In the second volume of my Devilchild graphic novel series there's a short story about a Cockney vampire slayer called "Lethal" Lenny Limehouse. The idea was that, at some stage, he would be introduced into the main Devilchild continuity, perhaps as a recurring character. I decided to end Devilchild after its third volume, but the desire to do something else with Lethal stuck around.
In 2005, I ended up writing over 100 pages of a graphic novel called Lethal: He Kills Vampires (the title was a nod to Jake Arnott's He Kills Coppers novel). The story saw Lethal freed from police custody to take on a vicious East End crime family who just happened to be vampires. They'd been building an army of powerful blood-suckers with a drug called "Bite", which boosted a vampire's strength and stamina, and made it invulnerable to the usual list of weak spots (garlic, sunlight etc). The twist was that the people who had freed Lethal were vampires themselves, led by an idealistic and headstrong young woman named Ruby. Despite their initial mutual enmity, she and Lethal made a good team. The story built to a massive final battle and a heartbreaking denouement of which I was rather proud.
Unfortunately, it was never finished, mainly because I thought it would take forever for an artist to actually draw what was becoming an increasingly huge project. I spun-off some of the characters into the Blood Psi one-shot that's coming out in July and consigned Lethal firmly to the back burner.
Recently, I was talking to Blood Psi artist Keith Burns by email about working together on something new and remembered that I'd still got this script knocking about. I pulled it up, read it and was pleasantly surprised. There was some good stuff there. Yeah, some good stuff that sounds a lot like Blade: The Series, which ran for 13 episodes on US TV last year before being unceremoniously axed.
In the show, Blade teams up with Krista Starr, an idealistic and headstrong young vampire out to avenge the death of her brother. There's even a drug – called Ash – featured front and centre in the show, as well as a vaccine called Aurora, which gives vampires heightened strength and speed, as well as eliminating their susceptibility to garlic, sunlight etc.
Of course, similarities are inevitable when you're writing in such an over-fished sea as vampire fiction and, let's face it, Lethal is little more than a British spin on Blade anyway. But I'm still a little sad that Lethal: He Kills Vampires probably won't ever see the light of day as it contains some of the strongest writing I've yet done.
Still, if it teaches me one thing it's to strive to do work that is simply more original in less obvious and over-subscribed genres. I'm taking it on the chin...