David Avallone and Dave Acosta have a few things to say about their recently published Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark #2.
DAVID AVALLONE: As always, go read the issue and come back. These things are full of spoilers.
AVALLONE: The usual great collection of covers. A photo cover with the lovely Elvira herself, Joseph Michael Linsner brings the glamor, Robert Hack does a great Poe-esque horror cover, and Craig Cermak reflects the story nicely with Elvira and Poe. My favorite detail on Craig’s cover: the foreground foreshadows the identity of the villain.
Pages 1 – 2:
DAVE ACOSTA: For an artist, drawing a graveyard at night is as good as it gets. The headstones on the graves are the names of comic creators who have wronged me in the past. They know what they did.
AVALLONE: I make Elvira do the recap of issue #1, and she’s not happy about it. Page two is where I realized what I had done to myself by making Poe a character. I reread a few of his stories before I got started, and realized that in order to do him justice I would have to recreate his style every time he opened his mouth… and that was going to take a lot of words.
ACOSTA: What better name for a cemetery than “Wrightson”? My tribute to one of the all-time greatest artists to ever sling a brush.
AVALLONE: One of my favorite things when I was a kid was Mad Magazine, and in particular the way artist Mort Drucker would sneak funny background action in his movie parodies. The distracted husband and angry wife on this page were inspired by Drucker’s work, and Dave did a great job with them. On top of that, as a fan of the original Swamp Thing, I was very happy to see the name of the cemetery when Dave shared the pencils on this page with me.
ACOSTA: Some well placed sound effects in panel 5, courtesy of Taylor Esposito.
AVALLONE: Taylor’s work is always great. I liked having Elvira “say” the sound effect from panel 1. Panel 3 shows my Poe imitation in full, insane bloom.
Pages 5 – 6 :
ACOSTA: A dramatic entrance is always more dramatic when you have other characters reacting to it.
AVALLONE: I love the way Dave drew Poe listening and reacting on the top of page 5.
Pages 7 – 8:
ACOSTA: I put in the spittoon in panel 5 as a nod to a famous scene from the John Wayne classic RIO BRAVO. Poe’s reactions to all the craziness were probably my favorite thing to draw in this issue. A good reactionary mug can really sell a joke.
Page 9 – 10:
AVALLONE: We finally reveal our villain’s identity… not that we were trying too hard to conceal it. Poe pretends to be a scientist here… and he did write at least one book of physics (EUREKA), though some believe he was kidding when he did it. This page, and a few of the following, are particularly heavy with references and quotes from Poe’s work.
ACOSTA: I was really trying hard to do my best Tom Palmer impression with the inks here. (Cheers, Tom!)
AVALLONE: “Second worst Vlad” is the closest we’ve come yet to a political joke in ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have an idea who I think the “Worst Vlad in History” is.
ACOSTA: Now that’s what I call alcohol abuse.
AVALLONE: Christopher Lee reference. It is my hope that, eventually, Elvira will mention the name of every actor who’s ever played Dracula.
Page 13 — 14
AVALLONE: Poe helpfully connects issues one and two for us. Dave does a gorgeous job with foggy 1838 Philadelphia streets. People who want to get inside my head (not recommended) should listen to the soundtrack of THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (the Connery one) while reading this sequence. That’s what I was listening to while I wrote it.
ACOSTA: Love love love the lighting Andrew Covalt used on Elvira’s face in panel one. For panel two, I was trying to make the transformation look like something out of THE HOWLING.
AVALLONE: So Vlad turns into a raven. Why not? Who says he always has to turn into a bat? Dave recommended Andrew Covalt for this job and his work has been stellar. The panel Dave is pointing out almost looks like Dario Argento lighting to me.
ACOSTA: Again, Andrew killed it in the first panel; the shadow of the Raven is just beautiful.
AVALLONE: In a year, that “avocado toast” line will be the most dated thing in the whole comic. It’s probably already dated. Sorry. It made me laugh when I wrote it, three months ago…
Pages 17 — 18
ACOSTA: Pure comics nonsense! Very fun. I had to figure out how Elvira would balance (in heels) on top of the buggy, while cracking the whip. Using Poe’s head as an anchor seemed logical.
AVALLONE: The gaslighting joke was a last minute addition to this page. I couldn’t believe, in 2018, that I was using a gaslight as a plot device and didn’t say anything about it.
AVALLONE: Writing this comic, I try, as much as I possibly can, to write in the style of Cassandra Peterson/Elvira and make the same kinds of jokes she’s been making since she started. Judge me if you must, but I am intensely proud of how wonderful and awful “Stoker? I Hardly Know ‘Er!” is. Tune in next month to learn about Bram Stoker’s not-great marriage, and the inspiration for all those creepy romantic subplots in vampire stories.