By William Pace
The new masters of macabre are sinking their fangs into your jugular and draining you dry! Writer Paul Cornell & artist Andy Belanger have stormed the castle and taken over the kingdom, bringing you on a journey to the center of Vampirella’s mind–no easy task, I must say. As a long time Vampirella fan and an admirer of Andy Belanger’s artistic stylings (and one of his many Facebook stalkers…I mean followers) I was thrilled to interview Vampirella’s new artist about the run at Dynamite Entertainment. We talked Vampirella, where she is and where she’s going, Southern Cross,Wrestling, and so much more.
PHP: So Andy how long have you been doing comics now?
Andy: Started when I was four drawing my own comics. It was all I wanted to do all through high school and college. Dave Sims was a big influence and he had a comic shop in my town. Every year I would ask to go to his studio and he’d always say no, in a nice way. Guess he didn’t want my chocolatey fingers on the art. Later when I got a little older I was introduced to him at a show. He was like so you’re…”Yes the kid with the chocolatey fingers.”
PHP: What and where was your first professional work in the industry?
Andy: Friday the 13th for Wildstorm.
PHP: So I understand Fangoria has been your favorite magazine since you were eight years old and a while back you got interviewed by them. What was going through your mind during that and was it your eight year old voice?
Andy: Yes! I lost my mind! It was so cool. It was actually towards the end of the run of the magazine so I’m not sure if it ever got into print. I’ll have to track down the last few issues of the magazine. I always buy Fangoria & Heavy Metal when I’m at shows. I have a stack of Heavy Metal next to me right now.
PHP: Me too! I know you’re a huge Heavy Metal fan too and have been in that iconic publication many times too.
PHP: Do you remember the first comic book you bought as a kid?
Andy: A run of Creature Commandos.
PHP: Was that your favorite book?
Andy: Yes, then I bought all the horror comics I could. Conan: Savage Sword by John Buscema. I’m such a fan of his. Loved his Frankenstein stuff.
PHP: Who were your favorite artists growing up?
Andy: John Buscema, Neal Adams’ Batman stuff, Jack Davis, Mobius.
PHP: Who are some of your favorite artists today?
Andy: Cary Nord, Ben Mara,Olivier Coipel, Alexis Ziritt, Trad Moore, Lewis Larosa, Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan, and Sara Pichelli.
PHP:What are your must-read comics?
Andy: Saga, Punisher, Thor because Jason Aaron, older stuff like Akira, Lone Wolf & Cub, and Forever People.
PHP: You’ve been with Image for a while now huh?
Andy: Three years now currently. I do just about six issues a year, Southern Cross and some other projects, but I also do covers for them too.
PHP: We have to talk about your book Southern Cross. I love it. How would you describe it to someone who’s not familiar with it?
Andy: We just released Issue 13 and we’re going to 18. It’s space horror in the feel of the old Hammer Films, the Overlook Hotel from The Shining on a space cruiser and the ship is the main character.
PHP: Any other current projects at Image that you’re doing that we can keep an eye out for?
Andy: A bunch of different possible projects, a wrestling comic maybe like TMNT meets the WWE but in space.
PHP: So like the “Main Event” on the Southern Cross?
Andy: I like it. That’s a great idea!
PHP: Tell us about the Joe Shuster Awards?
Andy: I was nominated for Southern Cross last year, but I didn’t win. It was still cool to be nominated. Steve Skroce won for We Stand Guard. I’m happy for him. It’s a great book.
PHP: Currently you’re working on a Vampirella arc. How did that come about?
Andy: They were talking about possibly doing something with Barbarella and then I did some Turok covers. Then they gave me the script for Vampirella and I was in.
PHP: Is this a character you’ve wanted to draw for some time now?
Andy: It was something I loved as a kid so I was in.
PHP: How many issues in the arc are you doing?
Andy: It’s a seven-issue run. The next arc is four issues and was described to me as Mad Max meets Vampirella.
PHP: You get a lot of your inspiration from music and film right?
Andy: Totally. I listen to a lot of older Metallica. I’m into metal and I draw inspiration from movies like Conan and I love the old Hammer horror films–just everything really.
PHP: Yes, I saw the video of you talking about Kill Shakespeare.
PHP: Was there past experiences you drew from while drawing Vampirella?
Andy: Think about the old Tomb of Dracula but have come into my own style now doing some epic grand scenes.
PHP: Did you read Vampirella back in the day in the old magazines?
Andy: Yes I collected them as a kid. Anything horror I tried to get.
PHP: I’m digging the look on this arc. Has an old school gothic feel. Is that what you were going for?
Andy: Yes in number 6 very much so.
PHP: Seems like a Vampirella “Journey to the Center of my Mind.”
Andy: Oh yeah very much so.
PHP: I know you drew a variant cover for issue 7. Did you do any other covers for this run?
Andy: No just 7 so far.
PHP: I know you do lots of conventions. How’s the overall feedback been?
Andy: People love it. They’re freaking out that I’m doing it.
PHP: Are there any other Dynamite titles you’d like to work on?
Andy: Vampirella is the one currently for me in their stable.
PHP: Now I know you’re a huge wrestling fan. Have you done any artwork for any of the WWE titles?
Andy: I’ve done a bunch of their two-page stories centered on a certain character and quite a few covers.
PHP: Tell us about the piece you did for DMC at NYCC a few years back. How’d that come about?
Andy: I was sharing a booth with him hanging out with him and his wife all weekend listening to his music, and he asked me to do this so I did it. He’s such a nice guy. This was just when I had finished Kill Shakespeare and just before Southern Cross started.
I’d like to thank Andy Belanger for taking the time to talk to PunkHouse Press; we were on the phone for over four hours! As you can imagine only a portion of our conversation made it into this interview. Andy has done quite a bit in his career already and I believe the best is yet to come. The “name” drops were endless throughout our conversation–quite impressive. Do yourself a favor and check out his work. It’s well worth your time. If you get to meet Andy at a convention say hi and tell him PunkHouse Press sent you!
We’d also like to congratulate Andy and his wife on their new bundle of joy, Mia “Danger” Belanger! All the best, Andy! We’ll see you in the pages.
You can find Vampirella at your local comic shop
Online at Comixology
Andy’s series Southern Cross also available online at Comixology
You can follow Andy Belanger on Facebook