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Thursday, September 03, 2020 

What's Alex deCampi's Dracula comic about, and what's Stephanie Cooke's understanding of classic characters really like?

Newsarama interviewed a woman who's been the subject of much controversy due to her involvement in troublemaking movements like the Whisper Network, about a new graphic novel she's penned at Image called "Dracula: Mother[expletive]", as if we really need more mishmash emphasizing profanity as much as jarring violence. And it sounds like it could be concocted as male-bashing metaphors:
De Campi spoke with Newsarama ahead of the book's launch about her and Henderson's take on Dracula, the theme of powerful men in society, and the deeper exploration of horror they've undertaken.
Getting fishy already, and gets more into detail here:
Nrama: One thing I thought was interesting was that Dracula wasn't this man, but here he's like a force of dark nature almost. Something intangible but horrifying.

In the back matter, you talk about inspirations and the visuals you wanted to go for, why was it important to show Dracula in this way instead of like another Peter Cushing or Bela Lugosi carbon copy?

De Campi: Oh god, why do anything that’s been done before? Beyond the fact that, as per Cocteau’s Orphée, all any of us are doing are writing down our own misheard versions of the words of our dead predecessors. Look, it’s not the man that’s scary. Look at powerful men. They’re almost all just laughably unattractive.

It’s the power itself that’s terrifying, so I wanted to distill Dracula to that.

A more disembodied, inchoate evil is something a lot of Japanese horror manga and anime have played with very successfully, and it felt right to do in this context.
I'm sure a lot of mangakas could do a story like this far more successfully than she ever could too. Problem: she makes no distinction between which "powerful" men are good or bad, whether it's a more decent businessman like Sheldon Adelson, or a reprehensible one like George Soros. What's funny is that often, it's a man who takes out the wallet to pay for what a left-wing feminist wants, yet deCampi's reply to the interviewer suggests she remains an ingrate.
Nrama: Let's talk about Quincy Harker because the name in Stoker's novel, he's mentioned in a note at the end being Jonathan and Mina's son. He's named after all four members of the Dracula hunting party and we're never really sure of his fate. Here, he's like a paparazzo vulture, surviving (professionally) off the dead with crime scene photos.

You mentioned it's more of a riff than anything, but just like Jonathan, he stumbles upon vampires while essentially on the job. What would you say they also had in common? Maybe their biggest differences?

De Campi: The parallel was more between Dracula and Quincy than Jonathan and Quincy.

Quincy is another nocturnal creature, in a real way living off Los Angeles’ dead. No close friends; nobody to miss him if he vanishes. Anyone who works night shifts knows what a weird displacement it is to be up when everyone else is down, and vice versa. It’s distancing in itself, even more before the advent of social media.

I don’t want to go into a long literary discussion of Jonathan Harker because I don’t want people to feel like they have to be familiar with Stoker’s book before reading Dracula, Motherf**ker, because they absolutely don’t.
Gee, I wonder why she wouldn't want anybody to read a classic horror thriller that provided her with a source of inspiration? Maybe because it's so ideologically influenced, it'd pale alongside Bram Stoker's classic thriller. Her response suggests she's not interested in promoting other people's literature other than her own. Not very altruistic, is she? If she won't encourage reading Stoker's book, one can only wonder at this point if it's because...he's a man? Hmm. In that case, why draw "inspiration" from his work?
Nrama: Setting this in LA in the '70s had me feeling it more like a throwback action movie with maybe some The Shiver of the Vampires mixed in for those colors, but at the same time, it's also a love story in the worst way. How do you see this story?

De Campi: It’s a story about power.
In a good or bad sense, and coming from which gender? Does she also put down the concept of romance? I'm not sure, but I do know this is not the kind of material that appeals to me, and that's why I'd rather avoid whatever she's selling, because it sounds way too ideologically driven, something Stoker's classic was far from being.

Since we're on the topic of somebody who's been a Whisper Networker, I did some research into past writings of Stephanie Cooke, she who'd been accused of embezzling from Bill Willingham, and found this old list of year's bests she wrote on Talking Comics from the end of 2012 that I thought could give an idea just how really expert and dedicated she is to comics history. Take for example, what she says about Aquaman as written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis:
I absolutely adored this take on Aquaman. I’ve truthfully never read anything Aquaman before, aside from his appearances in other things that I’ve read, but I still knew little to nothing about the character and previous story arcs. I was able to jump on board with the series and fully embrace it for everything that it was. The art is great, the story is fantastic and it’s definitely worth checking out, if you haven’t already.
Honestly, anybody whose historical knowledge is that sparse about such famous creations and only "jumps on" with such a very new story written by one of the most overrated writers of the past 2 decades can't possibly be very reliable or trustworthy, though that's been a rather moot point in her case.

