Cartoonist Katie Skellys My Pretty Vampire is a racy horror ride, an affectionate nod to exploitation films that plays knowingly with its confining genre conventions. My Pretty Vampires protagonist is Clover, a teen vampire, hidden away from the world by her brother. Is he protecting her from wooden stakes, or does he harbor more sinister reasons?
Escaping his clutches, Clover goes on a sexy, bloody escapade through the outside world. Skellys publisher, Fantagraphics, describes the results as havoc [that] would make Dario Argento proud.
RELATED: Bad girls, good comic: Katie Skellys Operation Margarine
With the 108-page hardcover graphic novel on sale this week, CBR discussed with Skelly the roots of My Pretty Vampire in both comics and film, as well as the inescapable connection between horror comics and sex.
CBR: Katie, where is Clover when readers open to the first page?
Katie Skelly: Clover is wrestling with a dream shes having. Its within a psychic space in the plastic castle where shes being kept by her brother.
She breaks out on her own, but shes not quite ready for the world outside, is she? Does she have any expectation for what shell encounter?
Well, Clover did have a life before she was a vampire, but she was only a teenager so she doesnt have a whole lot of experience in the world. It leads her to some dangerous places.
The artwork is very loose and cartoony, cute even. Was that a deliberate choice to offset the horror of Clover giving in to her bloodlust?
Definitely. Ive always drawn in sort of a cute style, and in my last two projects I explored how that style interacted with darker subject matter. For My Pretty Vampire I decided to try that against gore and horror. Im really happy with the result.
My Pretty Vampire is your first color comic. How did that change your approach to the artwork and storytelling?
I realized I could use color to really heighten the mood of the story, and so as I wrote it, the story got grislier and more melodramatic. It felt really freeing to move away from black and white. This is probably the most baroque thing Ive done so far.
The block coloring approach you employ used to be the comic industry standard, but is rarely seen anymore. How did you settle on that approach? And how did you decide on the bright color palette, which adds great visual punch to the pages, for a horror book?
That started with looking at one of my favorite comics, Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest, and working to understand how his spot-coloring worked and reconstructing it for my own purposes. Im very much a color-in-the-lines person too; my colors dont really stray outside of their objects. So after some experimentation I figured out that I could still spot color, even if the comic was full color. You see it more in film, I think, especially in films like Suspiria, which was a huge inspiration on this comic in terms of style. I was really hoping for the same super-saturated, almost grotesque effect of overwhelming color.
My Pretty Vampire is a very racy, sex-charged book, but there arent many positive relationships in it and the few people that might possibly be in one wind up snack food for Clover. What does the horror genre have against physical relationships?
Horror comes from fear of the unknowable and what cant be controlled, and what could be more unknowable than love and lust? Its why virgins make it to the final girl stage in slashers and survive. Sex typically marks women for death in horror. I wanted to tap into that paranoia a little bit, but twist the ending to a less binary result.
What about your influences for My Pretty Vampire theres some exploitation cinema, some horror, but you also imbue it with a surprising sweetness. Can you recognize specific influences in this book?
I binge-watched films by the French director Jean Rollin and the Spanish director Jess Franco, particularly their female vampire films from the 1970s. Theyre really surreal and sexy. No one else ever approached the subject like they did, I think. They worked some pornographic elements in, but they always found these weird, awkward and poetic moments as well. I also also got very into the Italian artist Guido Crepaxs horror comics, and some creepier manga than I usually read, like Cat-Eyed Boy.
Youve previously worked with publishers Adhouse Books (Operation Margarine) and Sparkplug Books (Nurse Nurse). How did you hook up with Fantagraphics for My Pretty Vampire? Did the working relationship change in the shift to a (slightly) larger publisher?
Im really grateful to be working with Fantagraphics it was my dream for years! The majority of comics Ive read that helped shape my idea of what comics could were published by Fanta, and so it feels like closing a nice circle to be with them now. I worked primarily with Eric Reynolds, who gave me lots of space and support to make the work I wanted to make. Even though theyre bigger than the other companies Ive worked for, it still felt just as comfortable and intimate as my previous experiences.
Whats next for you?
Im writing out a bunch of ideas at the moment. I keep shifting my focus to westerns because Ive found I really like writing these bloodier stories now. And a couple other dirtier, nastier things are coming together too. So just more comics all the time!
My Pretty Vampire is available now from Fantagraphics.
