CCI, Day 0: CVO @ CCI: Jeff Mariotte talks "CVO: Rogue State"

Do you like vampires? Good.

Do you like the CIA? Err... good!

Now that must mean you like IDW!

As announced today during Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW Publishing will be producing a new "CVO" mini-series (five issues) entitled, "CVO: Covert Vampiric Operations: Rogue State" with writer, and soon to be former Editor-In-Chief, Jeff Mariotte and artist Antonio Vasquez. The first series did well for IDW and Mariotte was happy to talk to CBR News about all things CVO.

"CVO is a branch of the CIA staffed by vampires--America's first line of supernatural defense against global threats," Mariotte told CBR News earlier this week. "They can handle the situations that human agents can't--a locked door, even with a sophisticated alarm system, doesn't mean much to a vampire who can turn to mist and float through it, for instance. At the same time, there are drawbacks to being a vampire--especially for someone who used to be human, and hasn't quite come to grips with the change.

"So CVO stories are a pretty unique mix of espionage and the supernatural. I love spy stories--I've read all of Fleming's James Bond stories and seen all the movies numerous times, have read John LeCarre, Graham Greene, Len Deighton, and most of the masters of espionage fiction, and at the same time have a great love of spy films and TV shows like 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E,' 'Secret Agent,' 'The Avengers,' 'I Spy' and 'Get Smart.'

"And I think we live in a world where intelligence is more important than ever. We've seen, first-hand, the results of bad intelligence, or good intelligence improperly used. Intelligence shouldn't be dictated by policy goals, but policy can be dictated by solid intel. The distinction is an important one.

"I also have a pretty extensive background in horror, having written somewhere around 20 horror novels and a bunch of horror comics, including 'Desperadoes,' which was nominated for the two most prestigious awards the horror field has to offer. So combining these two loves is a lot of fun for me, and I hope for the readers."

While past "CVO" tales have dealt with primarily external threats, now the men and women of CVO are being attacked from within. "In 'Rogue State,' there are threats from without and within. There's a mole in the organization who is threatening the very existence of CVO--which, by its nature, is a very classified off-the-books operation in the first place. But at the same time, there's trouble brewing of the kind that only CVO is capable of dealing with. Is there a reason both of these situations are occurring at the same time? Hmmm, let's see....

"Part of the inspiration for the story is hinted at above-intelligence being manipulated for specific policy goals, sometimes by people with agendas of their own that may not precisely coincide with the national agenda. In this series, there's someone with a lot of influence over CVO's future who has a private agenda, and will turn out to be a serious problem for CVO--and by extension the rest of the world, which has unknowingly come to rely on CVO to keep certain types of threats from getting out of hand."

There won't be a large amount of new characters introduced, as Mariotte is excited to have more room to explore the nuances of the established characters. "We are still with the main three characters we've always seen in CVO, Cross, Britt, and Brood. We have a little more room to develop character in this miniseries than we have in the past, so I'll be expanding on all of them a bit, but especially getting into Britt's character. At first glance, she seems like an unlikely spy--a former supermodel who used to hang around at Studio 54 with Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol and the jet set, who became a vampire after she was attacked in a nightclub. So I'll be digging into her past a little more, and using that to shed some light on her present. At the same time, CVO has never been a real character-driven book--it's mostly about plot, action, and adventure, and that will be the case here too."

Artist Antonio Vasquez is a new player this time around and Mariotte explained why there's a new artist. "Antonio works in the studio of Gabriel Hernandez, who did such a great job on 'CVO: Artifact' and the 'CVO: Human Touch' story that was exclusive to AOL (but has since been offered as a one-shot). Gabriel is tied up on a long-term project I can't talk about yet (but when it can be talked about, people will be amazed), so couldn't do this CVO story. Antonio's style is a bit different, but he knows the characters and has a dynamic, exciting style of his own."

Some of you might notice Vasquez from "CVO: Tales of Terror" and if so, don't think his connection to that story will be forgotten. "The 'Tales of Terror' story leads directly into this one, as do a couple of passing references in 'CVO: Artifact.' In 'Tales of Terror,' we see the first consequences of the mole inside CVO. It's a very short story, just five pages, so it's really just a single incident, but we'll see the fallout in 'Rogue State.'

And if this new mini-series isn't enough to satisfy your CVO appetite, then you can look forward to the video game, something that excites Mariotte. "The game is in development by Konami. They have invested a huge budget in the game, and it'll be awesome when it's done--but it's a long process, so we're all just waiting anxiously till we get a chance to try it out."

CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.

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