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interview : Kickstarter Patron James S. Cole

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Many people worked with us to make our Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to go to print and pre-sell subscriptions possible. Illustrator James S. Cole collaborated with us to design Auxiliary’s first T-shirts, the Reclaim Collection available now through our Kickstarter. Cole’s art can be found in role playing game books, magazines, and illustration annuals. Some of his favorite subjects are zombies and fallen angels and art that depicts the dichotomy between life and death. We asked James S. Cole a few questions about himself and his work.

interview by : Jennifer Link and Mike Kieffer

How long have you been drawing and illustrating?
All of my life. I started with the normal stuff… such as, little houses and smiling suns. Then I moved on to super heroes (well, mostly just Batman and Spiderman). It was exposure to a few critical books and movies that really opened my eyes to dark art and monsters. Books like The Tourist’s Guide to Transylvania and movies such as the original Universal Studios Dracula and Frankenstein that set me down that dark road. As far as professionally illustrating, I would have to say that its been in full swing for about eleven years now.

James S Cole ECT

At what point did you start to think of yourself as an artist/illustrator?
I have always made art and loved creating it as a teenager and young adult. One day, I realized that I was not going to get jobs nor recognition from just the doodles that I was showing to only my family. So I focused all of my energy on a few pieces, submitted them to several illustration annuals and set up my art panels at the Gen Con gaming convention’s art show. That year, my art made it into Spectrum annual and I won an artist choice award at the convention. Another highlight of that year was while having a conversation with Tom Baxa at Gen Con. I was sharing with him how much I admired his work, when he said, “you know who’s art I really like?” and he pointed to MY art panel. He had no idea that it was my work. I then considered myself a professional artist.

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on over the years?
My favorite to date, would be my first paid freelance job for White Wolf Game Studios. It was for their World of Darkness RPG line. I had played countless hours of their role playing games and was so honored when they asked me to create twelve portraits for the Antagonist supplement. Another favorite project, would be my monster beer labels. It brought two of my passions together, craft beer and the undead. No, they are not real beers yet, but they have helped me network with many people in the industry, including a local start-up micro brewery. Zombie Plague Imperial Stout will eventually become a real beer, even if I help brew it myself.

James S Cole Beer Labels

What are some projects that have been brewing in your head that you have yet to realize?
I do have these two recurring dreams/nightmares for over the past 25 years, each is of a rather dark location. One “natural” the other man-made. I have been hesitant and a little intimidated to start these projects because they have been with me so long. What happens when I finally make the translation for brain to canvas of something that has been with me so long. What if I can not do it justice will I be stuck working on it over and over again. What if that is the idea…? With luck you will see these dark visions before years end.

Another project that has been brewing for a long time is creating my own game company. This of course would open up unlimited opportunities for my artwork. I would also have to serve as art director and get me in touch with freelance artists. The prospect of seeing what other artists do with my visions and ideas is very exciting.

Recently you collaborated with us to create the first Auxiliary T-shirts! What are some of the rewards and challenges to working on illustrations that will have a commercial use?
One of the biggest challenges is realizing the customer’s vision while trying to create something that will appeal to the target audience. Most of the time this requires figuring out what they don’t want first. Haying to satisfy someone other than yourself is the definition of commercial work. There is also the fun creating something I would not normally create and having someone else challenge me to take the work further or in a direction I would not normally go. The reward is seeing the work out in print or having someone randomly admire them. All artist are narcissists to some degree. [winks]

Auxiliary Reclaim Industrial T-Shirt

What artists influence your work?
Gustave Doré, I really like his subject matter technique and all over feel. Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein, this has to be one of my very favorite collections of black and whites ever. Zdzisław Beksiński, his wild imagination and dark, dreamy themes are hauntingly beautiful. Les Edwards, most notably his work that appeared in, The Tourist’s Guide to Transylvania. That book single handedly launched me into wanting to do horror illustration. Larry Elmore, Larry’s work is what I grew up on. His work for Dungeons and Dragons in the late 80s and 90s had and incredible influence on me and my style. Steve Ellis, Steve had an incredible impact on my current style. He suggested that I get a Wacom Cintiq (touch sensitive drawing tablet/monitor) for my digital work. That has immensely broadened my horizons and is one of the best art purchases that I have ever made. Wayne Reynolds, his technique and insanely fluid brushwork is a constant inspiration.

