Philip Shorey and Curse of the Vampire

Back in June I interviewed Philip Shorey about his participation in the May Day Parade, and his new book Kill Your Art. What you don't know, is there was another project that didn't make it into the final blog post. Philips comic book, Curse of the Vampire. At the time Philip and I decided that the interview should focus on Kill Your Art. We decided to save this part of the interview for early October. I think it was the right decision.  Here is the missing part of the interview.

Mike: I see you’ve come out with this comic book called Curse of the vampire. I love creepy things. I visited the Del Toro Exhibit here in Minneapolis this summer.  For that reason alone, I’m drawn to read this thing – but what makes this story different?

Philip: It’s a vampire comic about Jesus. It doesn’t romanticize the vampire like modern vampire stories do. Vampires are everywhere today, in pop culture, but its like “Oh the poor vampire. They’re stuck between life and death.” And the vampire is this glamorous kind of thing. It can live forever - locked in its youth. So in this story, and in early stages of vampire folklore vampires were seen as pure evil. As dark creatures of the night to be feared, terrible beasts. That’s how vampires are portrayed in Dracula, and Nosferatu. It’s not your modern cultural perspective on vampires.

So when I watched Nosferatu as a kid, I saw it, and I just, for some reason, saw the Gospel very vividly in that film. Its that old classic horror 1922 movie. German expressionist film Nosferatu, I just saw the Gospel in it, and I wanted to do something with that concept. I left it alone for many years.  A couple of years ago, I saw it again, with a live ensemble. I really didn’t like how the music portrayed the vampire, at least, I didn’t like how the music portrayed the woman. So what you get in this film is, you get this woman who really has this christ like character because she offers herself to the vampire to get rid of the vampire. To save the village from its curse. To save her love John harker. So then, once the vampire is seduced by this willing sacrifice, he forgets about the sun, and so the next morning he’s destroyed. So once the vampire is destroyed, all that were under his curse are set free from his spell.  So its like, the cross? She willingly gives herself to the vampire.  The resurrection and then death is destroyed, and now the curse of sin is lifted off of everybody. And so then the relationship is restored between her and the community and John Harker – her loved one. So, I didn’t really change anything. I partnered with an artist in Brazil, and he didn’t know any English – we used Google translate to talk about everything, we’d never met before. It was a very beautiful relationship that we formed. He’s a Christian guy. He came out of the Goth Metal scene in Brazil, and he has this incredible talent of using this very Tim Burtonesque and Edger Allen Poe style of art and drawing, and he didn’t know where to use it for the Gospel. He wants to do something for Christ, but your normally not going to see that kind of style in a bulletin at church, you know?

So he was struggling. And it’s amazing you know, because I had the same problem, I used to write lots of creepy circus music and I loved it, but I didn’t know how God could ever use that. Until he introduced me to an evangelistic circus that was trying to develop, and it was the perfect fit for my creepy circus music. But anyway, we worked together, and we put this comic together, and I wrote it, I produced it, we printed it and its available on Etsy, you can search for “Curse of the Vampire” and you can buy it in bulk. The idea is that you buy 50 copies at Halloween and hand them out to Trick or Treaters. Or just have them in your pocket, because, its just this beautiful comic where you can just give it to someone and say “hey do you want a vampire comic” and they’ll be like “yeah”. They’ll read the vampire, I mean it’s not for everybody – but for certain people who are most jaded by Christianity pretty much. But they’ll read the comic and they’ll realize, “Oh, what’s this all about? it’s beautiful, its entertainment, its artful?” you know, “what’s this all about, this is interesting? What did the director mean by all of this?” And then they’ll naturally be intrigued to read the Gospel message, and read the parallels – how it ties in. There’s scripture, and there’s an invitation at the end. There’s a place for a little message by the person that is giving it out. Or you can tell people, “here is a vampire comic about Jesus, do you want it?”  And most of the time they’ll say yes, because they’re so intrigued, and that just seems so strange – they want to see what its all about. So, we’ve handed it out at ComicCon, Metal shows, in the street corners, leaving them at lobby’s, for businesses, with all the other magazines . And we’ve had people just look at, for an hour, over an hour, just read the Gospel message over and over – just soaking it in. It’s just going to connect with people in a way they won’t get in a church, they won’t go to a church. They’ll see a tract and they’ll see “oh, it’s about Jesus” and they’ll throw it away. So this is going reach people, and hook them in, because its beautiful, it speaks their language. This is like Paul on Mars Hill to the “T,” right now. Speaking their language, finding those Gospel themes in their culture, and then using their story to share with them who Jesus really is. . .

If you are on Facebook, you can like Philip's Curse of the Vampire page (here).
If you'd like to order copies you can connect to his Etsy page (here).

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