When I was in Los Angeles, I attended a signing at Meltdown. One of the authors signing at the event was Josh Fialkov, the author of the DC New 52 title I, Vampire. A dark, atmospheric and brutal take on vampires in the DC universe, this series hooked me from the very beginning. So, I looked up Fialkov’s other work (Last of the Greats and Echoes), and decided I wanted to find out a little bit more. Luckily, he had some time to answer my questions, so without further ado…
You are the writer of one of DC Comic’s New 52 titles: I, Vampire. How did you become connected to the project, and what attracted you to this title? What’s it been like to be involved in this reboot?
Editor Matt Idelson approached me at Emerald City Comic Con with the idea of me on the book, and I’d been a fan of the original run, so it was just a great fit. I’ve worked on a lot of vampire lit as an adapter, and on Vampirella for a year or two, but, this was my chance to build something wholecloth, and that was too good an opportunity to pass on.
It’s been terrific to be a part of the relaunch. There’s an amazing group of talent, and great people running the ship, so, it’s been a blast.
I Vampire is one of the lesser-known titles from DC (I must admit to having never heard of it before the list of New 52 titles was released). How would you introduce it to new readers, and can you tell us a little of what is to come?
Vampires in the DCU! What more do you need, right? The idea of the book is that Vampires have been living in hiding, a part of society, and yet totally apart from society. They’re the unseen masses. They’re, ahem, the 99%. And like other oppressed masses, they’re not going to take it anymore. Unfortunately for us, that means it’s time to get eaten.
Coming up we’ve got appearances by John Constantine, Batman, and more beheadings than you can shake a stick at. Right around the corner we’ve got the origin myth of the vampires.
What first drew you to writing comics and graphic novels, and where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
I’m a visual storyteller, and comics allow you a control and a finesse that’s almost impossible to get in any other medium unless you’re a big name auteur. As for my ideas, a lot of it comes from reading, a lot of it comes from watching films and television, and, probably the bulk of it is just from living. Meeting people, hearing stories, all that stuff.
I think writers just process the world differently... I remember moments of joy and sadness through a sort of filmic prism. Almost as if a camera is filming me in action. From there a lot of it is extrapolating the most dynamic and exciting version of the shit that happens to you.
How do you enjoy being involved in the comic book industry? Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
I love the medium. The industry... needs work. We’re standing in a dangerous place, where our audience is moving faster than we’re capable of going. We need to rebuild the whole thing from the ground up if we really want to survive.
As for how I work, I try to just do things I’m passionate about. Taking jobs or working on books you don’t genuinely love is always a way to misery.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
When I was 5 years old, I had a tape recorder and every day at 3pm, I’d start my “afternoon block” of programming. I did four shows, and did them daily, recording over the same tape over and over.
For people who want to read more of your work, could you tell us a little bit about other projects you’ve been involved in?
Right now, I’ve got The Last Of The Greats from Image Comics, which is an on-going series that I co-created with Brent Peeples and the rest of the art team. It’s something we’re all massively passionate about, and I hope people who like I, Vampire check it out.
It’s about a family of superheroes who come to Earth, give us peace and joy and happiness... and we despise them for it. So much so that we kill all but one of them. Well, when alien ships arrive to destroy us, we have to go beg that remaining hero to save our asses.
I’m also working on a graphic novel series with Tony Fleecs over at Oni Press, as well as a new series with my Tumor collaborator Noel Tuazon for Image Comics called Deep Valley.
What’s your opinion of the comic book industry today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I think we have a huge opportunity, delivered by DC to reach more people than we’ve reached in a long time. I feel like my work sits outside of what most people think of as comic books, and serves as a great gateway for new readers.
Who are you reading at the moment (comics, fiction, non-fiction)? And who are your favourite writers and artists?
I’m actually revisiting a lot of Jack Kirby’s work right now. That guy managed to put huge ideas into every single page of his books with no fear what so ever. He was just an amazing force, and those DC Kirby hardcovers are like manna from heaven. I’m also a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. That guy is a badass.
As for non-comics, I live and breathe for Richard Matheson’s work, as well as Kurt Vonnegut’s and Chuck Palahniuk.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not a monster. I mean, sometimes I am, but, most of the time I’m a pussycat.
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
More books! More books! More books!
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Keep checking back every month for reviews on the latest issue of I, Vampire. I’ll also try to get something about Last of the Greats written up in the near future. I’ve read the first issue, and it’s great.