What outside of art influences your work?
Music has a big influence on my work. As you can guess, most of the music I listen to has a darker edge. When working, most of the time I listen to bands such as Immolation, God Module, Lacuna Coil, and Wolfsheim. Several pieces are named after Immolation song titles or lyrics. I also find beauty in decaying architecture such as abandoned factories or old churches. Essentially, any sort of old, gothic buildings or structures.

James S Cole Chapel at the Dawn

You have vended Texas Frightmare Weekend a few times, it’s becoming quite a notable horror convention, what has been your best experience there?
It was quite exciting entering and winning the Rue Morgue Cover Art contest. Also, returning to my booth one day from a short break to find Bill Mossley (House of 1000 Corpses) at my table, admiring my work, was pretty kick ass. On top of that, he turned out to be a great guy. Honestly, just meeting fellow horror nerds and seeing some of my favorite horror celebrities makes the convention worthwhile.

Your craziest experience there?
Watching Anthony Michael Hall look helpless at the VIP party, as a rather frisky and over-exuberant fan, force lap-danced him. My wife, Kelly and I saved him by intervening and offering to buy him a drink. He seemed very grateful for the well timed rescue.

What conventions do you plan to attend in the next year?
Next year, I plan on having a booth again at Texas Frightmare Weekend, as well as, Gen Con 2015. There are also several local street and art festivals that I’d like to be a part of. The spring and early summer are loaded with opportunities for artists here in North Texas.

James S Cole convention booth

What would you do in the case of a zombie apocalypse?
Living in Texas now (with the freedom of firearms), I feel I am much more prepared than I was when I lived in New York. I am fairly efficient and do not break down in crisis scenarios, so I think I have a fair chance of sticking it out for a while. I wouldn’t just give up. Not from a fear of death or a drive to live on. I would just want to see how it plays out and how long I could make it. (“Send more paramedics.”)

What are some your creative endeavors aside from illustrating?
Running the occasional roll playing game with friends. Yep, not only do I create nerd artwork, I am nerd! I have several game prototypes that I have created and in the long term would like to start my own game company.

What are your long term and short term artistic goals?
Short term, to draw each and every day, no matter how busy I am. Only with true dedication, can I reach my full potential. Also, to paint more often. I have only three acrylic paintings under my belt, and I am very happy with all of them. Long term, to acquire more freelance work, to get more exposure, meet more inspiring artists, have more fun, do more conventions, and continue to grow as an illustrator. When I launch my game company I will meet this goal for sure.

Check out more of James S. Cole’s work on his website and check out the Auxiliary Kickstarter for details on becoming an Auxiliary patron and being interviewed by Auxiliary about your creative projects.

DIY funding : Goth: The True Story of Post-Punk

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Good luck convincing The Man that more than three people are interested in anything outside of the mainstream. The world won’t listen. Only, screw The Man. We can fund interesting, creative projects on our own. For instance, musician and journalist John Robb is currently funding a book through Unbound which is sure to be of interest to most of us in Auxiliary land. Goth: The True Story of Post-Punk promises to provide historical and cultural context to your favorite overlooked era of pop music while discussing bands ranging from Adam and the Ants to The Damned to Sex Gang Children (with whom I am not familiar and refuse to Google). The line, “at least 150 interviews with key players,” certainly caught my attention. Clearly this is a labor of love, a true passion project, and something with the potential to be pretty amazing.

The story of postpunk is a story that I’d like to see told well and Robb seems like a solid candidate to do just that. While he performed with Goldblade and also The Membranes, John Robb is perhaps better known for writing, particularly his music website Louder Than War. He has already written books about The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, and an oral history of punk rock. 10 GBP (about $17) will get you the ebook, but you’ll have to cough up 30 GBP (approximately $50) if you want to get your hands on a physical copy. All levels of support will award you the ego boost of seeing your name in the back, as well as, “access to the author’s shed,” which could come in handy should you need to dispose of any incriminating evidence.


