Back in October, Mike Mignola and artist Rachele Aragno released Leonide the Vampyr: Miracle at the Crow’s Head. The story saw the titular vampyr wash ashore in a quaint and quiet town for a tale that was as spooky as it was charming. Now, the duo have another story of Leonide’s adventures — and this one’s just in time for the holidays.
Similar to Crow’s Head, Leonide the Vampyr: A Christmas for Crows, follows a few honest mountain folks as they come upon a tiny coffin in a carriage wreck — only to realize they’ve discovered something darker than they could’ve ever bargained for. Not only does this story continue Leonide’s story, but we also learn more about a skeleton priest and some other spooky delights.
To gain some more into the project, I spoke to Aragno recently via email. She shared insights into working with Mignola, what’s in store for A Christmas for Crows, and whether or not we might get another adventure with Leonide down the road.
AIPT: Did you and Mignola plan to do one one-shot after another, or did this second one-shot sprout up organically?
Rachele Aragno: I think it was a very smooth process for Mike. I received the two subjects close together. Leonide’s first adventure introduced her to us and made us understand what kind of character she was and how she moved in her adventures. The second was important to go deeper and better understand her relationship with the world in which she lives and with the priest. They were two deeply connected stories.
AIPT: What are we in store for with Leonide: A Christmas for Crows?
RA: A classic Christmas story with ghosts and lots of spooky weather. You can feel the warmth of the fireplace and the smell of dinner made of many delicacies, but also the smell of a long-closed house overlooking the ocean, full of fascinating creatures. You will also get to know a new side of Leonide, and I think this will blow your mind.
AIPT: Why can’t Leonide catch a break and slumber in peace?!
RA: Because she’s a creature of the night in search of souls, and—even if she’s not the classic vampire who spreads violence and blood everywhere—she needs to feed… and she’s still a child!
AIPT: What is it like working with Mignola, do you work off his scripts, is it a loose outline, are there layouts started on his end or yours?
RA: Meanwhile, working with Mike is definitely a dream come true… I was very tense the first time I had to translate his script into images. Because he is a master, and who would want to disappoint him? I worked very hard not to do it, and I hope I succeeded. Then he sent me a script, not too tight. He described to me what he wanted to see on a given page and left me free to design the page as I wanted and follow the direction I thought was best. This gave me a lot of strength and knowing that he trusted my judgment made me very happy.
AIPT: Leonide: A Christmas for Crows is a macabre Christmas tale, do you have any favorite forms of fiction to get you into the macabre holiday spirit?
RA: A Christmas Carol is one of my favorites. It recreates exactly the atmosphere I love for this period with a touch of darkness inside. But I also love the stories of Joyce, Lovecraft, Jerome, Carroll, Barrie, Alcott, and Hawthorne, for example. Each of them has written at least one ghost story for the Christmas season. I think the period, so intimate and warm, that gathers us in the house with the snow outside makes us want to fill it with terror is propitious.
AIPT: You drew and colored Mel the Chosen beautifully. What has it been like with Dave Stewart coloring our work with Leonide?
RA: It was wonderful! I was very excited to know that another person would color something of mine because it had never happened before. Finding out that it was indeed Dave, one of the most talented colorists ever, made me jump to the clouds. He was able to approach my style and make my drawings even more beautiful while maintaining his signature style. The colors are dark and gloomy, but then Leonide appears, with her unnatural pallor that makes her face stand out and capture you.
AIPT: What was your favorite panel or page you drew in Leonide: A Christmas for Crows?
RA: The moment when Leonide is serene in her room reading a book. She gave me the feeling of having humanized the little vampire. In that moment she is just a young girl who relaxes and probably doesn’t think about anything. The shutters ajar, the dusty carpet and her armchair immerse me in a moment suspended in time with her.
AIPT: Say it ain’t so, Leonide: A Christmas for Crows feels like an ending, but might we see more of Leonide or more collaborations with you and Mike Mignola?
RA: I hope so with all my heart! For now I have no news on this front, but it would be great to work with Mike again on our Leonide… I hope readers fall in love with it and ask us again and again.
AIPT: Do you have any other projects coming soon you can talk about?
RA: I’m working on Melvina’s third book (Mel the Chosen in America), a secret project with Matteo Casali, and some other little things that I hope will come true soon!
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