If I were thinking ahead, I might have saved these two for sometime near Halloween. Instead, I didn’t:
A young woman was murdered by a vampire and, as one might expect, rose as a vampire herself. But through sheer willpower and hatred she has the strength to oppose the vampire who killed her. That vampire is now the leader of an Eastern-European crime syndicate, so the woman, now called Killshadow, is slaughtering her way through her killer’s army in a bloody swath.
I don’t really have much else to say story-wise, because it is a pretty generic revenge deal. While the easiest inspiration for Killshadow is the 90s-style anti heroes (especially Spawn), but instead of making any kind of comment on those, I’m really trying to comment on the way vampires are treated these days. A lot of people have complained lately about “sparkly” vampires ruining everything, but I’m here to tell you that vampires have been a mess since long before that. Even things that I legitimately enjoy like Blade comics and Buffy the Vampire Slayer treat vampires as hordes of mooks to be mowed down by the hero. What I want is a return to a time when a single vampire was a threat.
Killshadow has ALL the vampire powers. She can turn to a wolf or a bat or to mist. She can flit through the darkness, control vermin and weather, and basically everything the folklore vampires could do. And she is in no way the sexy Vampirella-style vampire. Under that stupid mask she looks total Nosferatu-style. And while her sense of “justice” keeps her killing bad guys (this is still my superHERO-creating year) she does not brood about having to live off blood. She revels in the slaughter of her enemies and enjoys every moment.
Just so you know, I tried about twenty combinations of words like “blood,” “night,” “kill,” “dead,” “dark,” “shadow,” and a bunch of others before I got something that sucked just the right amount and also wasn’t already used too many times.
Built around a portal to the spirit world is the hidden city of Cemeteria. Though the world at large is unaware of the existence of Cemeteria, some supervillain learns about it and, seeking power over life and death, attacks the city. But Queen Deathknell and her army rise to oppose him, saving the day but revealing their presence. Queen Deathknell (Nell to her friends) is a benevolent ruler who maintains order in Cemeteria to keep the world from being overrun by undead, and keeping the afterlife from being corrupted.
It’s pretty common in comics to have rulers of fantastic realms play a big role (You’ve got the Atlantises of Aquaman and Namor, or my favorite, Black Panther‘s Wakanda, just to name a few), so Queen Deathknell is my one of those. I also like to take the imagery of death and treat it as not-evil, which is always nice.