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More Than a Few Words with ‘True Blood: Tainted Love’ Writer Michael McMillian

As both the evangelical anti-vampire rights activist Rev. Steve Newlin on HBO’s True Blood and the writer of its companion comic Tainted Love, Michael McMillian is a huge player in the incredibly popular series. Known also for his own title LUCID, McMillian is no stranger to the world of comics. I recently got the chance to ask the writer a few questions, and his answers don’t suck – eh? Right? Sigh…

PA) Have you always wanted to write comics? When did the interest start?

MM) Probably the first time I read an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. I've been reading comics for as long as I can remember, starting with the Spidey Super Stories in The Electric Company Magazine subscription my mom got me when I was little. I read the comics in the newspaper every morning before school. But I started "collecting" comics – you know, really getting into it – in the third grade with The Amazing Spider-Man. I wrote and drew comics growing up, so it's always been something I wanted to do.

PA) What were some of your favorite titles/characters growing up?

TB 4MM) Micheline and McFarlane's Amazing Spider-Man was my absolute favorite. Next up would be John Byrne's Fantastic Four, which I collected from the back-issue bins from Clint's South Comics and just poured over. The original ClanDestine series by Alan Davis was a cult favorite... I re-read that series over and over again. Others include Ron Marz's Silver Surfer and Green Lantern runs, Mark Waid on Captain America and Flash, and Grant Morrison's JLA.

PA) How has your time acting with the True Blood cast helped in writing Tainted Love?

MM) Well, it just makes the characters more present, really. When you've actually had the opportunity to interact with some of these characters in the flesh, it makes channeling them on the page a bit easier. I've been doing my best while working with Marc Andreyko to make the dialogue from the True Blood comic feel speakable. If I could imagine Anna Paquin or Alexander Skarsgard saying a given line from the comic at a cast table read, then I knew we had it. If not, it needed to change.

PA) Will we see more of Steve Newlin in the upcoming season? Any hints?

MM) Members of the Fellowship of the Sun show up in the second episode of Season 4 during a protest outside of Fangtasia. If you look closely, you'll see some of them are carrying signs with Steve's face on them that read, "Where is Steve Newlin?" Let the speculation begin!

PA) The LUCID hardcover was released just recently. Is that title more personal for you than True Blood?

MM) I'm not sure it's more personal...True Blood is very close to my heart. But the world of LUCID and its characters are almost entirely in my hands, whereas I've gotten permission to play with True Blood – it's not "mine," as Bill the Vampire might say. I suppose there is a lot of me in Matthew Dee, our hero in LUCID. His relationship with the mystical Ariah for instance (which I'd like to get into in subsequent volumes) came out of frustrations I was going through at the time over a long-distance relationship I was in. She also represents that dream that one follows in their life, whether it's to become an actor, or a musician, or a doctor... and how that relationship with one's dream can be both beneficial and damning. Matthew takes himself too seriously, expects too much from himself, which I often do. So yeah, I guess LUCID is more personal. I take it all back.

PA) Any more future comic titles we can look forward to?

MM) I'm working on a few things. Hopefully there will be some announcements at San Diego Comic Con next month. But, yes... I'm here as long as comics will have me!

You can follow Michael on Twitter @McMillzz, as well as his 'LUCID, the comic book' and 'Michael McMillian' fan pages on Facebook
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**Be sure to pick up True Blood: Tainted Love #5 on shelves Wednesday, June 28th**

TB 5 

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