Dynamite Entertainment in June will be taking comic book readers into the world of dark fantasy with Blood Queen #1.
Put together by the team of writer Troy Brownfield (Grimm Fairy Tales) and artist Fritz Casas (Miss Fury, Red Sonja), Blood Queen is set against the fairytale backdrop of knights and magic. Inspired by the true story of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Blood Queen imagines the Renaissance era as a colorful nightmare of mayhem, lust and sorcery.
To get to the heart of the matter, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer and scribe Brownfield met beside the mote of an ancient castle in Scotland. There, our M.E. got this exclusive interview.
Cosmic Book News: So, Troy, is this something you pitched or ...?
Troy Brownfield: I guess you could say that it’s a bit of a combination, Byron. I was approached by Blood Queen editor Molly Mahan; a basic premise existed, and she wanted to see what I could bring to it. I put together a proposal that spoke to what Dynamite wanted to accomplish with the book, and they went for it. It’s been a fun ride.
Troy Brownfield: Our setting is what you might call a fantasy kingdom. There’s a feudal system with a number of adjoining regions each ruled by a king. The kings meet in a council over particular dire events, and some of those events are coming. Within this setting, magic is quite real, and it’s ordered in a number of particular disciplines. That fact becomes a plot point very quickly. In a way, it’s like a familiar fairy tale kingdom, but there’s real world rot underneath.
Troy Brownfield: The main character is Elizabeth. She was raised by Elder Winnifred, a witch that’s tasked with teaching basic nature magic and healing to the royal daughters of the various kingdoms. As such, Elizabeth is extremely intelligent and skilled in various magic forms. A crisis in the kingdom sees Elizabeth sent to court to try to save a royal child. Other characters that we follow early are the knight Sir Ferenc, the king’s advisor Jon Hunter, and the king’s niece Helena (who arrives in issue #2).
Troy Brownfield: Honestly, it’s huge fun. In a fantasy setting with magic and monsters available, literally anything can happen. My goal is to be able to use these fabulous and unbelievable trappings, but weave into characters that have realistic and understandable motivations.
Troy Brownfield: I hope you find them all interesting. (laughs) Elder Winnifred might be my favorite; she’s got an intense backstory. Keep your eye on Helena, too.
Troy Brownfield: I’m taking the fifth on that. There’s an element of that which might become obvious early on, but the only thing that you should expect are twists and turns.
Troy Brownfield: My inspiration for a project never comes from one thing, exactly. In my mind, there’s a bit of a blend of the writings of Angela Carter, the Hammer Karnstein films, Disney’s Wicked Queen, the real-life Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and metal (Dio, Ghost B.C., Slayer . . . particularly Slayer). And that’s not to say that I’m pulling some from column A and some from column B. You want to stir up those influences so that they float in a kind of storm front that makes its presence felt in the weather of the plot.
Troy Brownfield: Fritz Casas is awesome, period. I’d seen his work before and admired it, but the first character turns he did for this shocked me. And they shocked me because he made the cast look almost exactly like they looked in my head. There was no dissonance there at all; I literally thought they were perfect the first time that I saw them. He did a killer job on the first issue. He’s basically been asked to visualize a world from the ground up, and he’s doing a terrific job.
Troy Brownfield: A burning desire to read issue #2. Seriously, I really hope that they enjoy the story. There’s more to it than they might anticipate, and it looks great. I hope that the readers latch on to Elizabeth and the rest of the cast and are intrigued enough by events and the last panel to keep moving along with us. And in my opinion, the ending of issue 2 will be a shock.
Troy Brownfield: My webcomics Sparkshooter (drawn by the awesome Enkaru) and Solo Acoustic (art by the excellent Ben Olson) come out every Wednesday and Friday, respectively, at www.sparkshooter.com. And I’m writing Wonderland: Clash of Queens #3-5 for Zenescope beginning in April. I’m also hoping to do some more for Dynamite, as they’ve been outstanding through the process and announcement of Blood Queen. I can’t say enough good things about Molly Mahan, my editor, and I owe continual thanks to Nick Barrucci and the hard work of Keith Davidsen, Dynamite’s Marketing Manager. Nick has assembled a solid group of people over there, and they’ve really gotten behind what we’re doing on this book. I really hope the readers get into it, because I think it has the potential to be very cool and open to a long run.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Troy Brownfield for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Also thanks to Dynamite’s own Nick Barrucci and Keith Davidsen who helped make this interview possible.
“Blood Queen” #1 hits stores in June!