While the vampires of the Marvel Universe don't often cross paths with super heroes, there is one relentless champion they fear -- if they're smart. His name is Blade, but he's also known as the Daywalker. He possesses superhuman strength, rapid healing and has declared war on all vampires who inhabit the Marvel U. That war has spanned decades and it's one he's fought both alone and with the aid of various allies like MI:13 or the Mighty Avengers.
This October, the Daywalker's vendetta against the supernatural becomes a family affair as writer Tim Seeley and artist Logan Faerber kick off an all-new "Blade" ongoing series, where the title character teams with his teenage daughter, a seemingly normal high school student named Fallon Grey.
With the series announced today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, CBR News spoke exclusively with Seeley about his take on the title character, the similarities and differences between new character Fallon and pop culture's most famous female vampire slayer, Buffy Summers, and how the series will pit father and daughter against monsters even more terrifying than vampires.
CBR News: Tim, many readers know you for your work on DC's Bat books like "Batman Eternal" and "Grayson," but fans of your creator-owned books like "Revival" and "Hack/Slash" know one of your first loves is the horror genre. What is it like to pick up Blade, a character who allows you to explore the rich and (these days) seldom visited horror corner of the Marvel Universe? In that same vein, what intrigues you most about Marvel's take on vampires and monsters?
Tim Seeley: [Laughs] it feels like those twelve years of writing teenage girls fighting monsters is finally being recognized. It's like Marvel is saying, "Congratulations on your double PHD in 'Adolescent Female Angst and Monster Stabbery.' Have a job!"
As far as the Marvel Horror Universe goes, I'm really trying to delve into the vibe of the '70s Marvel Monster magazines -- updating and tweaking that sleazy/sinister/sexy feel they had for a modern comics audience. When I was a kid, my dad would give me his old copies of "Haunt of Horror" and "Satana," and I would hide them under my bed. But then I was afraid to have them under the bed because I thought maybe the creatures would come alive and crawl out of the books. That's some good fear, man!
My goal is to make the monsters scary again -- the way they were to me then. I think, too often with modern horror the reader knows too many of the "rules" and that makes vampires and zombies less frightening. Blade is going against stuff he's never seen before, and I want the reader to be afraid to hide this under their beds.
Let's talk a little bit about your protagonist. Blade has has had his own title on a number of different occasions. What's your take him on for this series? Which aspects of his personality are you especially interested in exploring?
Blade to me has always been a guy with a single minded goal. Kill vampires. That's it. He wants revenge, and lots of it. But, after 50 or so years of revenge, he's starting to lose his edge. He's starting to forget why he hates vampires so much. Why he hates himself so much. And he's starting to wonder if there's more to "life" than what's he's been doing. So I'm picking up on what I always found frustrating about the character, and using it to go in a new direction. He's a half-vampire who can "walk in the day," but hasn't spent much time actually enjoying the sunshine.
While I understand Blade's name may be on the title, this won't be
his book alone. He'll be partnered with his long lost daughter, 16 year-old Fallon Grey, who is a new character being introduced in this series. What can you tell us about Fallon when we first meet her? One of the obvious comparisons readers might make is to Buffy Summers, but is that fair to you or the character?
Well, as much as I had to deal with "Buffy" comparisons on "Hack/Slash," I've still managed to avoid watching that show. So, while I think "high school girl fights monsters" will always invite "Buffy" comparisons, I'd like to think my blissful ignorance will at least keep me from hewing too close to Joss Whedon's work. Though, after seeing "Cabin In the Woods," it became clear to me he and I come from creepily similar influences.
My take on Fallon is that she's an "anti-Peter Parker." She's popular, well liked, and everyone around her thinks she has the future by the balls. But those kind of
expectations come with their own stresses, and part of Fallon's story will be dealing with what people expect her to be.
What can you tell us about the initial dynamic between father and daughter? What kind of adventures will they initially become embroiled in?
Initially, their relationship is all about what they share -- a stubborn refusal to change or see new viewpoints. They'll be completely and totally antagonistic, and the fun will be in seeing whether a guy like Blade can become a father, and whether a girl like Fallon can become a student and a daughter.
Relative newcomer Logan Faerber is bringing "Blade" to life, and I wasn't all that familiar with his work, but what I've seen suggests he has a very unique style with an animated vibe, but also a wonderful sense of character and strangeness to it.
Logan drew the excellent "Oh, Killstrike" for BOOM!, so I was familiar with his work. [Editor] Katie Kubert and I came up with a list of artists between us, and then we batted them around until we felt like we had the perfect fit. Logan was Katie's pick, and her track record as the editor who wanted to "girls" up "Batgirl," and make "Grayson" into a "sexy spy" meant I wasn't going to argue with her.
Having Logan on the book means we don't look or feel like any incarnation of "Blade" before this. We're coming into this fresh, and unique, and we're purposefully moving away from the '90s movie look he and his books have had for the past 20 years. He's also great at drawing expressions and character acting which is really important in this book, not to mention that his monsters look weird as hell. It also helps that he's a fellow Chicagoan, so he and I can get beers and talk out the stories!
Finally, what kind of adversaries will Blade and Fallon cross paths with? Is "Blade" a book where Dracula and the Vampire Nation will be the primary antagonists or will you be diving deeper into what you referred to earlier as the "Marvel Horror Universe"?
My goal was to avoid vampires altogether, so we're moving Blade away from fighting yet another clan of vampires or Deacon Frost or anyone with tribal tattoos. Blade is going up against an enclave of monster biologists called Black Genus, and it's going to get really horrific and really fun really quick up in here.
We really wanted this book to have a strong female voice to balance out and also clash with the six and a half feet of testosterone and rage that is Blade, so this story and Fallon in particular are very much a collaboration between Katie Kubert and I. I think we've got something that combines the feel of Marvel Horror, with a punk/goth version of "Ms. Marvel" or "Batgirl."
"Blade" #1 is scheduled for release in October from Marvel Comics.