You can support this project by visiting : www.unbound.co.uk/books/goth-the-true-story-of-post-punk

– Liz Walker

artist spotlight : Karla Ortiz

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Karla Ortiz

interview by : Dahlia Jane

San Francisco artist Karla Ortiz is not breaking down barriers between the worlds of commercial and fine art; she’s not even aware that they exist. Seeming equally comfortable working as a commercial concept artist for prominent companies such as Industrial Light & Magic and Wizards of the Coast as creating personal pieces to show in fine art galleries, Ortiz strives to create a sense of wonder and magic in all of her work. She also discounts boundaries between fantasy genre art and realistic portraiture. The bulk of her art depicts human beings rather than creatures. Yet there’s a theatrical other-worldliness and savagery to her characters. Ortiz does not even subscribe to the traditional gender roles assigned to female characters in fantasy art. Neither highly sexual nor weak, Ortiz paints complex women with rich back-stories. Though she embodies the rare professional contemporary artist in her adaptability and use of both digital and traditional art mediums, Ortiz draws from timeless archetypal wells. Her use of shading and lines are not unlike Renaissance artists. Only 28 years old, Ortiz has achieved a remarkable amount. Her show Iluso opened in the Project Room at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California on February 1st and we talked with her just before its opening.

read the full interview in the February/March 2014 Issue

DIY funding : Sequoia Emmanuelle Photography Book

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The way artists get their work out to the world is dramatically changing. More and more artists and musicians are choosing to fund their next project or their next album through crowd funding rather than traditional methods of the past. When large publishing houses and record labels are becoming more problems than they are worth for independent and niche artists, crowding funding is becoming an important tool for creatives.

Long time Auxiliary photography contributor Sequoia Emmanuelle has recently launched a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter to fund her first photography book. Emmanuelle designed the book with award-winning book designer Eli Morgan and the book will be full of her stunning and lush photographs. You can pre-order the book through Kickstarter or help fund her endeavour in various other ways.

Sequoia Emmanuelle Book

Just some of Emmanuelle’s stunning work to be published. Can you spot 3 photographs from Auxiliary?

You can support this project by visiting www.kickstarter.com.

– Jennifer Link

film review : Vampire Academy

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Vampire Academytheatrical release : 02.07.14
director : Mark Waters

The director of Mean Girls teams up with the writer of Heathers to create a film adaptation of the New York Times Bestselling series Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. For everyone thinking, “oh, this is another version of Twilight,” I can assure you, this series is nothing like its predecessor. Mead crafted a kickass world in her series of books and this world transfers to screen with absolute perfection. Fans of the book series have been overjoyed with this interpretation of the story.

Welcome to the world of Vampire Academy, where the student body at St. Vladimir’s Academy are like no other. In this world, there are the good and the bad vampires. The Moroi, co-exist peacefully among humans and only take blood from willing donors. This special breed of vampires also possesses the ability to control one of the four known elements: water, earth, air, or fire. The protectors of the Moroi are the Dhampirs, who are half-human and half-vampire. Dhampirs are trained to be guardians to protect the Moroi royalty and are taught clever moves to make epic Strigoi kills. What the heck is a Strigoi? They are the big, bad guys that both the Moroi and Dhampirs’ fear. Strigoi are more in rhythm with the classic version of a vampire. The red-eyed, blood crazed monster, without any of the sex appeal that was included in Dracula. The exception, these vampires hunt other vampires instead of solely just humans. Strigoi drink to kill and strive to cause corruption and chaos in the Moroi world.

Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir-in-training who protects her best friend, Vasilisa Dragomir (Lucy Fry). Lissa is the last member of the Royal Dragomir family, which makes her pretty special, and a huge target for enemies. It is up to Rose to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm her and use the princess and her growing powers for their own means. In addition to being an ultra-secret school for Vampires, St. Vlad’s is also a high school and with that brings the usual high school drama, so sometimes, Strigoi aren’t the only enemies the Moroi and Dhampirs have to contend with.

