Next month Mateus Santolouco takes on AMERICAN VAMPIRE. Today, I have a conversation with him and ongoing series artist Rafael Albuquerque. Let’s get right to it. How long have you known each other? RA: We met in 2006, when my studio got a big deal of comic production for a Middle Eastern company and I was looking for help. A common friend introduced us and we’ve been working since then. MS: Yeah, that's pretty much it. _____ Mateus, when did you start drawing and when did you know you wanted to work in comics? Tell us what it’s like to work on your first full issue of a U.S. comic book. MS: As most professional artists I know I've always drawn. And I've always loved storytelling as well. So when I was a teenager I did some trash movies and comics’ fanzines. It all began there. Actually American Vampire is not my first full issue for the U.S. Comics industry. I did several books for Boom! Studios just as a mini-series for Marvel. But I'm really pleased to be working on a Vertigo title for the first time. Especially cause I've been practicing :) and I like to believe I'm much better now. _____ Rafael, what’s it like to see the characters you brought to life from issue #1 drawn by one of your studio-mates? RA: Mateus has been my friend and co/worker for a long time, and Its really nice to see an artist that i admire working on characters I helped create. Especially after creating “Mondo Urbano” together at Oni, he has proven to be one of the these guys who can bring the right mood and understand storytelling like just a few do, so, when Mark approached me to discuss the guest artists for the book, that’s what we were looking for. Different and fresh new looks at our universe. _______ Mateus, where did you draw your inspiration for the look of the characters from? Have you always been fan of vampires? What's your favorite thing about this new breed? MS: Being Rafael's friend I am following the creation of this book from the very first sketches. Much of how the characters' look comes from his stuff. I did enjoy Vampires, but I can't say I was always a big fan. That Coppola movie with Gary Oldman... “Bram Stoker's Dracula,” is probably my favorite on this genre. The new breed is awesome but after Twilight I'm just happy to see some real and scary vampires for a change. _______ Have you both been posting vampire images all over the studio? RA: HA! Not really. I mean, we do have the references we work with but its more over our tables than in our walls. In my room i have an American Vampire poster, but that’s all. MS: Not a single vampire image. Sorry. _______ Which of you draws a scarier Skinner Sweet? RA: I didn’t see Mateus's version in comic pages yet, but, based in a quick sketch he did, i wouldn’t mess with the guy. MS: This was the only time I ever draw Skinner Sweet. So I guess it is too early to tell. But I wouldn't mess with me either. >:) _______ Anything you'd like to add about working on this incredible series? RA: Its been really fun to be in this ride. The writing is just amazing and I’m personally eager to see more collaborations with different artists, different visions what will help us to expand this awesome universe created by Scott. MS: I think there are two things that make this a fresh book, and not just another Vampire story. First is the characters, you got to love the way they are being built till now. I mean, you can relate to them. And second is the overall look on the history of the United States. Scott is doing a great job capturing these moments and creating a rich background for the whole series.