Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vampi we hardly knew ye...

My buddy Davey Z asked me to show the Vampirella samples i did way back in '92 for a proposed series i was to do with Kurt Busiek.

Curt Purcell ( http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/ ) has done a very nice entry on Vampirella in his blog so Davey and he were interested in seeing my take.

Here's all i have from then-forgive the quality of the scans but these were copied way back before i ever had my own computer and scanner.

I was introduced to Harris Comics, who had the license to Vampi back then- my agent had shown them my most current work and they were interested in having me draw their upcoming DRACULA WAR storyline-this was to be a sequel of sorts to the old stories at Warren when Vampi fought the infamous Count.

it was to be written by the then pre MARVELS Kurt Busiek-he hadn't yet made his name in the industry and he and i eventually became good friends (i also became friends with their editor at the time,Richard Howell) Both Richard and Kurt were happy with the idea of me drawing the series and i started by doing some designs-a sort of audition.

The first was my own take on Dracula- unfortunately-for me- they wanted it to more closely follow the version done by Jose Gonzalez (i hope to use this take on Drac-one of many i've done thru the years-very soon)





So then i did their Dracula,with Vampi...



I also drew a few shots of our heroine to get used to the character-so far so good...




I then started on the story-i did about 15 pages of layouts-very loose storytelling-and finished pencils on the 2 page title/credits spread-it was inked and lettered (rather quickly i recall) and i continued my layouts...




...then the worm turned- i was informed thru Richard and Kurt that Harris decided my stuff was "too cartoony" for what they had in mind- not the 1st time this has happened-they wanted more of Jose Gonzalez in the style- this was of course AFTER they had approved my work (I've always felt that the inks had "transformed" my style into something different-which does happen-a different inker may have brought about a whole other result)
- Kurt and Richard were rather pissed about this decision and fought for me-to no avail-i was let go and someone else did the artwork.

Looking back on the experience i made two very close friends for life and got a chance to work on a cool iconic character-for a little while anyway- no regrets...;o)

2 comments:

David Zuzelo said...

Fantastic, thanks very much Neil! I did not realize this was for The Dracula War-which was the first monthly story Harris was doing if I remember it right. Did Kurt script that entire series?

Love the Dracula design and Pendragon looks super cool. The Vampi sketch page is my new wallpaper ;)

Craig Zablo said...

Well, for the record, I like your "cartoony" style! Thanks for sharing this blast from the past.