Following true to the books, Rose serves as the narrator to the story as the action and adventures center around her. This sarcastic and hilarious character has to chime her two-cents into every conversation. The film begins with Rose and Lissa being escorted back to the Academy after a prolonged period of hiding out, mostly undetected in a big city. Rose is less than pleased to be returning to the Academy. Her displeasure leads to fantastic dialogue, and many memorable one-liners. Back at the Academy she has to catch up on her guardian training and is paired with Russian badass, Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kozlovsky). You guessed it; this is where the angsty, lusty, teen targeted emotions come. Rose and Dimitri have wicked chemistry in training as well as outside of the classroom. The movie-version of this “forbidden love” story is low on the cheesiness factors that claim most teen centered movies. Its appeal translates to viewers of all ages, not just love struck teenagers.

Overall, this film is not what one would expect from a motion picture inspired by a YA book series. It seems that Twilight has metaphorically killed the Vampire stars, Vampire Academy has resurrected the Vampire. A refreshing take on a teenage love story centered around the world of vampires.

The film is filled with mayhem, lust, adventure, and a healthy dose of violence interjected by the comedic snarkiness of Rose. The casting director did a phenomenal job of bringing these characters to life. This is trickiest part of movies inspired by books: getting the characters just right. Each character owned their role and couldn’t have been better cast. I particularly liked seeing new faces on the screen, further allowing the viewer to identify the actor with the character. The costume design was absolutely brilliant, again creating a bigger target audience than just teens. To really enjoy a movie, you need to feel a cathartic connection, and Vampire Academy delivers.

– Lisa Lunney

artist spotlight : Jennifer Jelenski

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Los Angeles pop-surrealist painter, Jennifer Jelenski, has a heaping spoonful of sugar ready to help make the medicine go down. And if she’s snuck a few grains of arsenic into that delicious sweetness melting on your tongue, so be it. Clearly the world as Jennifer sees it is far from black and white. Riotous with candy-colored details, at first glance each canvas seems to depict a Garden of Eden. Adorable woodland creatures frolic across the greenery-filled space. But her work has more layers than an onion. As the viewer shifts focus from processing the big picture to the smaller elements, it’s quickly apparent that the honeyed aspects are doing battle with violence and disorder. Those cute little bunnies? They’re menacingly wielding swords. Jelenski’s ability to create work that is both incredibly inviting and foreboding is unique. In the following interview we discussed her new series, Let’s Get Lost, her meticulous artistic process, and the sophisticated symbolism in her deceptively cute artwork.


interview by : Dahlia Jane

view the full feature in the December/January 2013/2014 Issue

artist spotlight : Chet Zar

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Southern California artist Chet Zar is a master of giving our fears a face. For the last ten years he has relentlessly produced images of ghastly creatures with names such as Corpse Licker and Spiderface and features to match. His designs are pure monsters. They embody the word’s ancient Latin origin, monstrum, meaning abberant or unnatural. Chet’s works, though dark, are not straightforward presentations of evil. Grimacing against backdrops of apocalyptic colored skies and rocky landscapes, each monster has a personality ranging from charming to pitiable.

They match our stares with their own outward facing penetrating regards as if to say we are the unfortunate ones. Being a monster is fun. It is evident from his work that there is nothing Chet enjoys more than making monsters. He is an accomplished oil painter, sculptor, and special effects artist and his work in every medium explores the haunting and bizarre monsters that populate his mind. Chet paused his efforts in his home studio to discuss his new show Ego Death, the concept of the artist as shaman, and what drives him to create.


interview by : Dahlia Jane

read the feature in the October/November 2013 Issue

on this day : The Phantom of the Opera premieres in London – October 9, 1986

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

There are plenty of interesting birthdays today: PJ Harvey, Al Jourgensen from Ministry, Guillermo del Toro. But why not pay tribute instead to that most melodramatic of musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. It had its premiere in London’s West End on this day back in 1986 and has since become the most successful stage musical of the modern age, including the longest running on Broadway. Because who can resist a romance between a hideously deformed organ player and a gorgeous opera singer? The chandeliers! The gondolas! The masquerade ball! The Phantom is gothic on the grandest scale.

