WWC Interview: Josh Blaylock on ‘Vampire Hunter D’
During a late-afternoon panel at Wizard World Chicago, Devil’s Due Publishing announced today that it would be producing a Vampire Hunter D miniseries (titled "American Wasteland") based on the popular anime/manga character. While the full creative team, length of the series and release date haven’t been finalized, DDP president Josh Blaylock will be serving as co-writer for the series, with new DDP staffer Jim Demonakos serving as editor.
I spoke with Blaylock about the project earlier today.
COMICMIX: So why did you target the Vampire Hunter D property?
JOSH BLAYLOCK: I think there’s something cool about him that transcends. It has a very hardcore fan following who are very faithful to the manga and the anime. In the ’80s there were only a few anime you could get ahold of, especially edgy animation. As a comic book fan, you craved that type of content but there was only so much you could get. There was Vampire Hunter D, Fist of the North Star… and D was this crazy, short cut-and-dry story that I got into way back when. It just seemed like it would be a lot of fun to do a Westernized take on him. I’m not talking about changing the look of the character drastically or anything like that, though.
CMix: What do you mean by "westernizing" the character?
JB: It has to do more with the art style more than anything else.
CMix: So will it be following the traditional format of manga with regard to reading direction and such?
JB: No, it will be done in the standard, Americanized style. I think it’s the kind of thing casual comic book fans who still follow manga titles still have a lot of interest in, because there’s a wider love for Vampire Hunter D than people seem to have for a lot of other manga titles. But we want to stay true to the character enough so that the hardcore fans will still still have an interest in the story, too.
CMix: what can you say about the story?
JB: The ink is just dry on this deal, but it’s along the lines of a typical D story: Lone wanderer winds up having to help some people, and so on. It’s very "Conan the Barbarian"… that sort of thing.
CMix: How closely are you going to work with Vampire Hunter D creator Hideyuki Kikuchi?
JB: Well, with Digital Manga Productions, we had been talking to them about doing some things for a while, and that was one of the properties we thought would be cool to do something with. I just threw the idea at them, and expected the creator to be a lot more protective of it, but he was all about it and wanted to go forward with it. Apparently, he loves to see the character played with and to see new things happen to him.