"How far would you go to keep your love alive? This is the central question of Girlfiend. Love can be blind but relationships are work. Especially one that requires feeding your vampire girlfriend on a regular basis. For everyone who has had a love that feels like an unstoppable freight train, there seems like no end to where you might go to ensure the love of your life remains content. But this unconditional state of mind can be a slippery slope when the going gets rough and you find yourself asking, "Wait, how did I get here?
Jacob and I originally wrote Girlfiend as a screenplay, and were drawn to explore the vampire genre as a contemporary romantic crime thriller. Stripping away the gothic iconography and embracing the raw grit of city life, our vampire story of love against the odds unfolds in a noir landscape where a mortal is faced with the dilemma of carrying on a "normal" relationship with an adorable blood-sucking predator.
Girlfiend is an analogy for when love takes hold and irrational impulses awaken. Is it possible to have a vampire girlfriend without letting go of your own moral compass? Love has a funny way of leading one into uncharted territory and in the case of Nick and Karina, both embrace the chaos that comes with their unlikely pairing that ultimately tests the boundaries of their love.
Karina and Nick are dealing with the cards that life has dealt them. Fate brought them together - two people from opposite sides of the track whose chemical attraction ignites passion from deep within and invites confrontation from everyone outside their intimate world. Theirs is a pure and righteous love, that is beautiful and intolerable, enviable and unsustainable, perfect and impossible.
We usually know when we are embarking on a journey into the alluring realm of romance that it may be a risky detour from the path of reason, but sometimes when you get onboard that freight train called love, there is no looking back. "
- Arnold Pander
While many comics fans will remember the Pander Brothers from their last big collaborative project — the “Batman: City of Light” eight-issue miniseries in 2004 — others may know them better for their independent projects like “Triple-X” or “Exquisite Corpse.” Although the brothers recently put their comics online at PanderBrosComics.com for new audiences to enjoy — the duo spent most of the last decade busy working together in film. Their movie “Selfless” debuted at Comic-Con International in 2009, and their short film “Subtext” is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit. -By Steve Sunu
With “Girlfiend,” the Pander Brothers hope to bring readers a new twist on vampires, telling a pulp romance whose roots go back to well before the vampire craze hit with “Twilight” and “True Blood.” When a young vivacious vampire girl heads to the big city to find her soulmate, she runs into a young, depressed morgue attendant and the two find themselves entangled in a conflict involving the city’s criminal underworld.
CBR News spoke with Jacob and Arnold Pander about their return to comics collaboration, the main focus of “Girlfiend,” how their process has changed over the years, their experience directing and developing film projects and more.
Guys, tell me a bit about “Girlfiend” — what’s the core concept of the graphic novel and how did the idea develop?
Jacob Pander: The core concept is a pulp romance in the vampire genre. We always wanted to do a vampire story. We had just written a Batman series and we were wanting to do something back in our core, in a way.
Arnold Pander: An urban story.
Jacob Pander: Yeah, an urban tale, with a classic conflict. We wanted to use the vampire genre as an analogy for a complicated relationship in that the female protagonist is the vampire and the male protagonist as a mortal. They’re trying to find their way through a love-at-first-sight instant romance that is, by nature, going to be extremely complicated to sustain. In terms of the setup and the premise, it’s about a very bubbly, vivacious runaway vampire who comes to the big city to live a normal life, find a boyfriend and live the magazine life.
Arnold Pander: She wants to find her soulmate, her Match.com ideal mate, almost in idealistic denial of what she is.
Jacob Pander: In that sense, it’s like trying to conform to the norms of society. The boyfriend is more the goth type, the depressed, heartbroken loner type that you would think would be the vampire – but he’s the guy who’s thrust into this space of trying to figure out where the limits of his moral barometer are, as he’s falling head over heels for this young vampire.
Arnold Pander: She basically needs to feed on a regular basis, and without giving away too much, he — the character, Nick — works in a morgue, so at the beginning of the story, he tries to facilitate as much as he can without, as Jacob said, crossing that moral ethical line. Like relationships themselves, you can be pushed into areas that are what we might see as compromises, or pushing us out of our comfort zone. This is on a whole new level, though.
It sounds like you’re both pretty excited about the book, and rightfully so. This is your first major comics work in nearly ten years.
Jacob Pander: Yeah, well — together, collaboratively. The last big collaboration we did was “Batman: City of Light” for DC. Arnold has done a big project in between — “Tasty Bullet” with Jonathan Vankin — a manga-inspired homage.
Arnold Pander: It was a conspiracy thriller revolving around an energy drink. “Girlfiend” is really us coming back to our core collaboration.
Jacob Pander: For the last four years or so, just with the advent of the digital publishing side, we decided to re-release our back catalogue of work. We started a site called PanderBrosComics.com, and that’s kind of re-engaged us with the comic book publishing world, and reconnecting with the core fan base that we had, and helping us re-introduce ourselves in a large part to the comic book world. I think with “Girlfiend,” it’s a story that we’ve really been wanting to tell, so it just felt right.
Arnold Pander: And it felt right to do this at Dark Horse. We engaged with Mike Richardson out at Dark Horse, and they’re going through some of their own changes out there. It just seemed like good timing to do a project like this, it seemed like a good fit.
Check out the full interview with the Pander Brothers on CBR!