– Liisa Ladouceur

on this day : Neve Campbell born – October 3, 1973

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Happy Birthday to Neve Campbell, Canadian-born Scream queen. She’s 40 today! Campbell is best known for her role as Sidney in the Scream horror franchise but is probably best remembered by weirdos who went through high school in the 1990s for her part in The Craft. Since then, she’s been married three times, guest starred on The Simpsons, acted in more film, television live theater, and had her first child. All perfectly respectable, grown-up things, but in our minds she will always be a wicked teenage witch.

– Liisa Ladouceur

on this day : The Munsters premieres – September 24, 1964

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

It’s hard to imagine a world without Lily Munster in it. Before September 24, 1964 there was Vampira, and the Addams Family had just debuted on TV the week previous, but with the premiere of The Munsters on CBS, TV viewers now had a seriously sexy vampire to spend their nights with.

The black-and-white monster sitcom also featured Herman and Grandpa and Eddie too but it was Lily (played by Yvonne De Carlo) who made the family from 1313 Mockingbird Lane one of the funnest, macabre things to ever happen to TV.


image source munsters.com

Watch the season one opener at : www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TTIqK9nFH8

– Liisa Ladouceur

artist spotlight : Cam Rackam

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013


interview by : Dahlia Jane

Southern California artist Cam Rackam has made a career out of pillaging sacred iconography, from “The Last Supper” to the American flag, and corrupting it for his own twisted purposes. His work and lifestyle are steeped in subversive, anarchic punk influences. One could follow the stickers he sneaks onto telephone poles, buildings, and vehicles like a trail of breadcrumbs retracing his steps in an urban landscape. Yet Cam paints with a technical mastery of styles like chiaroscuro, the interplay between light and dark in a composition, that evade more reverent, serious-seeming artists. He is the consummate example of one who works hard to play hard, finding time to perfect his craft and party like a rockstar.

view the full editorial in the August/September 2013 Issue

tv review : True Blood – Season 6 Episode 10 “Radioactive” Quiz

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

true blood sookie, warlow

image source hbo.com

Since it’s taken me about three weeks to get here, I thought it would be fun to do my recap in a different way. And what could be more fun than a multiple choice quiz covering both the tenth episode and the season as a whole? This is a very serious quiz with clear right and wrong answers. Take your time and check your work. The answer key follows the quiz.

Questions :

1. You’ve just survived a concentration camp for vampires and you can be out in sunlight for the first time since you were turned. Do you?
A) Dance the Charleston in your underwear
B) Go on a target run
C) Play volleyball
D) All of the above

2. How do you kill a vampire fairy hybrid that’s been on the planet for thousands of years?
A) Infect him with HepV.
B) Lure him into a bathroom where there’s a portal to a scary plane and hope your fairy godfather breaks through the portal so he can hold him down while you stake him.
C) Have an ancient vampire suck him dry during the daytime when he’s mostly fae.
D) Feed him to the werewolf pack.

3. True or false? Losing his Lilith blood and powers gave Bill a strong sense of humility and a desire to put his loved ones above all else.

4. Mayor Sam wants every healthy human to enter into a monogamous feeding relationship with a vampire in exchange for protection from the roaming bands of HepV infected vampires. If the Bon Temps population is 150 humans and 1/8 of the world vampire population has become infected with HepV; oh hell, math is hard. Are there really an even number of vampires and humans now in Bon Temps?

5. Tara’s mother tries to make amends with her daughter by allowing Tara to feed on her in the barn. This gesture is:
A) Touching. I was hoping those two would make up.
B) Clearly a trick. Tara obviously wasn’t listening to the safe-feeding speech and she probably just got HepV from her mom.
C) The creepiest thing I’ve ever seen next to all those articles in the media earlier this year about five-year-olds breastfeeding. Were those porn-like feeding sounds really necessary?
D) Complicated. Surely these two will need to do a lot of work to reconnect in a healthy way.

