Nathan Ohlendorf of www.TheSketchCardStudio.com did this interview with me while we were working on the Luxura Sketch Card Set. I've also posted it here on my site for you readers that may have missed it and to preserve it for posterity.
Nathan's introduction: "I was about 17 when I walked into a local comic shop and decided I wanted to collect something new. Everyone else I knew was collecting X-Men and the Superman books (because of his recent death). I was fed up and tired of reading the same old stuff. I was poking around and found a shelf with some “bad girl” comics (that is what they were called at the time) and there were plenty of them for sure. Only one caught my eye. It was an issue of Vamperotica with Luxura on the cover.
I didn’t know anything about this character nor was I a huge fan of vampires, but the art blew me away so I bought every issue they had. I then found myself on Ebay buying original art by Kirk Lindo, and it was actually the start of my original art collecting. Needless to say I am a fan and was extremely excited to be able to do this project and to be able to ask him to do this interview.
Mr. Lindo, Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for us.
Kirk Lindo : My Pleasure.
How old were you when you first read a comic book and what was it?
Kirk Lindo : My earliest recollection of reading a comic was when I was in 3rd grade. It was a Hulk comic book that my mother bought for me. I have no idea what issue it was but in the comic the hulk was sinking his fingers into solid steel like it was butter and ripping it apart. I remember how incredible I thought that was. I actually said “Wow” out loud. Right then and there I fell in love with the fantastic concepts and visuals that could be found in the pages of comics. I just had never seen anything like it. I think that comics are at their best when they are like that very first one I can remember.
Was that when you decided you wanted to do this as a career?
Kirk Lindo : Oh no, that was much later in life around 4th grade (LOL). I had a friend in 4th grade who liked to draw also. So we started a contest to see who could draw the most comics before the end of the school year. We took two pages of copy paper, folded them in half to make a book and started drawing these little 8 page comics. They had all sorts of crazy stories and characters. Several years later in 8th grade I met another guy who became one of my life long, best friends and we started making comics also. We got real smart by then though. We both worked for the school newspaper so we would make copies of our comics and sell them to our class mates for 50 cents. So I guess my career in making comics started in 4th grade but then I didn’t get into serious publishing until 8th grade (LOL)
At what age did you first start drawing?
Kirk Lindo : My mother always tells the story of me being two years old and laying on the floor and looking intensely at the pictures in books and comics for hours. I of course don’t recall any of that. What I do remember is watching an older cousin of mine draw a picture of a cowboy from the cover of a novel and I was totally amazed at that and started drawing all the time afterwards. That was at the age of 6 if memory serves correctly.
What was your first professional job in Comics and when?
Kirk Lindo : My first professional job in comics was working for Adam Post of Personality Comics in the early 90's. I answered an ad in the news paper looking for comic artists and when I showed up they hired me to draw a comic about Patrick Stewart. They also hired me to be their first editor. The company had great success in the early 90’s publishing biography comics. Later on Adam and I collaborated and created the Spoof Comics line and before moving on I helped them launch the comic imprint know as Triumphant Comics. It was great fun. I learned a lot working there before striking out on my own.
Who were the artists that inspired you in your career?
Kirk Lindo : There are several. Some of my favorites I would have to say are Alphonse Mucha, Drew Struzan, George Petty and Gil Elvgren. Will Eisner who was my instructor in college also was an enormous inspiration to me, not only his work, but his devotion to the comic medium. I can name several more but simply looking at the book shelf in my studio I see that I have several books by all the artists I just named so I’d have to say that they are by far my greatest inspirations and influences.
Obviously you have an affinity for Vampires, what other genres do you enjoy?
Kirk Lindo : Sci-Fi! Not just the new stuff but the really OLD Sci-Fi too. Like the stuff from the 1950’s. I love Science Fiction novels, comics and movies. Especially Star Trek! When I was the editor of Personality Comics we did biographies of several of the original Star Trek actors. I got a chance to meet Deforest Kelly, Walter Keonig and Nichelle Nicholls. That was great fun. I think that when Sci-Fi is done well that it is some of the absolute best entertainment.
Where did you get the inspiration for Luxura?
Kirk Lindo : When I was a teenager I discovered a comic series called John Carter Warlord of Mars drawn by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres. It was based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs series of novels. If any one reading this can ever find those comics the first 10 or 12 issues in particular and fantastic works of art. The illustrations are just breath taking. In the comic there was a beautiful dark haired woman named Dejah Thoris. She was called “the most beautiful woman on two worlds”. Luxura, was inspired from a few different corners of my mind but I’d have to say that visually Dejah Thoris was the image that I always had in my imagination when it came to what would the world’s most beautiful woman look like. In a fantasy comic, at least.
