Fans of DC Comics might remember a certain ’90s crossover called Bloodlines, which gave us the Blood Pack and Garth Ennis’ beloved satire Hitman. But we haven’t seen the Bloodlines crew much since the new millennium, something DC plans to change with a new horror focus in the upcoming Bloodlines #1. We spoke to writer J.T. Krul about reviving, and changing, a unique piece of DC lore.
Bloodlines is a fun, but somewhat obscure, bit of DC continuity. Were you familiar with it at all before you started writing the book?
Krul: I was indeed. I remember the original story playing out in the pages of the DC annuals back in the ’90s. And, in putting this story together, I went back and reread all of it. That being said, our new Bloodlines story really takes the core concept of the original — people being infected by aliens and getting powers as a result — and tells a very different kind of story. A horror story. That’s what V. Ken Marion and I approached DC about doing. This isn’t a superhero story. This is a Lovecraftian story.
What made you decide to focus the entire book in a small town?
We wanted the story to be contained in a small setting — almost like an Outbreak story before it goes global. We could have blown it up bigger and included a military response and a superhero response to the carnage, but we wanted to focus on the characters in the small town as they struggle with a very deadly alien threat. They don’t have anybody to turn to right now. They are on their own. That isolation really ups the tension.
Just how many Bloodlines characters are we going to see? I spot Razorsharp, Gunfire, Sparx, and Loose Cannon on the cover…
You’ll see a good handful of them, yes. Loose Cannon, Razorsharp, Gunfire, Sparx, and a little homage to Argus in there, as well as a few other returning and new faces. Wait until you see Anima. Not as many of them appeared in all the annuals, but then again this is really just the beginning in my mind.
The angle here is that our heroes are infected by an alien parasite. What made you choose that and how is that going to affect the characters?
I really like the notion of people being attacked from the inside out. Not to get too real-world on this, but I liken it a bit to the many friends and family in my life who have suffered with cancer. This idea that there is something inside you — something trying to kill you that is almost impossible to fight. And, we take that threat to the next level, because for the characters in the Bloodlines story, they are becoming threats to themselves, as well as those around them. One of the driving forces is this dilemma of knowing that you are a ticking time bomb — someone that can turn at any moment. That’s the reality for our characters, and the question is: What will they do with that knowledge?