6. Speaking of parents, whose parents most dropped the ball this season?
A) The little fairy Bellefleurs. Their father Andy’s lack of supervision and inability to keep track of the girl’s rapid aging leads to three of his four daughters being eaten by Jessica before he’d even named them.
B) Sookie, whose father comes back from the dead to kill her so that she won’t end up with Warlow.
C) Willa, who becomes a pawn in the war between human v. vampires when she’s stolen from the governor’s mansion. She’s clearly got some deeply rooted daddy issues because she pretty quickly pledges herself towards team vampire.
D) Willa (again) and Tara whose makers Eric and Pam abandoned them just after they all made it out of the Vamp Camp even though Willa’s never been a free vampire and Tara is still very green.

7. Favorite new character introduced in the sixth season of True Blood who will most likely be back for the seventh season?
A) Nicole (hint: snooze)
B) Willa
C) James
D) Violet

8. What was the best True Death scene of the season?
A) Nora succumbing slowly to HepV hundreds of years after she almost died from Black Plague.
B) Steve Newlin being prevented from feeding on Bill like a runt of a litter and introduced to the sun by his ex-wife Sarah.
C) Warlow being staked in Sookie’s bathroom thus allowing Jason to save his sister and avenge his parents’ murder.
D) Nude Eric sunbathing on the Alps when the fairy blood wears off.


image source ew.com

9. True or False? Sookie is a danger whore.

10. Whose new romantic relationship will go the distance?
A) Sookie and Alcide
B) Sam and Nicole
C) Jason and Violet
D) None of the above

Answers :

1. You’ve just survived Vamp Camp, must be time to… D) All of the above! Because what could say, “I’m so happy to be alive and in the sun,” better than underwear frolicking and a Top Gun style volleyball scene?
2. How do you kill Warlow? B) You get really really lucky and at just the right moment that character that we’d all kind of forgotten about since he spent half the season trapped in another dimension reappears and helps save the day (errr night).
3. Did the end of Billith lead to a more humble Bill? Judging from his bestselling book, And God Bled, his TV appearance, and his interference in Sookie’s life, I’d say no, FALSE. He’s so not humble that when the interviewer asks him if he’s concerned about being tried for murdering the governor of Louisiana, he laughs the question off as absurd. Good old Bill.
4. Is the ratio of vampires to humans really one to one? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I guess it must be since Sam’s town meeting advises everybody to get their own personal vampire bodyguard.
5. The scene where Tara feeds on her mother is… C) The creepiest thing I’ve ever seen! Ick!
6. Whose parents really dropped the ball? That honor goes to… B) Sookie. Her father is such a dick he actually comes back from the dead to kill her since he didn’t get to finish his first attempt when she was just a little girl.
7. Best new character we can’t wait to see more from? D) Violet. She’s jealous to the point of extreme paranoia, possessive, and extremely selfish in bed. She’s turned Jason into a human oral sex slave and he’s barely protesting. Plus her bedroom is gorgeous. Teach us oh wise one.
8. Best True Death of the season? B) Steve Newlin. When Steve looks up to the heavens and proclaims, “I love you Jason Stackhouse,” to the chagrin of both his ex-wife and Jason as he’s devoured by flames, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. If you said… D) Eric, you’re extra wrong. For one thing, HBO has already made the announcement that Alexander Skarsgard will be back for the seventh season. But even before they said that, it was obvious that such a silly death scene was un-befitting to the most splendid specimen of vampire-kind on the show.  Pam is going to save him or an avalanche of snow will cover him; he’s fine.
9. True, Sookie is a danger whore which is why…
10. Sookie and boring Alcide will not go the distance. But… C) Violet and Jason may. I see that codependent and unhealthy relationship working out. I’m a romantic.

jason violet

image source trueblood.net

How did you do?

– Dahlia Jane

on this day : Tim Burton born – August 25, 1958

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tim Burton! You’re 55.

What even is there to say about Tim Burton at this point? The filmmaker and storyteller who brings the wacky, romantic, gothic worlds of our fantasies to life. The world would be a whole lot duller without his vision. In honor of the King of Misfits on his special day, enjoy this music video he directed for The Killers. Because: skulls.

