Vampires have been keeping a low profile in the Marvel Universe of late, but in the C.B. Cebulski-penned "Biting Back," a backup story in Marvel's upcoming "Legion of Monsters: Morbius" #1, Dracula and his daughter Lilith take center stage. CBR News sat down with Cebulski, who told us what's in store for the Vampire Lord and his next of kin.
Dracula may have become more cool and calculating over the years, but his daughter Lilith is as impetuous as her father was in his youth. Indeed, it is little Lilith's rebelliousness that drives "Biting Back." "Lilith is Dracula's daughter and every child likes to rebel against their parents every now and then," Cebulski said.
The lord of the vampires has certainly kept himself confined to the shadows in recent years. "Someone else is going to be answering questions about Drac's whereabouts of late, from what I understand," Cebulski said. As to why Dracula isn't a more prominent villain in the Marvel U, Cebulski surmised, "I get the feeling some writers feel that he's too 'real' a concept, used in every other medium outside of comics, and that he doesn't necessarily 'fit' with the rest of costumes and colors in the superhero genre. But that's just me speculating. Count me in the group that would love to see more of the Vampire Lord in Marvel comics!"
Though Dracula has been alive for hundreds of years, his speech and matter of dress are still decidedly antiquated. To Cebulski's mind, this is all very calculated. "He's old school and it's by choice," the writer said. "Everything Dracula does is calculated, including the way he dresses and speaks, which is something we tried to point out in this story, with Lilith being his direct opposite, embracing a more modern attitude and fashion sense."
Cebulski has Marvel editor John Barber to thank for landing the gig in "Legion of Monsters: Morbius." "Marvel's John Barber is a very new-writer-friendly editor, and when he was putting together 'Legion of Monsters,' he reached out to some up-and-comers whose work he liked, like Jonathan Hickman, Robin Furth and Brendan Cahill," Cebulski said. "I was just lucky enough to be on his radar and got the offer as well."
Artist David Finch's renditions of Dracula and Lilith are pitch perfect, and Cebulski was thrilled to have a chance to work with him again. "David and I have been friends for years and had always wanted to work together in a creative capacity," Cebulski said. "Last year, we had our chance with our Spidey/Black Cat story in 'Spider-Man Unlimited' #14 and we both had a blast doing that together. Such a good time actually, that we made a loose promise that we'd try and work together on something at least once a year if the comic gods allowed. When this story came up, I inquired into David's availability and it turns out he was in between gigs and the scheduling miraculously worked out.
"Working with David is indeed a true collaboration," Cebulski continued. "Before I write a word, we always have long discussions about what he wants to draw and I take in all his ideas. For this story in particular, the conversation happened over dinner at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. David, myself and his lovely wife Meredith all sat down and hashed out the story and motivations for Lilith and Dracula. Our discussions included everything from plot points and pacing to architecture, fashion and blood. We got really detailed in working it all out and that level of input from them really helped me cement the story and made writing the script very easy."
Though "Biting Back" is a standalone tale, it sets up future stories for Dracula and his daughter, and Cebulski said that too was calculated. "David and I wanted to use this story to reintroduce Dracula and Lilith into the Marvel Universe and set up a new status quo for them as viable characters," Cebulski confessed. "I like to think we succeeded and would love to see the ideas we introduced here followed up on someday. I think there were a lot of cool concepts throughout the entire 'Legion of Monsters' series and it would be cool to see a lot of them revisited very soon."
As to why the vampire subculture is more or less off the radar in mainstream Marvel books, Cebulski quipped, "Actually, they're all Skrulls!"
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