The Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade: A Q&A With David Lucarelli

Children's Vampire Hunting BrigadeInspired by true events, writer David Lucarelli has teamed with artists Christopher Matteson and Henry Ponciano to create The Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade, a surreal story that turns into comic books a story that traditionally has been blamed on them.

Confused? Here's the story as Lucarelli tells it:

I got the idea for this mini-series when I read about a real life incident in Glasgow Scotland in which up to 400 kids descended upon the Southern Necropolis cemetery over several nights, some armed with steak knives and pitchforks looking for a vampire with iron teeth they thought had killed a couple of local children. People look upon it now as an incident of mass hysteria. At the time they blamed it on comic books!

So in our comic book, some of the children find what they were looking for and form The Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade. Flash forward to today, Gavin and Doug are two juvenile delinquents who are drinking in the graveyard the night the vampires come back, and unwittingly get caught up in becoming the newest members of the brigade.

So now that they've successfully funded the series on Kickstarter, what do fans have to look forward to? Lucarelli joined to talk about the series. How did you first hear about the event that inspired the comic?

David Lucarelli: I stumbled upon the Gorbals vampire incident on the internet late one night over Christmas vacation in December 2010. I think I first found a link to a BBC radio story about it. Reading about those hundreds of school kids scouring this old Gothic cemetery looking for a vampire sent chills down my spine.

I remember being fascinated by the fact that the youngest child on record who participated was only four years old, and wondering what would make a child of four venture out so bravely to confront the dangerous unknown, and then it occurred to me: he probably had a baby sister to protect! What made you decide to do it in greytones, as opposed to the more typical black and white of most indie comics? Had you considered trying to Kickstart a little extra money to go color?

Lucarelli: I decided to do it in black and white, because I think it adds something to the horror. From the original Universal Classics to Night of the Living Dead to The Walking Dead comic, I think black and white adds a certain intangible element to horror.

If you think about it, color is one of the visual signifiers that we use to make sense of the world, so as soon as you take that away, you've already disoriented your audience in a kind of subtle way, which is half the battle in good horror to begin with. I chose to have my artists work in greytones because I love the added depth it gives to the visuals and the expanded possibilities it affords them to play with the light and the shadows.

Plus, I was a fan of the art style of some of the old Warren horror comic magazines, and they often worked with greytones.

That said, one of my stretch goals that I will now make good on is to produce a full color digital version of issue 1, which I'm excited about. What you lose in the mystery of the black and white, you perhaps gain in the color bringing out some of Henry and Chris' details. One version doesn't negate the other. The art style is very slick and almost commercial; was part of the objective to give it a cinematic look?

Lucarelli: I wanted the book to have a certain degree of realism about it, so that when the elements of the supernatural do appear they have that much more punch to them. I work in film in my day job, so that could have been an unconscious influence in the art direction I gave to my artists. There are a lot of great artists out there who can draw wonderful super-heroes but all of their normal people look the same.

That was very important to me when I was looking for my artists. Can they draw a woman who looks like she lives and breaths and didn't just walk out of a Playboy shoot? Can they draw a couple of 16 year old protagonists, one of whom is a bit overweight, and not make it look like they spend 6 hours a day at the gym?

That said, the art is not entirely realistic, and I that's a good thing. I wasn't trying to make a story board for a live action movie, I was trying to make a great comic book! Now that you've successfully funded, how does it feel to have that element behind us and be focused more on finishing the actual comic?

Lucarelli: Obviously there's a certain amount of relief that we weren't just wasting our backer's time. The actual comic book is completely written, drawn and lettered, all four issues done and in the can. That was very important to me to have that be the case before I even launched the Kickstarter. It's my reputation on the line, and I wanted to be sure I could deliver what I was selling in advance. I wanted to be able to meet and exceed all expectations.

That said, I will be focusing on the mechanics of getting the comics printed, and the merchandise made, and coloring the digital version of the first issue, which I'm actually going to do myself. In addition to being a writer there's a comics colorist inside me that's waiting to come out!

I'm very proud of the support that everyone who's backed us so far on Kickstarter has given us, but now that we've met our initial goal we still have 18 days left to exceed it. I can't wait to share with as many people as possible the adventures of The Children's Vampire Hunting Brigade!