– Liisa Ladouceur

tv review : True Blood – Season 6 Episode 9 “Life Matters”

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Bill Compton, vamp camp

image source Gossip On This

During medieval times, evidence from medical and religious records indicates that many Europeans believed vampires spread plague.

Just last summer archaeologists unearthed a skull in Venice in a mass plague grave from 1576 with a brick shoved in its mouth. The brick was a measure taken to kill a vampire who was caught eating his or her way out of the grave.

Scientists now contend that this superstitious practice was a misunderstanding of how bodies decay, and not proof of vampirism. But the connection between vampire-kind and pestilence persevered for hundreds of years. Pale, insomniac consumptives (tuberculosis) wielding bloody handkerchiefs were also occasionally mislabeled as vampires.


image source Daily Mail

In True Blood’s sixth season, the relationship between vampires and plague is explored through HepV. In episode seven we watched Nora be made into vampire as an alternative of succumbing to the black plague only to die a devastatingly horrific death caused by a new plague engineered to wipe out vampires. And in episode nine Eric and Bill rampage against those who would so cruelly wipe out the vampire population.

The HepV storyline is one of the most compelling devices the show has ever employed. Unlike sunlight or staking, which generally require direct human contact to take deadly effect; HepV can be placed in the vampire’s food. And once contracted there doesn’t seem to be an antidote.

Eric Northman, vamp camp

image source Gossip on This

Eric’s return to the vamp camp, powered by Warlow’s blood, is as much about an eye for an eye as it is about rescuing his brood. His first act after ripping apart a handful of camp guards limb from limb, is to wrench off the penis and balls of the doctor who injected his sister with the disease that killed her. This act gets my vote for all time goriest scene in True Blood history; surpassing the scene where Eric rips a heart out of a witch’s chest and drinks from it as though he’s sipping through a straw (at least that guy got to die an instant death). As blood gushes out of the doctor’s groin like a waterfall, Eric proceeds to release vampires to run amok and kill all of the humans.

In fact it’s Bill, not Eric, who gets to our favorite vampires in time to save them from meeting the sun. As an unhinged Sarah Newlin cranks open the ceiling she finds all but her ex-husband feeding from Bill in a Renaissance-worthy messiah tableau. Hottttttt.

We almost witness the demise of the Newlins. Steve meets a hilarious end, disappointing the forever delusional Sarah, and making Jason uncomfortable with his dying proclamation, “I love you Jason Stackhouse.” I found myself holding in my breath, waiting for the gunshot in the brilliant tension-filled confrontation between Jason and Sarah. I doubt her freedom will be long-lasting. But I hope she gets in one or two more evil acts before she pays the ultimate price.

As caught up as I was in the whole fantastic revenge slaughter in the Vamp Camp, I felt confused that we only saw one truly sick vampire in a morgue drawer. For the last few episodes we’ve seen most of the vamp camp population down contaminated TruBlood. So why weren’t there more sick vampires?

The half of the episode not devoted to carnage at the vamp camp, Terry’s funeral, was heartfelt and violent-free blah blah. Why did we devote so much time learning the backstory of a character who is already gone through flashbacks? This felt very manipulative, as though the writers were saying, look at this great character whose humanity you never even appreciated until it’s too late. Cry bitches…

Sookie goes public with her telepathy. No one gasped or even looked confused. But anyway her pretty speech about the fact that Terry loved Arlene from the moment he saw her and that Arlene was blessed to be loved like that amused me because she has a man who has loved her since thousands of years before her birth and she doesn’t seem all that appreciative.

Unfortunately there’s only one more episode of this season. I’m hoping mostly for some resolution to the whole decimating vampire plague issue. Okay, I’m hoping mostly for Jason to have a sexy dream about Eric since Eric healed him in the vamp camp, but I’m hoping a little for some resolution to that plague thing.

I’m wondering if Bill is going to survive the season now that Lilith’s bloody goons have already come for him once. And I’m also wondering if Sookie will keep her word to become a fairy vampire queen.

Bill Compton, Jessica, True Blood season six

image source Hollywood.com

What did you think of the ninth episode? Were you moved by the funeral? Did you have a favorite moment of vampire vengeance?

– Dahlia Jane