- Vampire - Monsters - D&D Beyond - January 9th, 2019
- Vampire | Vampire Knight Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia - November 13th, 2018
- Vampire | Warhammer Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia - November 10th, 2018
- The Sun for the Vampire - Play it now at Coolmath-Games.com - November 10th, 2018
- The Vampire (1957) - IMDb - November 2nd, 2018
- The 50 Best Vampire Movies of All Time - CRAVE - October 31st, 2018
- Vampire - MTG Wiki - October 5th, 2018
- Vampire Rave is for Real Vampires - September 24th, 2018
- Caroline Forbes | The Vampire Diaries Wiki | FANDOM ... - September 18th, 2018
- Spike | Buffyverse Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia - September 18th, 2018
- Welcome - Camping Vampire Bran - September 7th, 2018
- Vampire (WOD) | White Wolf | FANDOM powered by Wikia - August 13th, 2018
- Vampire films - Wikipedia - August 2nd, 2018
- Clan | Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines Wiki | FANDOM ... - July 30th, 2018
- Vampire | Charmed | FANDOM powered by Wikia - July 5th, 2018
- Vampire Facelift | Reviews - June 29th, 2018
- Vampire | D&D 5th Edition on Roll20 Compendium - June 18th, 2018
- Real / Living Vampire Glossary of Terminology - HuffPost - September 7th, 2017
- Twilight vampire sheds his heartthrob image - Helena Independent Record - September 7th, 2017
- 'Vampire Diaries' actor Michael Malarkey debuts haunting new album, 'Mongrels'exclusive - Alternative Press - September 7th, 2017
- Are vampires real, do they really drink human blood and how many ... - The Sun - September 7th, 2017
- New Genetic Discovery Explains The Skin-Blistering 'Vampire' Disease - ScienceAlert - September 7th, 2017
- Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig is apparently making an anime for ... - AV Club - September 6th, 2017
- Ex-Vampire Weekender Rostam Batmanglij Finds Fresh Ways to Subvert Pop - L.A. Weekly - September 6th, 2017
- Rostam Finds His Own Voice On The Tender New Single 'Half-Light' - UPROXX - September 6th, 2017
- Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig announces an anime series for Netflix - The Daily Dot - September 6th, 2017
- Vampire - Manga - MyAnimeList.net - September 6th, 2017
- Joe Arpaio is a vampire that feeds on Mexicans (AKA Tlahuelpuchi) - Oaklandpostonline - September 6th, 2017
- A homeless wannabe vampire ripped off a pigeon's head and chugged its blood - Rare.us - September 2nd, 2017
- Nina Dobrev Spreads Positive Messages About Beauty On Social ... - moviepilot.com - September 2nd, 2017
- A break from the usual bloodsuckers - Harvard Gazette - September 2nd, 2017
- The Vampire Diaries' Penelope Mitchell Joins Hellboy Reboot - Dread Central - September 1st, 2017
- Harvard Film Archive to host vampire movie marathon over Labor Day weekend - The Boston Globe - September 1st, 2017
- Chosen One of the Day: the mullets of The Lost Boys - SYFY WIRE (blog) - August 31st, 2017
- Homeless man claiming to be vampire rips pigeon's head off, drinks blood in Bryant Park - New York Daily News - August 31st, 2017
- Vampire Weekend's Former Mastermind Rostam Batmanglij is Flying Solo - Out Magazine - August 31st, 2017
- Maniac beheads pigeons, drinks their blood in crowded park - New York Post - August 31st, 2017
- Hellboy Reboot Casts Vampire Diaries Alum Penelope Mitchell - CBR (blog) - August 31st, 2017
- Hellboy adds The Vampire Diaries actress Penelope Mitchell - Yahoo Movies UK - August 31st, 2017
- Como jugar blackjack en casa - Vampire weekend casino de paris - Forward Florida - August 30th, 2017
- 'Vampire Diaries' star Nina Dobrev gets candid on going makeup-free, current politic climate: 'It scares me' - Fox News - August 28th, 2017
- Is Darren Aronofsky's 'mother!' a Vampire Movie? - Bloody Disgusting - August 26th, 2017
- Star Trek Writers to Adapt A People's History of the Vampire Uprising - Den of Geek US - August 24th, 2017
- Chosen One of the Day: the many, many pants of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - SYFY WIRE (blog) - August 24th, 2017
