NYCC 2010: 'True Blood' Comic Kicks Off New York Comic Con!

True BloodBy Kristen Shalbinski

Has your thirst for "True Blood" been quenched yet? Well, I sure hope not — because HBO and IDW Publishing hosted a little New York Comic Con "True Blood" party last night in honor of the release of the fourth issue in their comic book series, complete with "Fangbanger" drinks, blood-red cupcakes, and yes, a plentiful supply of bottle "True Blood" beverages. (Not an actual blood substitute, by the way.)

Costumes from the television series were also on display, still sporting bloodstains from the show.

After checking out all the "True Blood" goodies, I spoke with the writers from the comic book series, David Tischman and Mariah Huehner.

MTV NEWS: What makes the "True Blood" comic series stand out from the TV series?

MARIAH HUEHNER: That’s a great question, because actually we were just talking about this. We’re able to do things visually that you can’t really do on the show. We happen to have a monster that’s on a scale that I don’t think the show has been able to do yet.

DAVID TISCHMAN: I think that the premise for the comic is that all the characters are trapped inside Merlotte’s over the course of a night, and they’re trapped by this monster that you wouldn’t really see on TV, who can rip somebody’s head off and throw it across the room. What the monster is demanding is that each of them tell this story that is their most emotionally shameful moment.

HEHNER: And the show is so phonetic and fast and they don’t always have time to do some of those other emotional, longer stories. But with the comic, we have a little more time to do that and we can really take the time and kind of open up and see who the characters are and where they are coming from. That's one of the things I don’t think the show has been able to do yet, so that was really nice to have those and have them allow us to do that.

MTV: How do you come up with fresh ideas for the comic?

HUEHNER: Honestly, a lot of it was [Alan Ball and the show's writers], they really came up with a great sort of starting point: this idea of trapped in Merlotte’s. It really allowed us to get into these characters and have them stuck someplace were they couldn’t get away from each other, when they really had to focus, and I think that really made it a fresh take. I mean, the show itself obviously has a lot of key emotional moments, and we could just expand on those and get to places that they probably won’t have time to go totally into that moment — and I think that’s what we really got to do there.

TISCHMAN: It is a license, [and] it is based on a TV show that is on the air right now, but there are things that comic books do that make them comic books and there are things that TV series do that make them TV series. As comic book writers, we do think in that box and we were able to talk about how that box would work with the TV box and compliment each other really well, without getting in the way.

MTV: What was the collaborative process like working with Alan Ball?

HUEHNER: We got to meet with him and they were in the middle of doing the show, and they took a couple of hours out to meet with us and sit down and make sure the story really gelled. They came in with some ideas and we sort of bounced them back and forth, and we all kind of decided on different takes that would work. We got together and we put together the outline and they went, "Yes. No. Yes. No." kind of thing, and then he went through all the scripts and gave us notes. He’s really great, and he’s given us so much freedom to do the things that we need to do, but also points out when it doesn’t work, when it doesn’t quite work, and when it doesn’t quite feel like a character — which, you need that, honestly.

TISCHMAN: The notes have been incredibly productive and really smart, and these are his characters and he knows where they’re going —but as Mariah said, he’s been very, very generous in letting us do what we need to do.

Click on the photo below for a gallery of images from the New York Comic Con "True Blood" comic launch party!

True Blood

"True Blood" #4 hits shelves this month. Want to win one of the "True Blood" costumes? Head over to the HBO Shop for your chance to take home an authentic piece of "True Blood" history!

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