Here's also what she says about Animal Man, as written by Jeff Lemire:
Jeff Lemire managed to put together the most perfect comic for the DC New 52 with Animal Man. The character was absolutely someone I never would’ve read before the series reboot and not because I had anything against Buddy Baker, but mostly because I didn’t know he existed and wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. Lemire made the series perfect to jump onto and the art perfectly suited Lemire’s writing style. Lemire also managed to write in several fantastic supporting characters such as Buddy Baker’s wife, son and daughter. If you could only choose one DC New 52 title to read, I would pick this one.
My my, so she wouldn't have read Animal Man before either, not even Grant Morrison's take, despite his own leftism? Actually, she probably would, if she knew more about folks like that who're just as left-leaning as she is. I've guessed that was one of the reasons J. Michael Straczynski got as far as he did with Spider-Man years before, besides his being a fairly prominent TV and film writer; his left-liberal bias was poking through the seams in a few of the Spidey stories he wrote. 2004's Sins Past storyline is what served as a wakeup call to why JMS' writings weren't really worth their weight in gold. Since Lemire's politics are so in synch with hers, I can't say I'm surprised she'd back his work in such a jiffy. She also put forth her "thoughts" on the Batwoman book written by JH Williams:
Batwoman is phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. This is worth picking up for JH Williams III’s art in it initially. It eventually changes over to Amy Reeder, who is still good, but yeah. JH Williams III then jumps into the writer’s seat and does a pretty bang up job of making it swell. My only nitpick with it is that despite being incredible, it doesn’t entirely stick with the philosophy of the whole reboot for the DC New 52. It spends a lot of time referring back to Batwoman: Elegy, so in that sense, it wasn’t a proper reboot for me. To be fair, the only real book that you need to be familiar with to REALLY enjoy the series though is Batwoman: Elegy, so there’s that. Nitpick’s aside: go read Batwoman. Kate Kane is a hot, ass-kicking lesbian who don’t take no sh*t from nobody.
Coming from somebody who clearly never did historical research on anything, that's got to be saying tons, right down to how she uses profanity. Yes, seriously. She even had the following to say about the man whose dough she fleeced:
You might know that I now work as Bill Willingham’s personal assistant and sometimes when I recommend Fables, people seem to think that I’m recommending it because I’m biased. I read Bill’s stories long before I ever knew him or had even met him or spoken to him.

I want to set the record straight. My opinions are not for sale. Bill is my friend and my boss but he’s also a great inspiration to me and I owe him much more than lying to people about his work to get people to read it. That’s not my job and I would quit if I was ever asked to compromise my opinion to promote something that I didn’t genuinely enjoy.
I wonder if she also read that disgusting story he wrote in Batman: War Games where Spoiler was tortured with a drill by Black Mask? Or the followup storyline where Dr. Leslie Thompkins "revealed" she let Stephanie Brown die to teach Bruce Wayne a lesson, completely violating the rules of her medical profession? And how come Cooke didn't think to ask whether it contradicts what Willingham wrote in Fables? In any event, I'm sure these "opinions" of hers aren't genuine, even as they're seemingly "diplomatic", and likely biased depending on their politics. And she has lied to people about how she handled business with Willingham, among other matters, though that's already old news.

I also took a look at TC's about section, where she's listed as a former podcasting host. I'm guessing they understandably had to part ways with Cooke, since the charges against her are a source of embarrassment, and would make it difficult to continue associations, even as some publishers may still be willing to print her work. It's interesting to note that Cooke attacked fellow Canadian Blake Northcott a few months ago, over the latter's sex-positive viewpoints (and associations with Sean Gordon Murphy), proving feminists like the former are equally capable of targeting other women they don't agree with. It backfired on Cooke, and for a short time after, she locked up her Twitter account, as she was probably worried about the attention it brought her, since this is somebody who's facing criminal charges for embezzlement in the US, for which she should be extradited.

And I guess this could all give an idea how phony the perspectives of people like deCampi and Cooke can actually be, right down to how they're the kind of authors who only care about their own work, and not that of others. One more reason why you needn't waste your money on their storytelling.

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De Campi: Oh god, why do anything that’s been done before?

I've alway resented how the big company executives decided to pander to the SJWs. It's possible, however,that the wahman centric, SJW, milk shake girls era of comics was purposely implimented by the "smart" executives at the top as a palate cleaner after superhero comics had been over exposed for too long. At some point, trad supers will be making a come back to a new audience. If I'm wrong, then comics per se, will die. That happened to newspaper comic strips in the 60s and they never recovered.

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