- Nina Dobrev Just Had A Low-Key "Vampire Diaries" Reunion - TeenVogue.com - August 24th, 2017
- This New Podcast About Melbourne's Vampire Gigolo Murder Will Make You Question Everything - Triple M - August 24th, 2017
- My Pretty Vampire's Cartoonish Violence - The Portland Mercury - August 24th, 2017
- "Vampire Princess Miyu" Character Designer's Lithograph Exhibition Coming This Fall - Crunchyroll News - August 24th, 2017
- Matthew Goode to Play Lead Vampire in 'A Discovery of Witches' - Anglophenia - August 24th, 2017
- JD Payne & Patrick McKay Bite Into Fox & 21 Laps' 'A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising' - Deadline - August 22nd, 2017
- Suck city: Movie brings old vampire to New York Brooklyn Daily - Brooklyn Daily - August 22nd, 2017
- Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder gushes over wife Nikki after giving birth - Her.ie - August 22nd, 2017
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer Creator Joss Whedon's Ex-Wife Blasts Him For Cheating Throughout Their 16-Year Marriage - Bravo (blog) - August 22nd, 2017
- Marshfield 'vampire killer' loses suit against Parole Board - The Patriot Ledger - August 20th, 2017
- University's vampire expert faces employment tribunal after 'he tasted a female student's blood' - The Sun - August 20th, 2017
- New 'Firefly,' 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Collectible Box Sets Announced - Geeks of Doom - August 19th, 2017
- Nina Dobrev explains why she left 'Vampire Diaries' - ABC News - August 17th, 2017
- 'Carmilla' Takes a Bite Out of Period Vampire Lore - Bloody Disgusting - August 17th, 2017
- Kate Beckinsale not a vampire this time (but, oh, those leather pants) - Sentinel & Enterprise - August 17th, 2017
- Vampire Vs. Climate Change Deniers Dark Fang - Comics Beat - August 17th, 2017
- 'The Vampire Diaries' new spinoff series now in talks, The CW president reveals - Blasting News - August 17th, 2017
- [Review Repost] Michael O'Shea's 'The Transfiguration' is a Refreshing and Moving Vampire Tale - Bloody Disgusting - August 16th, 2017
- A Vampire's Fight Against Global Warming & Oil Industry In IMAGE's DARK FANG - Newsarama - August 16th, 2017
- The Vampire Diaries boss to direct episode of Riverdale - EW.com (blog) - August 14th, 2017
- Vampire Comedy 'Bite Me': A Love Song to the Weirdos - IndieWire - August 13th, 2017
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon and brunch happening in Glasgow tomorrow - Glasgow Live - August 13th, 2017
- The Vampire Diaries actor Ian Somerhalder and wife Nikki Reed blessed with a baby girl - India Today - August 11th, 2017
- 'The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder & Nikki Reed enjoy new daughter privately - Blasting News - August 11th, 2017
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 25: Where Is the Cast Now? - Parade - August 11th, 2017
- FREE VAMPIRE XXX VIDEOS & VAMP SEX TUBE MOVIES - August 11th, 2017
- James Marsters explains why 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is this generation's 'Star Trek' - Metro US - August 10th, 2017
- Demon Hunter Sounds Like Vampire Hunter DWith Some Caveats - Dread Central - August 10th, 2017
- Fox retooling high-concept vampire pilot The Passage for Fall 2018 - SYFY WIRE (blog) - August 10th, 2017
- Sorry Fellas, But 'Vampire Diaries' Star Nina Dobrev Is Dating Someone and He's Super Cute! - Life & Style Weekly - August 8th, 2017
- Rostam Talks 'Launching a Whole Universe' With New Solo LP - RollingStone.com - August 8th, 2017
- Broken hand and dislocated elbow puts paid to The Vampire's MMA Bantamweight title bid - New Straits Times Online - August 6th, 2017
- First Look at Vampire Comedy Vidar the Vampire - Dread Central - August 4th, 2017
- Vampire Diaries Fans Are Getting ANOTHER Spin-Off - Hit 107 - August 4th, 2017
- 5 things to know, and when you can visit Vampire Penguin in Granite Bay - Sacramento Business Journal - August 4th, 2017
- 'The Lost Boys,' Found: How a Teen Vampire Movie Rose From the Dead To Become a Cult Classic - Decider - August 3rd, 2017
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero