With a new episode of Ligeia now available on ROK Comics, creator Rodrigo D. Ricci has revealed more about the background to the character in a posting for the strip's Facebook page. What follows is a translation/adaptation of Rodrigo's posting, which is in Spanish...
Ligeia was created in the summer of 2006 in Italy, inspired by the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. The plan was that this vampire "with a touch of irony", drawn in a style echoing the work of Alex Toth and Frank Miller, would be the kind of work an Italian publisher interested in publishing a graphic novel by Rodrigo would like.
Unfortunately, neither of the two projects were realized and have been buried on Rodrigo's computer for some time. Then, when he put some of the pages of comicspace.com, a lot of people told him that they liked the character.
Ligeia is inspired by various sources. Poe first, mainly to capture as much as possible the environment with the use of black and white in high contrast. There's also elements of the Lovecraft, especially his lesser known work "Medusa's Coil" ( by Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, read it online), more than anything because Ligeia's hair moves in a lively, bizarre way.
The strip also pays homage to movies like La Maschera del Demonio), directed by Lamberto Bava, more than anything because of the use of black and white in that film.
Physically, Ligeia is a blend between Barbara Steele and Edwige Feneche and other actresses of the Golden Age of film.
Rodrigo decided to make Edgar a pet cat to avoid the horrible cliches of Igor in some bad movies. As a character it works well: cats have an extraordinary personality. "They do not need to interpret any role, since they are the role," he says.
The story comes with the Nazis after reading the book Hanussen, a Jew in the court of the Third Reich. Rodrigo was astonished by this bizarre character, a Jew who was the magician of many senior Nazis, but hated by Gobbels who considered him a charlatan. Hanussen believed in The Temple of the Uunseen, but made the mistake one night at a party having a vision and predicting that a building would be burned, causing a major sea change in the Weimar Republic.
One day later someone set fire to the Reichstag and Hitler came to power. Shortly afterward, Hannusen was found shot dead in a park. (more about Hannusen here on Wikipedia. Werner Herzog made a movie about him in 2001 starring Tim Roth, and there have been others).
There is a definite morality to the comic although Rodrigo leaves the reader to choose whose morality they favour. Ligeia is a vampire, so in theory, evil. On the other side are the Nazis sent by Himmler, and those who might be the traditional heroes are a band of mercenaries, all united bya desire to loot the gold of the vampire.
"This series was born at time of many changes," says Rodrigo. "Gradually, publishers are leaving paper behind and transferring their attention to the massive audience potential of the web cell phones and the iPhone."
Any decision on the quality of the strip Rodrigo leaves in you hands, cordially inviting you to read... Ligeia!