Mark Landry Interview
Interview conducted by James Ferguson
After successfully funding Bloodthirsty through Kickstarter in 2013, writer / creator Mark Landry is bringing the revenge thriller to Titan Comics beginning in September 2015. I had a chance to speak to Mark about the project.
James Ferguson: If you had to describe Bloodthirsty in one or two sentences, what would they be?
Mark Landry: They would be questions: 1) What if corrupt plutocrats were literally feeding off the blood of the poor in New Orleans during the approach of a Category 5 hurricane? and 2) What kind of person would have the courage to try and stop them?
JF: What is it about this location that made it the setting for Bloodthirsty?
ML: I grew up in Louisiana evacuating ahead of hurricanes, wading through floodwaters, digging ditches in the summer heat, and watching political corruption and general apathy erode both the state’s intellectual potential and its coastline. Make no mistake; I have an immense fondness for Louisiana. The state and its culture are very much a part of who I am, and this story is meant to honor the good people who live through the storms there – both the natural and the man-made. I couldn’t imagine setting this initial “Bloodthirsty” arc anyplace else.
|Click images to enlarge|
JF: The main character, Virgil, isn't your typical hero. He's actually pretty far from it. What is his mental state like as the comic opens?
ML: Although he’s fictional, Virgil represents what I would call a real-world hero in the first few pages: he’s a rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard during Katrina. This group – in reality – saved an estimated 33,000 lives. That’s what I mean by “real-world hero.” But then something happens that shatters his world. He loses everything and everyone he’s ever cared about. He’s broken, depressed, and is packing what’s left of his life into boxes so he can start over someplace else. That is, until his eyes are opened to the real, human cause of his despair. With nothing left to lose, he goes hunting…
JF: The villains in Bloodthirsty sound a lot like vampires, but seem to be much more. Can you describe them a bit?
ML: Sure. The scientific term for an organism that depends on blood meals for its survival – leeches, mosquitoes, etc. – is hemovore. The villains in “Bloodthirsty” are a small group of people who have a mutation in one of the genes controlling longevity. Their bodies are in a constant state of repair and rejuvenation, so they live longer than we do and always look younger than they really are. But this constant repair cycle deprives their blood of oxygen. If they don’t consume fresh human blood regularly, they’ll die. They are hemovores, which is basically the scientifically plausible, non-supernatural version of vampires. Because they’ve lived longer lives, their leader has accumulated an immense amount of wealth and political influence. To complete the bloodsucking metaphor, these hemovores are feeding off the blood of the city’s poor.
|Click images to enlarge|
JF: If you were in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, would you rather have been saved by Aquaman or Namor the Sub-Mariner?
ML: I would have been grateful to see either of them, although to answer the question, I am a DC fan. Is there a superhero that can build good levees and stop the erosion of storm-dissipating wetlands? Because that’s the guy or gal I would have wanted in New Orleans prior to Katrina. In reality, we can’t wait around for superheroes to come and save us; we have to make noise, make plans, and make the right changes happen ourselves. There’s a documentary about the state of public education in the US called, “Waiting for Superman.” In it, educator Geoffrey Canada describes the profound moment in his life when he realized that Superman wasn’t going to come and save everybody. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m in the contemporary minority in that Superman is my absolute favorite comic book character – but he ain’t comin’. Why is there class divide in the US? Why are corporations buying politicians and writing laws? The answer might have something to do with the fact that the US ranks 25th in math education among 30 developed countries. And among our 50 states, Louisiana ranks 48th in math and science education. Why is this happening? As any good comic book villain will tell you: an under-educated populace is easier to rule. Let’s get Aquaman on that – STAT!
HorrorTalk would like to thank Mark Landry for taking the time to speak with us about Bloodthirsty. The first issue is slated for release in September and is available for pre-order.
Want to comment on this interview? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.