It took most people by surprise when, years ago, Brian Pulido announced that readers would soon be seeing a second version of his character Lady Death. The character everyone knew was more than a little sexy and steeped in the horror realm. Yet this new Medieval Lady Death was something completely different. While still sexy, it wasn’t her attributes that were the main focus, but rather a story steeped in medieval fantasy and all the tradition that comes with it. Medieval Lady Death is the epic hero to Lady Death’s action hero. That epic adventure continues this March in the pages of “Medieval Lady Death: War of the Winds” from Avatar Press. We spoke with Pulido about his plans for this latest Medieval Lady Death mini-series.
The medieval version of Lady Death was conceived between a human woman and one of the otherworldly Eldritch named Tvarus, a powerful member of the Eldritch clan. Of course, these two groups are at odds with one another, which places Hope, Lady Death’s human name, in the middle of the conflict. She has the blood of both clans, but belongs to neither. As readers who are familiar with the series know, Lady Death fights for the humans, but they fear her because she looks Eldritch and shares their powers. Clearly life isn’t black and white for this warrior.
“Medieval Lady Death: War of the Winds” begins where the last series ends, with her father Tvarus unleashing attacks on the humans as a precursor to taking over their kingdoms. “Tvarus has several advantages he’s never had before (which I won’t spill about). Considering that he’s always had a soft spot for human beings, this is strangely out of character,” Pulido told CBR News. “But he does attack and it is devastating. The human side, defended by warrior knights, is reeling. To complicate matters, it looks like Lady Death called in the attack.
“Tvarus decides to capture Lady Death, unleash the darkness inside her and use her as a weapon against the humans. Unfortunately, he’s successful. It gets a lot worse from there.
“The human side rallies and sworn enemies become allies to face the Eldritch menace. And that’s just the first four issues,” continued Pulido.
“War of the Winds” sees the return of a number of the regular cast members and Pulido brought us up to speed on where they’ve been and what they’ll be up to. “This story is like the ‘Sopranos’ of medieval fiction. There is a big cast of characters and something is always happening to all of them. I’ll give you a rundown on what the main characters are up to in the beginning of the series:
“Medieval Lady Death & Wolfram von Bach – kicking it in farm country, having left their warrior ways behind.
“Tvarus – cookin’ up massive evil.
“Obsidia (Tvarus’s wife) – about to come down with a terrible ailment.
“Caprice (Lady Death’s Eldritch half-sister) – has to make a choice that will change her life forever.
“Char & The Greelum – Naw, that would be telling.
“Thorm (Tvarus’s brother, former ruler of the Eldritch) – out of the picture (for now).
“Archbishop Vittorio – gunning for LD and Wolf!
“Belladonna – yup, her. She’s back from the dead to help Lady Death out!”
When asked to elaborate on what role the “adorable” little Char would play, Pulido would only say Char and the Greelum play an important role in this story. “Sometimes big things come in small packages,” said Pulido.
The last series saw Hope learn more about her powers from the Seer, who it turns out was her Grandmother. Pulido said that this series will see Hope explore her powers further. “She has more command of her powers, more focus, and we see it in the stories, but that’s the first thing Tvarus uses against her– her own newfound power. She still has lots to learn,” said Pulido.
“This story is about war. Lady Death does her best not to kill, but is that the right approach in war? Is she the only one with that value system? Is that code of conduct a liability? We’re gonna look at that.”
In “Medieval Lady Death,” the relationship between Hope and Wolf was explored briefly, but making it evidently clear that the two have feelings for each other. Pulido said that storyline is at the heart of this latest arc. “In fact, in the first issue, for all intents and purposes, Hope and Wolf have retired to a farming community,” said Pulido. “They’ve left all the warrior stuff behind. That gives them a chance to explore romance, but an attack on their village by the Eldritch interrupts the proceedings.
“By issue #4, toward the end, you get a sense of where Lady Death and Wolf are heading romantically,” continued Pulido. “It is a rocky road. They’re professional ass-kickers. How do you balance personal and professional? It’s not easy for them, especially considering the scope of the Eldritch attacks in this story. Then Lady Death must go on a quest to help the human kingdom and meets… Well, you’ll have to read it.”
The seeds of “War of the Winds” have been planted in Pulido’s mind for a few years now. “I seem to have about one or two years worth of stories in my mind. I juggle the details around, re-order it and stuff. Then when I commit it to paper, it evolves even more. Then on the day I’m writing it, whatever happens, happens. It’s fun to keep it fresh.
“In part, I’m exploring the notion of what do you do when you become a refugee in your own lands? That’s what I saw down in New Orleans with Katrina. That came recently and colored the story.
“Above all, this story is an exploration of betrayal. It comes in many forms, some sublime, some outrageous. The status quo changes for most, if not all, the characters.”
As for new readers concerned they aren’t familiar with the back-story enough to enjoy the story, no worries. “Medieval Lady Death: War of the Winds” is new reader friendly and Pulido catches readers up on what transpired before in issue #1. Pulido noted that while there are individual storylines and series, this is all part of one gigantic story. “Seen in that light, ‘Medieval Lady Death: War of The Winds’ #1 is the 22nd issue of Medieval Lady Death (counting ‘Lady death: A Medieval Tale’ #1-#12, ‘Medieval Lady Death’ #1-#8 and ‘Medieval Lady eath/Belladonna’ #1).
“If you need more back detail, pick up the new ‘Medieval Lady Death Source Book’ written by Barbara Kesel. She did a great job and it covers everything about the series,” said Pulido.
Di Amorim, the artist who provided the art on “Medieval Lady Death,” is back for “War of the Winds.” With the duo having worked together before, that makes the job of bringing this series to the printed page easier for both creators. “I can use a bit of a shorthand with Di Amorim now,” said Pulido. “Besides the last ‘Medieval Lady Death’ series, we worked together on my series ‘Unholy.’ He’s a great natural storyteller.
“In this story, I’m asking him to emphasize the quiet dramatic moments between the characters and really get the details of their expressions. Also, now that I know he’s not afraid to draw, I’m asking him to beef up the epic proportions of the story as well.”
As medieval fantasy has grown in popularity on the big screen, so has that trend translated to comics. Books like “Conan” and “Red Sonja” have been heating up the sales charts, with books like DC’s “Warlord” coming soon.. “Medieval Lady Death” pre-dated this movement, leading one to wonder if Pulido has some sort of clairvoyance he’s not telling us about. “I have to give credit where credit is due. Mark Alessi, formerly of Crossgen, really encouraged me to go in this direction,” admitted Pulido. “He was a big fan of medieval fantasy and was publishing ‘Sojourn’ at the time.
“I jumped at the chance because I grew up loving this stuff, too,” continued Pulido. “I was, and am, a big ‘Conan’ fan. I loved all of Marvel’s books like ‘John Carter, Warlord of Mars,’ ‘Kull’ and the other one shots they would do like ‘Solomon Kane.’ DC’s ‘Warlord’ was a blast, too. I even liked ‘Ironjaw’ from Atlas comics.
“There’s just a universal appeal to these stories. Big action, big adventure. The guys are brawny ass kickers, the gals look good in leather. What’s not to like?
“So no, I didn’t for see this movement coming. How has the other stuff affected my focus? Not much. My focus is the same. Tell an entertaining yarn that readers want to come back to. One thing I like about this ‘new wave’ of medieval titles is that they are tough and edgy. I’m moving ‘Medieval Lady Death’ a bit in that direction simply because the story demands it. She’s in a war and stuff gets ugly in war.”