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Exclusive: Erik Burnham on the potent pairing of Dynamite's Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #1

Contributed by
Sep 26, 2018

With Halloween looming large on the horizon, Dynamite Comics has chosen to take two of their most seductive licensed characters, the blood-guzzling beauty Vampirella and the powerful warrior princess of Barsoom, Dejah Thoris, and pair them in a wild sci-fi adventure perfect for the season of scares.

Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #1 is written by Erik Burnham and adorned with sensational art by Ediano Silva that brilliantly captures the exotic world of Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved Mars, while still leaving room for the sexy supernatural invasion of Drakulon's most famous feral female.

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This pulp fantasy begins in the great observatory of Helium, with news of an interstellar craft aimed at Barsoom. The inevitable encounter occurs when the alien scout ship crash-lands on Mars and sets in motion a treacherous path. Dejah Thoris is dispatched to investigate the intruder, nearly restarting a war with the Green Martians and becoming a tasty snack for the great white apes. The downed starship is revealed to carry the lovely Vampirella, who is on a vital mission of survival that might vanish before it ever begins.

SYFY WIRE spoke exclusively with Burnham on this magnetic matchup, how this intriguing sci-fi saga started, why these two iconic characters work so well together, and the simple majesty of Ediano Silva's art.

After the chat, check out our 5-page preview with some wild variant covers in the full gallery below. Dynamite's Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #1 lands in comics shops today, Sept. 26.

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How did you become attached to this cool crossover, and what was the genesis of the story?

Erik Burnham: In probably the easiest way possible: I got an email from editor Matt Idelson that read "wanna write somethin'?" And that piqued my curiosity like crazy. He came to me with the project and a general outline for what a good chunk of the story would be — that made it even easier to say yes, but I would have anyway. I like the world Burroughs built in Barsoom, and the notion of dropping a character like Vampirella into it.

What's the intersection point of these attractive heroines, and why do you think they work so well together?

Reading up on them, they're more similar than I expected. They're more formidable than you'd expect at a glance, and they're both scientists. The differences come in with Dejah having just a little bit more of a chip on her shoulder in regards to the society she grew up in, and Vampirella just doesn't have that.

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How was writing this team-up different from your other projects like Back to the Future and Ghostbusters?

There you go — the stuff that I'm most known for often focuses on eccentric middle-aged men, so I was a little surprised to be asked to do this, but maybe that has something to do with all the fun I've had writing Red Sonja with Amy Chu.

Still, it's different. It's pulp fantasy, a little more violent, and that's fun in a whole different way.

Ediano Silva's art is perfectly suited to this sexy sci-fi story. How did he come aboard, and how are his capable skills best put to use with your words?

Ediano was in place before I was! He'd done some things for Matt [Idelson, Dynamite's senior editor) previous to this, and they were just waiting for the right concept to drop him into. This is sure that project. Everything is just rendered beautifully — and there are some surprises. There's a panel in issue 1 — Vampirella with a mouthful of blood — and it was startling when I saw it for the first time. He's good at landscapes, he's good at storytelling, he's good at character acting... it's just gonna be so pretty to look at.

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Where can fans and readers expect to be transported as the absorbing series unfolds?

You'll see Helium, of course, and then the dead city of Aaanthor, and a quick peek at Vampirella's home planet of Drakulon... and that's just in the first issue. There'll be vampires, white apes, gods, and appearances by just about every race on Barsoom, too... but if I say anything else I might spoil the surprise!

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