What is your favorite Vampire movie?
Kirk Lindo : There are a few. I would say Bram Stokers Dracula with Gary Oldman, Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire and I also like the Underworld movies. I like the epic scale of them. Oh and From Dusk Till Dawn. I especially like the scene with Selma Hayek. I remember when I saw that in the theater that it really reminded me of Luxura. There are times in the original Vamperotica series where Luxura is performing at one of her clubs and she gets introduced the same way. It was very cool.
What made you decide to do Luxura videos/movies?
Kirk Lindo : The very first model to ever dress up as Luxura is Holly Golightly. She is the wife of Jim Balent and co producer of the Tarot comic book. She dressed up as Luxura at a convention several years ago. The fans really loved it and I then started cultivating the idea of having a professional model pose for Luxura for the comic covers and a card set. By chance my wife and I ran into Julie Strain at the San Diego Comic-Con and my wife commented to her how she would be perfect as Luxura. Fast forward a few weeks and we put it all together into what turned out to be a great photo shoot. What was really cool about it was that the guy who created the live Luxura costume for the photo shoot (Michael Bush) was also the costume designer for Michael Jackson. The video for that was simply a documentation of the photo shoot.
My other foray into films is the Tales from the Bloodvault movie that I wrote and directed. I’ve always had a love for movies and wanted to see if I could do it. The movie I shot is really super low budget. I hired a model (Glorianne Gilbert) to be the lead vampire but everyone else were friends from my local comic store and a few family members. It was great fun and the movie is full of laughs. It’s not an Oscar winner but it’s perfect for a Friday night with friends, beer and pizza.
You were doing Vampires way before they became main stream and watered down. What do you think the appeal is to this new generation that is just discovering Vampire mythology?
Kirk Lindo : I think it’s a number of things; the power, the alluring sexuality and the immortality as well. Vampires have a romantic quality that can also turn dangerous at any moment. I think the movie Lost Boys had the best tag line that made vampires even more appealing. “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire”. Vampires have now become a regular part of the American entertainment landscape. They are in children’s books, romance novels and much more. I wouldn’t call it watered down as much as “expanded”. Now instead of being just the monster or the seductress, Vampires can be as diverse as they want to. I think it is very imaginative what entertainment is doing with the genre.
Does it bother you they way Vampires are portrayed in Moves and TV these days?
Kirk Lindo : Not at all. I think that it’s great that writers now realize what I always believed more than a decade ago. And that is that Vampires are such great subject matter that they can be melted into almost any entertainment genre. I published 50 issues of my Vamperotica comic and my guidelines to the writers were that the stories had to have vampires, they need to be erotic, there must be no gratuitous violence towards women and nothing involving kids, but other than that they could do what ever they wanted. We had science fiction stories, romance, serial killers, and all sorts of stuff. And every story was based on vampires. I believe that vampires are the most versatile fictional characters ever created. Way back when I started publishing my comics I always felt that Vampires were a genre unto themselves and not just an off shoot of monsters or horror. The way things are going with all of the diverse type of stories and characters being produced it seems that I was right.
What do you think is the most appealing thing about Luxura to your fans?
Kirk Lindo : Visually, I would have to say her hair. It’s shape and volume are Luxura’s most unique attribute. After that it would have to be her curvy figure and alluring appeal. Luxura is a temptress, a seducer. But even with that stunning outward beauty you get the feeling that there is some treachery simmering beneath it all. That’s what I wanted to convey in the character from the very first story that I wrote and drew about her. There is the instant visual appeal but then once someone starts to read the stories they realize that Luxura’s world is completely unique to the character. There was a short mini-series called Legends of Luxura and the stories were all completely unique to her world. You couldn’t just take a Luxura story and rework it to feature some other similar type of vampire. I think the fact that she was conceived as much more than a cookie cutter, seduce and bite vampire, is what has kept her appeal all these years.
Do you think The Luxura Sword of The Apocalypse Premium Sketch Card series will reflect that appeal?
Kirk Lindo : Absolutely! I am thoroughly impressed with the work that the Luxura sketch card artists have been doing. Every one of them nailed the look and feel of the character right on the head. Each artist plays to a different aspect of her personality. Some go for the “Sexy Vamp”, others depict her “Ultimate Vampire Queen” status, and them some give her the look of a beautiful but deadly monster. Every time you have sent me a new artist sample, I get a kick out of what they are doing. I have to really give credit to you (Nathan) for picking some really great artists for the card set. When you first contacted me I was not really aware of exactly what a “Sketch Card Set” was. You were very helpful in bringing me up to speed. I was actually skeptical at first but then decided that it might be something really cool and different and now I’m very glad that it’s being done.
