‘Ballad of Frankie and Vampi’ Comes to ComicMix Friday
Starting Friday, ComicMix will publish the complete Ballad of Frankie and Vampi, starring Frankenstein Mobster and Vampirella. Written and drawn by Mark Wheatley (EZ Street, Hammer of the Gods), the series originally ran in 2003 on several sites, including SundayFunnies.com, gemstonepub.com and Vampirella.com. The original series was edited by Maureen McTigue.
ComicMix presentation will include exclusive, never-before seen art.
A blog about Frankie and Vampi can be found at FEARnet.
The Frankenstein Mobster used to be Terry Todd, a crusading cop for whom the law was at least a compulsion, if not more. Life as a good cop in a bad town wasn’t easy, but death is apparently even harder. Now he’s been revived in a patchwork body, and he finds himself sharing his own skull with three unscrupulous mobsters. Obviously, this is one Made Man you don’t want to mess with.
Here are excerpts from an interview between the two characters.
Vampi: I understand there’s another woman in your life. Who’s Terri Todd?
Frankie: Terri? I don’t like talking about her, Vampi. But I don’t mind tellin’ you that she is a damn fine cop! And I’m not sayin’ ‘just for a woman’ neither! She’s the youngest to ever make detective grade on the Monstros City force. And that’s sayin’ somethin’. She’s smart, pretty and pitches a mean softball to boot.
Frankie: So, why the hell are you in Monstros City?
Vampi: Since my last visit I just can’t get this place out of my mind.
Frankie: Could be you just missed me?
Vampi: Sure. How could I resist after the wild time we had together. I can’t get enough of being a moving target for Mobsters.
Frankie: I told you that they were shooting at me. You weren’t in town long enough to really piss ’em off.
Vampi: But you’ve been here a long time. They must be really pissed at you.
Frankie: They are. Trust me, they are.
Vampi: Don’t leave me hanging. Spill it.
Frankie: Uh – well I have this habit of trashing the Mob any chance I get. I do. No I do. Look – I say the Mob is going down. Don’t matter what you say! This is as much my body as yours. And as long as I’m in charge I’m . . .
Vampi: I promise not to tell a soul.
Frankie: Soul. I wish I had one.
Vampi: You’ve got a soul – you’re resurrected but you’re not dead. I can tell these things. You’ve got life in you and a soul.
Frankie: Okay. The problem is that I’ve got more than one soul.
Vampi: More than one? How does that work?
Frankie: Not too good. Let’s keep names out of this. But I got a total of four souls.
Vampi: Five more and you could be a cat.
Frankie: Funny. I think a bullet through my brain would kill me. But I got this regular argument going on in my head. I – I was a cop before I got sewed up in this mess. But some of my body parts came from three of the worst mobsters this town ever knew. You heard me! It ain’t no complement! You guys are twisted and I ain’t gonna listen to your crap. Leave me alone while I’m talking to the lady. She is too! I’m not gonna let you insult her like that. Shaddup!
Vampi: The gang in "Dead End" they’re good folks, why’re they getting so much grief?
Frankie: That one’s not so hard. You could figure it out on your own.
Vampi: Looks to me like Monstros City is full of bigots!
Frankie: Calling ’em bigots doesn’t really tell the story though. Leaves out the history and the "why" of it all. See Monstros City has a history of spooks and goblins. Goes way back to pre-revolutionary days. Hell, Salem gets all the reputation for witches, but that’s only because they killed theirs. Around here the magic crowd managed to play it smart and stayed alive. For example, the real name for the "Dead End" is Druid Hill. We had an organized league of Druids who helped settle Monstros. Came over on the ships like the Pilgrims did. Searching for religious freedom. But the way these things work out, they ended up on one side of the Sticks River and the good Christian souls took this side. It was really two towns until a little before the Civil War. Druid hill on one side and Hydes on this. But everyone pulled together during the War Between the States. Druids were real helpful in the fighting.
Vampi: I can imagine.
Frankie: The problem came from the pirates.
Vampi: You had pirates? Monsters and Pirates?
Frankie: Yeah. Pretty colorful place, huh? Yeah. The folks of Hydes made a deal with the Pirates. Druid Hill and Hydes were big on shipping, the bay is a natural sea port. So Hydes decided to offer a pardon to any Pirates who would help form a navy and defend the harbor from the Yankee ships. The guy who was heading the Pirates at that time was Lucas Monstros. See where I’m going with this?
