAGE 12:

I had to give Vampi a reason to care about what happens to this little city, and the child was a cheap in. I admit it. Don’t @ me.

PAGE 13:

HOW ABOUT THAT KIRBY STYLE BEAST? Not something I asked for, but having seen it, I wish I’d not only asked, but had room for an extended sequence with the thing.

PAGE 14:

And now, a nice creepy moment of everyone being possessed. I love how it turned out.

Also, I just noticed that a quarter of the book has featured Vampirella in a cloak, and I find that funny.

PAGE 15:

Meet our bad guy, ANKIMU! His name is a rework of a misspelling of a type of middle eastern vampire legend. Wrap your minds around THAT.

PAGE 16:

Panel four does a great job of showing off super speed in a vampire book, I think, and that’s all I have to say about that.

PAGES 17-19:

A nice little battle with a snake man. The image of Vampi palming a severed head like a basketball on page 19 really makes me chuckle.

PAGE 20:

And there we go. Since it’s an “imaginary” story, ending with Vampi as the new queen and protector of this realm seemed like the right place to go, so… well, that’s what we did.

As far as you know, she’ll spend the next century or two in charge of these people and never find out more about leaving. It’s an interesting The End for a version of Vampirella, I think. And now we’re done! Thanks for joining me; hope you dug the story!

(Last Updated May 9, 2018 2:52 pm )

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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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