WW Chicago: Vlad Company- Harms talks "Impaler"

Several years back, William Harms' critically acclaimed vampire series "Impaler" was cancelled after only three issues. The series, which cast real-life Dracula Vlad the Impaler as a vampire hunter as opposed to lord of the vampires, is being revived by Harms and Top Cow, first with an "Impaler" trade, and then a new "Impaler" ongoing later this year. CBR News spoke to Harms to get the details.

Within two days of an ancient evil being awakened aboard an abandoned freighter set adrift off the coast of New York City, the city is overrun by a horde of vampires. "A small band of survivors, led by retiring homicide detective Victor Dailey, find themselves on the verge of being overrun when they are rescued by Vlad III, the Impaler," Harms said. Vlad, better known as Dracula, recruits the survivors to help him slay the vampires' master.

Despite the series' critical acclaim, when "Impaler" was first published, it had difficulty finding its niche in the comics marketplace. "Producing an independent comic is very, very hard, even when it's published through a top-notch company like Image," Harms said. "Not only do you have to handle all of the scheduling and production yourself, you also have to contend with low sales. And despite the acclaim that 'Impaler' received -- from glowing reviews to being a finalist for the prestigious International Horror Guild Award -- we just couldn't hit that sweet spot in terms of sales. Thankfully, the guys at Top Cow were big fans of the book and agreed to pick it up. With them throwing their full weight behind it, I'm positive that we'll be around for awhile."

Top Cow plans to reintroduce "Impaler" to the public consciousness with a new TPB collection, featuring reprints of the three issues originally published by Image, as well as three brand new issues produced specifically for the trade paperback. "Original series penciler Nick Postic penciled chapters one through four (and inked four), while original series inker and colorist Nick Marinkovich worked on chapters one through three," Harms said. "Artist Francis Tsai, who's done a lot of cover and interior work for Marvel, colored chapter four and then did all of the art for chapters five and six."

The end of "Impaler" #3 found Victor Dailey and our heroes rescued by Vlad, who then spirited them away to a bookstore that resides on holy ground and thus kept the hordes of vampires at bay. "The group is torn between those that want to try and escape and those that want to search for other survivors," Harms said. "Vlad, though, has an agenda of his own and forces them to aid him in assaulting the lair of the great beast (the original vampire)." Harms went on to say that this plan goes "horribly awry."

And this December, Top Cow is launching a new ongoing "Impaler" series. "British artist Matt Timson is drawing it, and the pages he's turning out are incredible, Harms said. "One of the nice things about having the break between the Image series and the new series is that it really gave me time to nail down where the story is headed. I have the next couple arcs already plotted, and I think fans of the book will really dig where things are headed."

The "Impaler" trade features script pages from unused scenes and bonus artwork. "We really want to pack the trade with cool stuff as a way of thanking everyone who has supported the book and been patiently waiting for it to continue," Harms said. The "Impaler" trade hits stands this October, and the new ongoing series debuts in December.

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