Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the recent announcement that Titan Comics will publish your comic book series, Bloodthirsty! Given that Issue #1 will soon be available for pre-order in the August PREVIEWS catalog, how would you describe its premise to new readers?
Mark Landry: Thank you! I think this is the right story for this time in our world. With former Coast Guard rescue swimmer Virgil LaFleur, Bloodthirsty: One Nation Under Water gives us a working-class hero in a corrupt, post-Katrina New Orleans. The story also introduces us to a new class of villains for today’s world: blood-sucking, plutocratic hemovores who feed off the blood of the city’s poor. I think of them as the non-supernatural, biologically plausible, and socially relevant version of vampires. Virgil has to overcome some incredibly formidable odds if he’s going to be able to stop the hemovores’ plan before category 5 Hurricane Rose strikes the city.
BD: What inspired you to develop this series, and are there any other creators or projects that have influenced your work?
ML: I grew up in Louisiana, so like most good Cajuns, I have a deep connection and empathy for the people and the culture there (and OMG the food). It was heartbreaking to see the devastating destruction brought about by the back-to-back storms of Katrina and Rita in 2005, and I wanted to channel that frustration and despair into a story that might at least lift my own spirit. I think the two main creators that have most influenced the way I think about comics have been Alan Moore with V for Vendetta and Frank Miller with The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. At its best, I hope Bloodthirsty will at least savor of the fearless, satirical notes that these two masters have brought to the medium.
BD: You have an incredible creative team involved with the series, including artist Ashley Marie Witter (Interview with the Vampire) and game designer and illustrator John Petersen. How would you describe the creative process of Bloodthirsty in collaborating with these creators?
ML: Both Ashley and John work very independently, and I tend to provide plenty of detail in the scripts, as well as preliminary thumbnails. So, by the time either Ashley or John would receive the script and thumbsnails, they were free to process what I had given them, and then add or subtract whatever they felt would enhance the baseline plan. I just tried to mostly stay out of their way as they delivered fantastic work. I couldn’t be happier with the ways in which these two very talented artists have taken the material and interpreted it visually. They really brought the story to life, and I couldn’t be happier.
BD: Do you have a certain number of issues in mind for the series, or will this be an ongoing project with Titan?
ML: This first arc is set for five issues, with Issue #1 being oversized. In all, I believe this arc will end up approaching about 129 pages of story. Of course, I would love for Virgil LaFleur’s adventures to continue. I’ve got ideas. We’ll just have to see if the fan demand is there for more stories. I have a feeling there would be; there’s certainly plenty of injustice in the world for Virgil to take on, and I’ve very much enjoyed working with the team at Titan. It would be fantastic to continue working with them.
BD: The first issue of Bloodthirsty will feature not one, but two incredible covers! What can you share about the creators behind these stunning covers?
ML: I can’t even believe how lucky we were to get not only Ashley to fit in a cover, but also the insanely talented Nick Runge. I’ve been a fan of his covers and posters for years, and I’m just so fortunate that he responded to this story enough to conceive of and create such an amazing painting for it. His cover feels to me like a storytelling piece by one of the great masters, and it could easily hang in a gallery. I look forward to seeing more of his fine art pieces as he continues in his career. Readers can look forward to some other surprise guest artists for future covers, as well.
BD: Would you recommend Bloodthirsty to fans of a particular genre or project?
ML: I think people who like passionate dramas with relevant themes will resonate with Bloodthirsty. You’ll see elements of Batman: Year One and V for Vendetta in the series, for sure. Anyone who likes the social metaphors that zombies or vampires can evoke will have come to the right place, as well. On another level, fans of any good, old-fashioned revenge thriller should give Virgil LaFleur a look. He’s like a non-wealthy, super green, but very pissed off caped crusader.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with our readers?
ML: I’m currently co-writing a few stories with various collaborators – none of which I’m able to discuss at the moment – and also planning to write and draw a one-shot, just for fun. My hope is that fans demand more Bloodthirsty, as the plot for the next arc is very swiftly cooking.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about (and pre-order!) Bloodthirsty?
ML: The best thing readers can do is to ask their local comic shop to carry it! I think the shops have to order Issue #1 from Diamond by mid-to-late August in order to receive it by September 30th, so time is running out to ensure you get the first printing. Call or visit your comic shop today and ask for it by name. It will also be available through ComiXology, if you prefer to read comics electronically. Check for news and updates on www.bloodthirstycomic.com, or on our Facebook page, which you can reach via the website.