The Dynamite Report #1: Time To DIE!namite!
Welcome to The Dynamite Report, a new column here at SuperHeroHype spotlighting the latest comics from Dynamite Entertainment.
It can’t be easy to take characters that have been around for decades and push them in bold new directions. But this week, Dynamite rolled the dice by bringing a few of them together for its new DIE!namite crossover event series, which pits these heroes against flesh-eating zombies. This book arrives at the end of a year that has also seen successful runs with Vampirella, Elvira, and Red Sonja, all of whom have new titles hitting stores this week as well.
For our first column, Dynamite executive editor Joseph Rybandt answered some of our burning questions about this week’s books. Enjoy!
What was the genesis of DIE!namite? Specifically, whose idea was it to bring Vampirella, Red Sonja, John Carter, and the rest of the Dynamite heroes together again?
The idea of the series was pitched to us by a freelance editor, Nate Cosby. Nate’s been working with us very closely for many years and pitches ideas frequently. Zombies never seem to go out of style, and the response to putting the Dynamite heroes into a zombie setting has been significant (so why didn’t we do it sooner!). We had a bit of a creative shuffle, but came out the other side stronger and in better shape to fight the undead. Fred Van Lente took over the project and with a bit of a character shuffle, we got it out the door last week and heading to shops. Numbers were BIG (thank you comic retailers and fans) and we think our fans, comics fans, and horror fans are gonna dig it. It’s not at all what you’d expect, that’s for sure…
Which characters should readers keep their eyes on in DIE!namite?
I mentioned the character shuffle, and I’d say, Vampirella’s appearance is unlike anything you’ve seen from her recently (if at all) and Peter Cannon makes a move onto the stage in ways which will thrill, shock and delight?
There’s a new Elvira trade paperback out this week. Has it been difficult to match Elvira’s voice and personality in the comics?
We have been SO fortunate to work with a writer like David Avallone on our Elvira books because – and this is cliché, but there’s truth in cliché – he gets it. No matter what I’ve thrown at him, he gets it and tees it up and knocks it out of the park. He is a one-of-a-kind and I think that’s more to do with his background than anyone else I’ve worked with (his dad was a novelist and writer in the glory days of true pulp fiction), and yet he is modern and funny and on point. Elvira is understandably particular about her brand and understandably vocal when something is not working. We have not had that issue with David and the two enjoy a great working relationship (so great they’re writing a comic together currently on Kickstarter).
What’s it been like to see Elvira in Hell for a change?
Having spent so much time working with a character like Ash from the Army of Darkness, working with Elvira is similar. Only you get to throw a knowing wink at the audience because it’s part of her thing. She works in any setting…like this Kickstarter comic, she’s facing the end of the world (like we all feel we are these days!)!
You’ve also launched a new Kickstarter for Elvira: The Omega Ma’am with Cassandra Peterson co-writing the book. How did you recruit Cassandra for that?
Well, look at that… I spent the last two questions plugging this and here’s a spot for it on its own! Truth be told, wasn’t hard at all, pitched her the idea and the platform. She was open to both. There’s been a real shift in how crowd-funding is viewed these days, and it’s a whole new market. We like to explore options that give us access to new readers and take a risk on project we normally might not try in more traditional venues. This fit that.
Tell us about Lucio Parrillo’s upcoming art book. How long has this been in the works and why was it important to release it now?
We have been working with Lucio for over 10 years? Close to it if not exact. Over that time, he’s grown incredibly popular in the U.S. market and we had a TON of beautiful art from the length of that relationship. It’s still ongoing to this day, I think he does about 5 covers a month for us! As to the timing, seemed right in terms of the overall awareness of him and his work, and, as I mentioned, we had enough art to fill a book! When approaching these, you want to include as much as you can, make it a robust, comprehensive look at the subject. We had that type of material with Lucio…
We’ve noticed that Killing Red Sonja #4 barely features Red Sonja at all. Has that been a challenge when crafting the issue?
You noticed! Yeah, this is probably the most experimental Red Sonja series we’ve done. BUT, Mark Russell has proven to be an incredible writer when it comes to Red Sonja. His series is like no other iteration and this piece is very important to what’s going on in the main title. There is an entire chunk of story and time missing from his run that is told here in this mini, the way mini’s used to be set up — integral and important. It also works on its own, which is important. It was a very particular set of circumstances that put this all together. And I hope readers (and critics!) appreciate and take notice.
Vampirella #14 marks the conclusion of the “Seduction of the Innocent” storyline just in time for the conclusion of Vampirella’s 50th anniversary celebration. How has the past year changed Vampirella?
Priest has set us on a course unlike any other Vampirella writer. We knew that going in for sure. But it all seems so natural and effortless and that’s the real mark of a genius. The way everything has built to allow Vampirella’s course to go in this direction – and allow for the spinoff Sacred Six to take flight – is a master class in graphic storytelling. Combined with the art choices made, there is no book like it on the stands. Years ago, when we first relaunched Red Sonja, there was a lot of skepticism because of the characters’ visuals and there was a lot of dismissal. Vampirella has suffered that as well, over the course of her history. But throw out your preconceptions if they do exist, because this is thoughtful, reward fiction… featuring a space vampire.
What can you tell us about Vampirella’s future? And what does Priest have in mind for his next story?
We have a Vampirella one-shot in February. While not written by Priest, [it] will feature a set-up for what Priest (and company) will be doing alongside the main series. And again, it will be unlike anything you’ve seen with the character to date. I can say no more…
You can check out previews of this week’s Dynamite comics in the gallery below. Which books are you most excited to read? Let us know in the comment section!
Recommended Reading: Red Sonja Omnibus Vol. 1