Vampi: I think I’m getting the idea.
Frankie: The short story is that Lucas Monstros was a natural leader of men. And his outsider status gave him an unusual sympathy for the magic crowd and the monsters. After he successfully defended the two towns and quickly put the towns back on their feet after the war he was able to bring the towns together under one city government. Folks around here were so grateful – they had seen what the Yankees and their carpet baggers were doing to the rest of the South – so grateful that they not only elected Lucas Monstros as the first mayor of the combined burg, but they also voted to name the place Monstros City. Say – you want a drink? I got some smooth bourbon.
Vampi: Thanks, but I don’t think so . . .
Frankie: Local stuff. The Hyde family brews the stuff. The first local industry. They were always cooking something up. Anyway – by the time of the first World War, Monstros City was a bustling sea port of entry for the mid-Atlantic states. The city was an "off the books" kind of place. Essentially a mob-run town. The legacy of Lucas Monstros. No one should have been surprised. Elect a crook and that’s what you get. And then with the war marching across Europe, we suddenly started getting refugees. And most of ’em were monsters.
Vampi: Don’t they prefer to be called "Exceptionals"?
Frankie: That’s something new. You see it in the papers, hear it on the radio. But in the Dead End folks still call themselves monsters. I guess you gotta be on the inside to use it though. Because as more and more vampires, ghouls, giants, were-creatures, mummies, goblins and you name it started crowding into town during the war – the term "monster" became the worst kind of insult. No – it IS an insult. You don’t know what you’re talking about! They are good people. The problem with the mobs is they cut the monsters out of the picture. The town would run a lot better if everybody was in on it, monsters included. Well they are at least as good as you pieces of cra – –
Vampi: I see the problem.
Frankie: Yeah – see my inner ghosts are fairly typical. The Mobs hate the monsters. I guess they need somebody they can make a scapegoat and a target. Anything goes bad in town – the monsters get the blame. Keeps the average citizen from getting too hot about the corruption. The only major inroads any of the monster groups has made has been in garbage collection. The ghouls do a great job and keep the city dump fairly clean. The garbage trucks in Monstros are kind of a moving feast.
Vampi: I guess I can see the advantage. Still, you’d think that people around here’d be used to the monsters? What’s up with that?
Frankie: The mobs keep the citizens stirred up over the monsters. And the citizens like the economy that comes from having a cheap labor pool. And the Sticks River is a natural division line. Monstros might be one town on the map – but it still has two hearts, two brains.
Vampi: You told me that you were a cop before you got sliced and diced?
Frankie: Yeah. A big, stupid cop. I actually thought I could make a difference in this town. I tried to do right by folks, monsters included. And it got me killed. Make no mistake about it, In Monstros City the cops are just a junior branch of the Mobs.
Vampi: That’s ugly.
Frankie: You got that right. That’s why I’m still fighting for the law. Laws on the books and even a few that just should be. It ain’t easy though, what with these three creeps in my head. Yeah you! I’m talking about you three ass –
Vampi: Let’s not get sidetracked again, Frankie. But – uh – Frankie isn’t really your name. Is it?
Frankie: They call me the Frankenstein Mobster.
Vampi: That’s not what I meant. I mean – your name before you were killed and brought back to life. The name of that cop. Word on the street is you were Terry Todd. Is that right?
Frankie: Could be. Yeah.
Vampi: So, like, Terry Todd was known for being a good guy. I can see how that would really rot your stitches being stuck in the same body with three nasty mobsters.
Frankie: You’ve seen what I gotta put up with.
Vampi: True. But that name; Terry Todd. Sounds an awful lot like another cop, doesn’t it? Like that girl. That Terri Todd.
Frankie: Let’s not –
Vampi: You two wouldn’t be related, would you?
Frankie: Drop it! Let it go!
Vampi: This Terri Todd wouldn’t be your daughter, would she?
Frankie: That’s it! Interview is over! I told you I didn’t want to talk about that.
Vampi: Sorry Frankie! You’re right. None of my business. Maybe I better leave.
Frankie: Yeah. I mean – stop by next time you’re in town.
Vampi: Sure thing Frankie. Sure thing.