Tell us a little bit about “Sword of the Apocalypse.”
Kirk Lindo : S.O.T.A. (as we call it) is a globe spanning adventure about the imminent destruction of the world. Red Reign is coming! The Vampress Luxura embarks on a mysterious plan to control the outcome. The ominous questions is, will the Ultimate Vampire Queen save the world, or just save herself?
S.O.T.A. sprang out of a conversation that my eldest son (Kirk II) and I had back in late 2009. I don’t remember how the conversation started but we somehow got onto the topic of Luxura and the world that I created with all of her supporting characters. My son thought that there was so much potential there for a great story and that we just HAD to do something new with it. From that conversation he and I would get together once a week and hash out story ideas. It was very clear that after the first two or three times that we got together that we had the makings of an epic vampire adventure. We recorded all of our idea meetings which totaled up to about 10 hours. I took everything that we talked about and then began to craft the story that turned into Sword of The Apocalypse. There is an INTRODUCTION BOOK that I wrote about it that would really give you an insider’s look and the journey form the original Luxura comics and publications to the new Graphic Novel. I’m very fortunate in that my two sons are extremely talented, one in writing and the other in art. So I’m not working on this project alone, I’m getting a lot of help.
Is this the final Luxura story?
Kirk Lindo : Wow! Great question Nathan, I honestly don’t know. The way the story is written and the way it ends, it very well could be. This is a full, novel like story in that it has a beginning, middle and a definitive end. If this story turns out the way I see it in my head and the way my son and I have written it. It would be a great way to put my final and most enduring stamp on the Luxura character.
What are you looking forward to the most when the book is released? Fan reaction etc?
Kirk Lindo : My number one goal with this graphic novel right from the very beginning has been to write and produce an engaging story that will entertain readers and really show Luxura and her world the way I have always seen it in my head. I will be very much looking forward to the reaction from people who read the story. I want the characters to come to life and for the readers to want to know what happens next. I’m also hoping to surprise a few people along the way with the things we have in store for the characters. I am a life long comic fan. One of the greatest enjoyments I get from comics is reading a story that really grabs me and takes me somewhere, a story that I want to share with friends just like after you’ve seen a great movie.
What other projects do you have in the works?
Kirk Lindo : S.O.T.A. is the main project that we are working on right now. I’ve put just about everything else that’s been spinning around in my head on hold to concentrate on this. So other than some reprints and repackaging of some of the preexisting Luxura and Vamperotica comics, Sword of The Apocalypse is the project that occupies nearly all of my waking hours. I am completely driven and focused on getting this graphic novel completed.
Will Eisner was your instructor at college? What was that like? It must feel awesome looking back on it.
Kirk Lindo : It was fantastic. His class was the only reason I really wanted to go to the School of Visual Arts. How many chances could you have for one of the pioneers of comics, graphic novels and sequential art to teach you the craft face to face? Will’s class was incredible. He had a simple structure but it was very effective. Will would give out an assignment, such as, “Draw a 3 page adaption of a scene from a movie” we could choose any movie and any scene. We would bring the assignment into class the next week and Will had a huge desk that everyone in the class would gather around to watch him go over the assignments. He would then look it over and tell you what you did right and what you could have done better, all strictly from a story telling point of view. I remember once that he took one guy’s entire first three pages and turned it into one panel. Just amazing!
As the year would go on we would get better and better at it. Towards the end of the year when we were getting more advanced, Will would bring in guest lecturers. We had Frank Miller, Scott McCloud and Chris Claremont visit to the class to name a few. This was great since there was only about 30 of us in the class we were all able to speak with them one on one. We also got to watch movies. I could have done this every single day but there were other classes like art history that I was forced to go to (LOL).
Back to your early work, what did you do after personality comics?
Kirk Lindo : I started doing my own booksas soon as I left Personality Comics. Personality was fun. I got a chance to really learn the publishing business, meet some great people and do some fun work. I enjoyed working on Spoof Comics the most. That was when I got to work with Adam Hughes. He is a great guy. He once sent me about 40 or 50 photocopies of some of his drawings because he knew I was working on improving my female figures. I even got to ink one of his drawings for the cover of the Spoof Comics Swimsuit Special. I did some work for Chaos Comics, Avatar and London Night while I was getting my Vamperotica comics off the ground but for the most part my work appears in my own publications.
As a big fan of Science Fiction and Edgar Rice Burroughs series have you ever thought of doing your own spin on those books in comic form? Or maybe another Space Adventure?
Kirk Lindo : I absolutely want to do some type of space/ sci-fi based comic some day. I keep several sketch books loaded with ideas but nothing has really stood out yet for me to develop into a story or world to play in. I have some random images that keep reoccurring and when it all sort of comes together in my head then I’ll do it. If a great story hits me then I’ll really put it on the fast track. I don’t want to do a purely visual project, when I do a sci-fi comic I want the story to be very strong and entertaining.
