Beauty Vs. Beast in "Yeti Vs. Vampire"

Consider it a Halloween treat from writer Miles Gunter and artist Kelsey Shannon: a pulse-pounding monsters vs. monsters comic book in the form of "Yeti Vs. Vampire," from, appropriately, Antarctic Press. Readers will find brain-eating steroid monks, psycho werewolf punks, and screaming heads on fire in the first 12 pages of the first of this four-issue miniseries, due out in mid-October. And don't forget the title characters: the Yeti, 12 feet of badass, and the Vampire, evil and sexy.

"Yeti Vs. Vampire" tells the story of a vampire fashion designer who sets out to capture the Yeti and use its exotic fur to create a line of ultra chic winter coats for her upcoming winter runway show in Milan. "With each issue, our goal to get exponentially more intense," Gunter told CBR News. "By the final issue, it's totally fucking balls-out. You will see shit you have never seen before in this book."

There is one thing comics fans haven't seen in a long time, and that's a 99-cent price tag on issue #1. "We just want to get it into as many hands as possible." Gunter said. "I hope we can get more word of mouth, more reviews, and get readers to spend a freakin' dollar. This is my contribution to Halloween. I'm very psyched to put it out during that time. The other issues are $2.99, but they'll be well worth it."

Gunter, whose previous credits include "NYC Mech," "Zombee" and "Weird War Tales," and Shannon, whose credits include "Invincible," "X-Men: Unlimited" and "Batman Adventures," are focusing on having fun with this series. "There's no way I can ever compete with [guys like] Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman - they're simply on a higher plane," the writer said of wanting to focus on comics that are simply a good time to read. "I'm primarily interested in making fun comics. I used to tell myself, 'When I get to be 30, I'll start doing serious work.' Now I'm almost 34 and I have even more of a desire to do the most ridiculous comics I can."

Indeed, Gunter admits the title of the comic may seem silly. Even the executives at Antarctic Press were shaking their heads when they first heard about the book. "I think some people at Antarctic were like, 'What are you talking about?'" he laughed. "It does sound like some stupid schticky SciFi Channel movie. But after they saw the cover they got it. And have been completely supportive of our vision. With this book, the art draws you in instantly. It's like candy with razorblades inside."

Gunter continued, "I feel lucky to have grown up before the internet spoiler culture, and to have seen so many movies like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'Die Hard.' where I had no idea what I was about to see. That's where the great joy of experiencing a story lies- in the unknown. When you know too much about what you're about to see or read, it takes away from the experience."

Gunter says "Yeti Vs. Vampire" is similar in tone to Keith Giffen & Alan Grant's and Simon Bisley's "Lobo" - a book he says "had a lot of demented fire" and was a "pure comic." "['Yeti vs Vampire'] is a book that you could never make into a movie. There's no way. Not unless some Howard Hughesque billionaire gorehound wanted to do it," Gunter remarked. "We're currently in a period of the medium where more people are making comics chiefly to use as a platform for a movie or TV deal. I think there's something to be said for comics that can only exist as comics."

Gunter wants readers to know that though "Yeti Vs. Vampire" borders on the adult, it doesn't feature any swearing or nudity. That's because he wants the book to be kid-friendly, even though it may not be deemed kid-appropriate by the powers that be. "It's a violent book but we're not doing nudity or profanity. It just feels right that way," he said. "Don't get me wrong, 'fuck' was the first word I ever said as a baby. And I love nudity as much as the next red-blooded meat-eater. But there is a certain innocence to this book, even though there are things like dismemberment and cannibalism going on.

"When I was a kid, I was all about R-rated movies. Mainstream society says it's too adult, but as a kid, you're drawn to that stuff. I wasn't into the fucking Hannah Montana style shit back in my day. I was the tween with a Predator poster in his locker. It's different now than it was growing up in the '80s. There's much more of a corporate culture in place. What comes down the line is so much more controlled. But you can still count on the underground to serve up the good shit."

Though Hannah Montana might run away screaming, that's what Gunter and illustrator Kelsey Shannon are going for. "Kelsey is doing the work of his career on this book. There's an acceleration to the intensity that builds as things progress," Gunter said. "My hope is that, by the end, the reader will be exhausted, but in a good way. I vividly remember seeing 'Total Recall' when it came out. And it was so intense! I was worn out when I left the theater. I'm always striving for that kind of rock 'n' roll fury with comics. The only limits in this medium are your imagination and the page count. With any kind of creator-owned work, I think the creators are obligated to show the audience something new. I think it should be a law!"

For Gunter, seeing "Yeti Vs. Vampire" make the printed page is something of a dream come true and comes after numerous obstacles. "It's a project I've wanted to do for six years," he explained. "I talked to a couple of different artists, but it never worked out. I lost the third issue script off my computer twice. It was like some fucked-up curse. For years, Kelsey and I flirted with the idea [of making this book]. Deep down, I felt like it would never happen. So it's kind of a dream come true - after all that time, I'm finally converting that energy into matter. It's done, it's not just an idea anymore."

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