When you’re a TV show like True Blood with millions of thirsty fans, you can bet they want to know more about the expanded universe. While not every moment of Bill and Sookie’s romance can be caught on tape, IDW has released a licensed True Blood comic book series to keep you updated on the secret parts of your favorite character’s lives. Though the TV audience might not all be avid comic book readers, the writers and artists are hoping to convert a few newbies to the world of the graphic novel through True Blood, which the writers believe is a “gateway for new comic book readers.”
Writers Mariah Huehner and David Tischman dished about the comic book at the HBO Shop, where you can purchase the True Blood comic as well as any other True Blood gear, and what it’s like having a career writing fan fiction all day long.
Mariah Huehner: We watch the show because the way the license works it’s based on the show’s universe. Although the show’s universe is based on the books, we didn’t wanted to come up with a story of doing something that was too similar to the books and running the fowl of doing that kind of stuff. I think Charlaine Harris does a great job. My mother in law is a huge fan of the books, but we didn’t want to cross wires.
MC: Were you fans of the show before?
David Tischman: One of the great things about True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels is that you can be a fan of one, you can be a fan of the other or you can be a fan of both.
MH: Because you get different things from each one.
DT: And, now with the comics, it’s just another layer of Sookie goodness.
MC: It seems like something that would naturally flow into a comic book. Do you have any intention to do side stories with the comic book?
MH: Yeah. That’s actually what this first story line actually is, to be able to tell back-stories to some of the characters, certain experiences in their lives that have worked along a certain thematic structure. We applied it with (True Blood) Alan Ball, which is really great so we could get what they wanted to do with the characters that they weren’t going to be able to do in the show, so we could actually take the time and tell those stories. So the first one and each subsequent story is going to be like that too – not back-story, but other stories they aren’t able to do on the show so they can, there’s more world expansion and stuff with the comics.
DT: In this first story line we got the chance to talk to Alan Ball about this stuff. The plot is that all the characters are stuck inside of Merlotte over the course of a night and to appease this monster that is in there that is holding them hostage they each have to tell their most shameful secrets. In comic books, it’s not an origin story per say, but it really is the moment of great emotional distress, certainly a defining moment in their lives, but we’ve never really been exposed to that either in the books or on the TV show. So if you are a fan of either one, you are getting sort of new information on the characters. By working with Alan and HBO, who has been great through all of this, the stories that we’re telling the comics are cannon with the TV True Blood universe.
MC: How closely did you work with Alan?
MH: Very. We kind of had a mini writers room. We had Alan and his two head staff writers at the time Elisabeth (R. Finch) and Kate (Barnow), and we sat down with them and there was also one or two other people. We went through the entire plot in that one sitting where we broke down each character, what story they’re going to tell, what moment it was they needed to find and what was going to happen and the overall sort of plot. We kind of figured out where it all fit in the overall series. As most people know the seasons start of up right after each other, this kind of fits in in-between where you can fit it because it’s basically just one night. Yeah, we worked really closely with them, they were great.