If Hollywood was to option Luxura for a Major Motion Picture, what actress could you see filling the role of Luxura?
Kirk Lindo : I really like Monica Bellucci. She is best known for playing the part of Persephone in the Matrix movies. I think she would do a great job. Put the facial talons on her, the gold skulls and red suit and she would nail Luxura dead on! I also like how she sounds. The woman just oozes sensuality but can also be dangerous.
Who would direct this movie?
Kirk Lindo : My first choice would be Ridley Scott, that would be a dream come true. My son Kamron, wants Zack Snyder which I think would be awesome as well.
You obviously had a lot to do with the approval process for artists that are participating on the Luxura Sword of the Apocalypse sketch cards, what do you look for in an artist in relation to the character?
Kirk Lindo : When I look at an artists work I want to see if he or she “gets it” when it comes to the character. First of all you have to get the idea of the hair. That is by far her most recognizable feature. You can have Luxura practically naked but if you do the hair right then you know it’s her. There are also different aspects of Luxura’s personality; Seducer, Collector, Monster or Queen; If the artist can nail one of those aspects, then that works for me. So far all the artists that I have approved have all put the right spin on the hair even though they did it with they’re own style. And they have been able to hit on one or more of her basic personality traits.
Your son will be doing some art and sketch cards for this project, was he an instant fan of your work and comics? Or did he grow to like comics?
Kirk Lindo : I’m really not sure. I do know for sure that Kamron was interested in drawing from a very early age. When he was not even two years old her drew a stick figure of our family dog. I can’t really take credit for his ability other than genetics. He just really has a talent for art. My wife often jokes that his art is better than mine in his teens than I was in my 20’s.
He is actually responsible for Luxura’s return to comics correct? From what I understand he approached you with the idea of her return.
Kirk Lindo : Now you’re talking about my other son Kirk II, and the answer is yes. He is mainly responsible for Luxura’s return. He crafted the story idea that turned into the Sword Of The Apocalypse graphic novel. His co-writing with me on the story has really taken the adventure of Luxura, the other characters and her world to a whole new level. Even now as I’m recalling it he has amazed me with the story and character ideas that he came up with, and I am not easily impressed. I’ve wrote, read and watched so many stories that I often know the outcome of movies about half way through. When a story takes creative twists that throw me surprises I really love it. This is mainly what he did with the S.O.T.A. story. It made me a brand new fan of the characters again and I hope it will do the same for the readers once we start publishing the chapters.
He also composed a Theme Song for this project and it will be used in the Luxura Promo video, what made you decide to make this a big multi media release as opposed to your standard comic release?
Kirk Lindo : Yes, Kirk II also created a theme song for the Graphic Novel. Music is a hobby of his and he instinctively knew that we would be doing some kind of video promotions for the book so he composed and recorded it. We have other multi-media aspects to the graphic novel that will be featured on our website in conjunction with the publishing. I would have to say that the scope of the project is what has caused things to expand beyond the book. Even our approach is different. Early on my son (Kirk II) said to me that I’ve got a 100 million dollar budget in my right hand, which is to say we can do anything we want with the story because it can all be drawn. We are really doing this project like it was a big budget feature film. We are planning out the sets, thinking of characters in the way of which actor would play them and we literally choreograph the action and fight scenes. Creating a good comic story is a craft and if you really give into it, then you can motivate yourself to do your best work.
There are those who are sketch card collectors and will just now be introduced to Luxura for the first time, can you give them a little history on Luxura’s story?
Kirk Lindo : Okay, well I’ll give you one very interesting and completely original aspect that is unique about this character. For more than a thousand years, Luxura has been collecting and storing bottles of blood from humans and vampires from through out history. Her Bloodvault is MASSIVE! It contains the blood of people like Julius Ceasar, Cleopatra, Napoleon and Count Dracula to name a few. This is a thread that has been running throughout just about all of the Luxura stories as well as the Sword Of The Apocalypse graphic novel. You can read many of these stories in the existing Luxura comics. The question that will eventually be answered in the Sword Of The Apocalypse Graphic Novel is why does she do this? Is it just a hobby to pass the centuries or is there a reason behind it all?
Fans can catch up on Luxura stories from your website correct? They can get digital downloads as well as comics?
Kirk Lindo : Yes, just go to www.VampressLuxura.com and you can get both digital and print versions of Luxura’s past adventures, and coming soon will be the all new Sword Of The Apocalypse chapters.
Mr. Lindo Thank You for your time!
Kirk Lindo : My pleasure, Nathan.